Do you find it difficult to hold on to your employees? Do you find that workers are leaving without a solid reason? You’re not alone. Recent surveys suggest that over a fifth of people are actively searching for another job. A disgruntled employee is not only disruptive, he’s expensive. Experts estimate that replacing a staff member will cost your company anywhere between £20,000 and £40,000 (depending on the training and settling in period required).
So how can you spot an unhappy employee before they become an ex-employee?
Disgruntled employees don’t become that way overnight. Discontentment seeps in gradually, which can make it difficult to spot. However, all managers need to be alert to these obvious signs.
Coming Late and Leaving Early.
Nothing screams “I don’t want to be here” louder than not actually being there. The enthusiasm for their work is long-gone and they’re hardly managing to complete the bare minimum.
This can quickly grow into taking sick days for minor complaints and finding any excuse to not make it in to work.
Freelancing in Other Departments
People like to do what they’re good at. If they feel that they are King or Queen of a certain field, they’ll be more than a little put out to find they’re being used as a court jester somewhere else. If you find your employees constantly popping up in the wrong place, giving ill-received advice or generally getting under everyone’s feet, then they’re probably becoming unsatisfied with their work situation.
These people aren’t a lost cause. They still want to work and are enthusiastic to show off their skills. They just need to be challenged and used more effectively within the business.
A drop in output can be one of the more difficult things to notice. Employees are very effective at hiding how unhappy they are in the workplace. However, they will be unable to hide their decreased enthusiasm and effort in their tasks.
Look out for long lunch breaks, spending time on social media or just general procrastination techniques. Also, monitor your employees’ quality and quantity of work.
If you notice any red flags, talk to them. It could be that the worker is simply not challenged enough and therefore are becoming bored. (In which case retraining might be the answer). However, making poor excuses for their diminishing outlay is a guaranteed sign of an unhappy worker.
Strained Relationships with Other Employees.
This is a big clue. If your, usually placid employee has suddenly become argumentative, impatient and hypercritical of other employees, then it’s likely they’re not happy. Listen to other employees’ complaints and pay attention to the atmosphere around the office. The last thing you want is one unhappy employee to grow into an unhappy workforce.
Strained relationships can take other, less destructive, forms too. An unhappy employee may steer well-clear of other employees, showing a reluctance to engage in idle small talk. This won’t be personal, it’s just co-workers and supervisors are a human representation of the job they dislike.
Now that you’ve spotted the signs, the good news is the change is not irreversible. Higher levels of communication, opportunities for advancement and clearer visions for your workers are just three ways in which disgruntled employees can find themselves turning into committed, satisfied workers.