Employee satisfaction is so underrated. Companies tend to brush it under the rug thinking that it’s not their job to make employees feel happy.
By contrast, a Forbes article looked into and affirmed the relationship between employee engagement and customer satisfaction based on several studies. It asserts that lack of employee engagement is a precursor to absenteeism, low productivity and quality standards at work, and other factors that undermine the employees’ decision to stay with the company.
Indeed, the lack of employee engagement in the workplace is an issue that needs your serious attention. Otherwise, things could get out of hand. And unless you’re too preoccupied in the confines of your office, it shouldn’t be too hard to spot these signs that will tell you you’re keeping unhappy employees in your stable.
- Increased tardiness
It’s a struggle for unhappy employees to get up early so that they could come to work on time. The mere thought of preparing for work is enough to pull them back to bed, which may often result in oversleeping.
By the time they’re finally ready (albeit unwillingly) to travel going to the office, traffic has already built up. They get stuck on the road for too long, and they don’t seem to mind.
For them, the more time they spend away from work, the better. This could only mean that their dissatisfaction is far greater than their regard for company rules.
- Calling in sick more frequently
This is very similar to the increased tardiness syndrome. Frequent absences send out a crystal-clear message that the employee guilty of this offense is not feeling motivated enough to go to work.
You could give absentee employees the benefit of the doubt—that they’re really suffering from a sickness, but if you see that it’s becoming a habit or there’s a pattern similar to the so-called Monday sickness blues, then it becomes a very valid reason for you to feel alarmed.
- Clocking out right on the dot
The office may feel like a hostile environment for employees with a low sense of morale, so you might see them quickly heading for the door as soon as the clock strikes the hour.
They might find work either boring or unreasonably difficult, so all they could wish for is for the day to be finally over.
- Declining productivity
The lack of urge to be productive may be due to feelings of anxiety or fear of failure. The employees’ judgment may become clouded, and they tend to be content doing work with minimum standards of quality.
It’s also easy for them to feel distracted, which prevents them from performing tasks efficiently.
- Lack of care for others in the company
Employees with workplace issues may feel no sense of affinity toward colleagues, customers, or other support staff. They may think they are only responsible for their own interests and actions, disregarding how it might impact others around them.
You also can’t expect them to initiate relaying important information about a particular project or activity unless directly requested or asked.
Deep inside, even the most unsociable of your employees long to be friends with the rest of the team, but they just don’t feel that they belong. This is especially true if they’re aware that their work performance is not up to par with company standards or with how others are performing.
They may come up with all possible excuses to miss periodic meetings, company events, and other social gatherings that would require them to be in the company of their teammates.
- Low level of professionalism
When employees feel that they are not feeling valued at work, they might turn into someone who can be quite difficult to work with.
They could deliberately avoid specific tasks, miss their deadlines, or take shortcuts—anything that would make work more manageable for them.
- Not cooperating or collaborating with the team
Employees who are not happy with their job may choose to work alone for as long as possible. They may build a wall around themselves and shut others out, thinking they can work more comfortably if they are left to fend for themselves.
If working with the team can’t be helped, you might still see traces of a distant behavior.
- Constantly feeling tired and fatigued
All the anxiety from feeling unhappy can cause an employee to equate the condition with being overworked. You might want to watch out for those who use their break periods getting power naps, which may indicate tiredness.
Employees who feel burdened are also prone to constantly whine or rant and feel irritable at work.
- Stagnant growth
Poor performing employees do not see any need to improve on themselves or contribute to the growth of their team. They have become comfortable in their position and have no plans of enhancing their knowledge and skills. Their reason for staying in the company may all boil down to personal or economic survival.
How to Keep Employees Engaged
In the same way that you should recognize the tell-tale signs pointing to dissatisfaction among your employees, you also need to be constantly looking for ways to keep them happy and engaged at work. You may start with the following:
- Promote healthy relationships within the organization.
Office politics that alienates staff should have no place in your work culture. Every employee should be motivated and recognized for their contributions no matter how small.
- Encourage continuous improvement.
Ask your employees how they feel about their job, including which areas of work are causing them undue stress. From there, draw up plans for employee training with special focus on developing desirable work habits and broadening their skill sets to help them cope better with their tasks.
- Live by positive values.
Trust your employees more. Be sincere. Show compassion. By modeling these traits and behaviors, employees will feel that they are really welcome at the company, increasing the chances of them staying on board.
10 Warning Signs of Unhappy Employees [Awesome Infographic]
Written by: Jomel Alos is a Consultant at Guthrie-Jensen Training Consultant, a management training and consultancy firm in the Philippines. He enjoys sharing his knowledge on human resource solutions, as well as helping businesses achieve greater growth, competitiveness, and profitability. When he’s not working, he’s watching TV shows about designing like Tiny House Nation, Forged in Fire, and Ellen’s Design Challenge.