Having unhappy employees isn’t fun. Like a sickness, their poor attitude can spread through your workforce very quickly. Recognizing when an employee isn’t happy gives you as the employer the opportunity to be proactive about your response before they cause too much damage or leave. Let’s face it, the cost of turnover is expensive and finding a way to turn around an employee with a bad attitude and poor performance is often less expensive than finding a new one. A recent article from Inc. gives ten tell-tale signs an employee is unhappy:
1- They do the bare minimum. These are the employees that only do exactly what is asked of them. Nothing more than that. They often run right up against deadlines and never ask if they can help out others.
2- They complain. Unhappy employees are quick to find the negative in every situation. They also tend to be quick to blame others (peers, another department, etc.) for why their situation in unfavorable.
3- They make mistakes. These employees make more mistakes because they simply don’t care. This goes back to just doing the bare minimum. They don’t check their work or care to do a good job. They just want to get it done.
4- They commiserate with unhappy customers. When an employee has a poor attitude, your customers will notice. Often these employees are the ones who will validate or commiserate with unhappy customers.
5- They don’t cooperate willingly. These are the individuals that try to put up a roadblock on any new initiative that comes out. They are frustrated with the status quo, but also drag their feet and complain anytime anything changes.
6- They are hostile to others. Unhappy employees are usually the ones who have the most conflict with their co-workers. They are likely treat others badly, even when they themselves are being treated well.
7- They quit and leave. People who are not happy have very little patience. They may quit suddenly and with a lot of damage in their wake. While this may solve some of your problems, being proactive about handling the unhappy employee is a much better solution than letting them leave in a huff.
8- Even worse, they quit and stay. In many cases you would be better off if the employee chose to quit and stay, than if they check out completely, but keep coming back to their desk each day. It may eat up a lot of your time addressing performance issues, conflicts with co-workers and doing damage control.
9- They don’t participate in company meetings or events. These employees are noticeably absent from company events, especially if they are held after hours. They likely have no close friends at work (unless they have developed a clique of other unhappy people). They may also be noticeably silnet in meetings, if they do show up at all.
10- They are more excited about leaving work than coming to work. Happy employees generally start their day off with a positive attitude. Unhappy employees are the opposite. They may be late to work and particularly unproductive in the mornings. They are also the first people out the door at five o’clock (or even a few minutes before).
Does this bring a picture to mind of someone within your organization? If so, now is the time to address this employee and work out a plan to change the situation. Sitting back and hoping an unhappy employee with suddenly change their behavior or attitude is not a solution. The quicker you address the issue the better. If you need help or just want to bounce some ideas off of someone, contact one of our HR Business Partners at firstname.lastname@example.org.