One of the many areas of insight that has emerged from Gallup's work on culture and organizational dynamics is what they call the 12 Elements of Employee Engagement. In my recurring question, What do you need from work? I find this list of 12 questions extremely useful.
What they have found is that, when looking at employees across the engagement spectrum, there were 12 basic things that recurred as essential criteria for employees to feel engaged at work.
The questions are actually ordered very specifically, because (not unlike Maslow's Hierarchy), they build upon each other -- in other words, you must satisfy the ones at the beginning, before you can successfully move on.
These questions provide an enormously practical platform for both managers and employees, when it comes to determining:
I work with so many people who are unsatisfied in their jobs. Some of them are holding on, either out of fear or hope that things will change (though, they can rarely articulate precisely WHAT they hope will change). Other people are frustrated that their staff is underperforming because they are disengaged and they aren't entirely sure what to do about it. Others are self-employed and believe that culture is important, but aren't exactly how to start being deliberate about what they are building.
No matter where you fall, I think Gallup's list of questions -- starting in order -- is a great place to begin. Not all jobs or employees are salvageable. But plenty are. And if both employee and manager are committed to making an environment one that cultivates great engagement, then these questions are very helpful framework to start figuring out what can and should change, versus what can't or shouldn't.
And once you get clear on THAT, then staying or going becomes a much, much easier decision to make.