Managing Over-Qualified Workers: How to Keep Them Happy and Loyal

According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project, an estimated 26% (the equivalent of 36 million) of the 139 million currently employed workers in the United States endured at least one period of unemployment during the recent recession that began in December, 2007.


The survey indicated that workers who were unemployed during the recent recession are, on an average, not as satisfied with their new jobs as compared to workers who were not laid off. According to the survey’s findings, these workers stated that they are over-qualified for the position they are currently filling.

While reemployment is a dream come true for the unemployed, over time the relief may wear off and give way to frustration as the reality of a lower salary, less challenging responsibility, and lack of interest sets in.

Since lack of employee engagement will adversely affect job performance, what can you as an employer do to keep your over-qualified workers happy and loyal? Where monetary rewards and awknowledgment are not possible, you will need to find ways to make these people feel motivated and appreciated.

It doesn’t cost you anything to call an employee into your office and thank him or her for a job well done. You can also ask the staff member for advice in matters related to his or her area of expertise. While you are speaking to employees, ask if there is anything they would like to discuss. Lending a sympathetic ear is a great way to ensure loyalty and increase satisfaction.

Whenever possible, offer any over-qualified employee advancement opportunities or increased responsibilities. That is an excellent way to make it clear that his or her qualifications are truly appreciated regardless of the type of position that is currently being filled.

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