Lost productivity including absenteeism, illness, and other problems that result when employees are unhappy at work is costing the American economy $350 billion dollars a year, according to the Gallup Organization.
As work culture evolves and companies do more to keep their employees happy, employees in turn expect more from leadership and will not hesitate to leave if certain expectations are not being met. So save yourself the high cost of turnover and try to spot out any warning signs of an unhappy employee and nip them in the bud.
Warning Signs to Keep an Eye On:
- Lack of attendance. When morale is down, the last place employees want to be is in the very same place that brings them down. Because they are unenthusiastic about their work, they will show up less. They may even feel that they deserve a day or two off because their company owes them that since it is responsible for their unhappiness. They will also find any excuse to get out of the office, show up late and leave early.
- Bad attitude. This isn’t something anyone can really measure; it's a gut feeling. If your employee has always had a bad attitude then ignore this and rethink your hiring strategy. But if they started out happy and friendly then made a 180, you know something is wrong. They are increasingly negative, frustrated at the smallest of things, unwilling to cooperate, and generally not acting like themselves. Plus, the bad attitude of one person can be toxic and spread onto the others like a virus, making it harder for management to reverse.
- Lack of initiative and productivity. As resentment builds up inside an unhappy worker, their work suffers. They show a lack of initiative when they may have been a self starter before. It now takes constant reminding to fulfill normal tasks, their head is simply not in it. The work may get done but the quality is missing. They’ve become stagnant. They aren’t interested in their work and worse they aren’t interested in improving themselves in their role. It’s like they have senioritis but instead of graduating and moving on to college, they will probably move on to another company.
- Anti-social. Low morale employees stop going to social events that they once attended. It’s not just out of the office events that they’re missing, they’re secluding themselves in the office too. They don’t hang around the coffee pot talking about their weekend, they don’t have lunch in the break room but prefer to eat at their desk or in their car. They’re even avoiding their own team members and refusing to cooperate with them.
What are some quick solutions to try out?
- Admit there is a problem and be willing to work on it
- Have an open conversation with an unhappy employee where you remain unbiased
- Offer development opportunities to avoid stagnation
- Implement employee appreciation methods
- Promote self-care time away from the office