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Companies with engaged employees outperform those whose workforce is unhappy by up to 200 percent. Unhappy workers can cost your company thousands of dollars a year or more in absenteeism, lost productivity and related areas.

Warning Signals

Unless they come right out and tell you, it may not always be obvious when a person is disgruntled in their job. But there are some common red flags. Dissatisfied employees:

  • Do the bare minimum. If a person is not inspired or passionate about their work, they may do just enough to scrape by and not be reprimanded. Most likely, they are there only for the paycheck.
  • Are often nowhere to be found. They may come in late, leave early, have high levels of absenteeism or take as much personal time as possible without blatantly breaking rules. They may be interviewing or simply avoiding being at work.
  • Don’t have many work friends. One of the best ways to ensure high employee engagement is to foster a culture where friendships can readily be forged. Many people who are less than thrilled with their jobs stay because of the people, so it’s not a positive sign if an employee has failed to connect with any co-workers on a personal level.
  • Don’t refer others. If you know an employee is well connected in your industry and yet they do not refer others to your company when asked – especially if you offer a bonus incentive – this is a sign of dissatisfaction. Unhappy workers don’t want to bring their friends into an environment that they find unacceptable.

Additional signs to watch for include:

  • Turnover: The most obvious indication that an employee is miserable is that they leave. If you notice a significant increase in turnover, there may be internal issues fueling those decisions.
  • HR complaints: Unhappiness can prompt employees to find fault with even minor issues. If an individual repeatedly complains about trivial matters, there is probably a bigger problem.
  • Time theft: When you monitor your company technology, watch for spikes in websites like Monster or Career Builder, or simply more outgoing calls on the part of an employee. This could be a sign they are using work time and resources to job hunt.

What to Do

If you notice any of these signs, dig a little deeper and try to get to the heart of the matter.

  • See if you can do anything to reverse the damage, especially if the employee is a valuable contributor. Otherwise, sometimes the best thing you can do is let a person go. Disengaged team members can bring down the people around them, hurting company morale, productivity and overall culture.
  • Try to head off dissatisfaction by keeping communication lines open. Dialogue with your employees on a daily basis. Ask about their lives – and respond with genuine interest. If they feel comfortable talking with you, people are more likely to come to you sooner when problems arise.

As you source and retain an industry-leading workforce, consider partnering with the recruitment experts at PrideStaff Modesto. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more about how we can position you for hiring and HR success in 2016.

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