I heard an old boss remark once, “They should be thankful they have a job.” Then he knuckled down on their benefits. Forbes put out survey data on employee satisfaction. Just 19% of Americans are satisfied with their job. See the whole article here. They note the world situation is much the same.
It does not surprise me that workers in the States are unhappy. It is not just that employers have had hard times, but also that we as employers feel that we can use employees because it is a downturn. We feel the workers have no place to go and so use them instead of respect and value them. At times we do not even realize how our attitude shifted.
It may be true that they have no place to go, but is it wise to use them? In a downturn, we need to get the most out of every employee, but by treating them bad, we actually get the opposite result. I am not saying we cannot ever cut costs in a downturn. However, we need to watch our attitude. We can be our own worst enemy when we personally lower worker productivity.