8 Signs of an Unhappy Employee (And What to Do About It)

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8-signs-of-an-unhappy-employee-and-what-to-do-about-it-thumbUnhappy employees are a problem for your business, and the solution is not to get rid of them. The solution to unhappy employees is to figure out what is causing their dissatisfaction at the workplace – and fix it!

Liberty Staffing can help you onboard excellent candidates who are excited to join your team. Reach out to us today to learn more.

Here are 8 signs of unhappy employees in your organization.Here are 8 signs of unhappy employees in your organization.

1. High Rates of Turnover

If you don’t want to be chronically understaffed, you have to have a low rate of employee turnover. Worker retention is a key indicator of workplace success, and if everyone is leaving after just a few months on the job, you likely have a problem. 

2. Productivity is on the Decline

Happier workers are more likely to get work done. If you see that productivity is declining – especially without another explanation – you might be seeing signs of unhappy team members. Low job satisfaction definitely negatively affects productivity. 

3. Lack of Engagement with Coworkers

Not everyone wants to socialize a lot at work, but pay attention if someone who was previously lively, social, and engaged becomes withdrawn or distant. Perhaps they are experiencing conflict with a coworker or manager, or perhaps there is another issue that is causing them to withdraw. 

4. Customers Complain About Specific Workers

Public-facing and customer-facing individuals are sometimes able to hide their dissatisfaction at work from their bosses, but it may bubble up and affect their interaction with your customers. We all know that customers sometimes complain when your employee did exactly what they were supposed to do, but have you noticed an increase in complaints about a specific worker or group of workers? If so, that should be a red flag that something isn’t right! 

5. Toxic Attitude

A toxic attitude in the workplace may look like non-compliance with rules and policies, frustration and anger when interacting with coworkers and supervisors, complaining frequently, encouraging others to complain, and creating conflict in the workplace. Toxicity is often the result of unhappiness; very few people are toxic just to be toxic. 

6. Chronic Tardiness or Leaving Early

Every once in a while, your employee is going to be late, or they are going to need to leave early. That is not a sign of a problem. However, chronic absenteeism may be the result of your employee feeling unhappy at work. If someone is constantly coming in late or leaving early, it may be that they are avoiding coming to work. 

7. Unwillingness to Give Feedback

This is a big problem that managers often don’t notice until it is too late. When people have positive feelings about their workplace, they feel invested in the need to make it better. They will have ideas about how to fix problems or address concerns. When people stop giving suggestions and providing feedback, maybe it is because they feel unheard, unappreciated, or hopeless about their work situation. 

8. Complaints About Heavy Workloads

Sometimes, when it’s hard to find enough workers to fill the open positions in your workplace, you may end up asking too much of your current staff. Listen for complaints about heavy workloads, especially as a result of lots of overtime or covering for unfilled positions. These complaints are important because burnout is real and can cause your employees to leave! 

So, What Do You Do About Unhappy Employees? 

If you are starting to see a few or many of these red flags in your workplace, don’t give up hope! There are still options for setting things right. We recommend the following: 

Talk to Your Team. Find out what they are thinking. Schedule small group and one-on-one meetings to learn what your employees are currently feeling. If you are worried that they won’t be completely open with you, try anonymous surveys. Give a reward for participating in the survey if you want to get lots of feedback. 

Listen, Don’t Explain. It can be tempting to explain away all of your employees’ concerns. Try to remember that when someone is brave enough to tell their employer or manager about a problem, your responsibility is to listen – not explain away their concerns. Even if you find yourself disagreeing with their point of view, listen to it and avoid responding right away. Give it some time, and of course, avoid any sort of retaliation toward people who share things you don’t want to hear. 

Hire Temporary Workers. In our experience, one of the biggest causes of workplace dissatisfaction is feeling overworked because of understaffing. We highly recommend hiring temporary workers right away. Even if your previous staffing plan has focused on full time, permanent positions, this is a great way to solve a staffing problem right away. Not only will you stop being so understaffed, but your existing team will see an increase in happiness. 

Ask Yourself What More You Can Do. Can you increase wages? Improve benefits? Provide more opportunities for career growth and professional development? Start a mentoring program for newer employees? Create a more flexible workplace? Get creative and start thinking about what you can offer to your employees that they don’t currently have. The truth is that if they are not getting these benefits from you, they will probably start looking elsewhere! 

Liberty Staffing – Your Solution for Temporary and Permanent Workers in Southern Ontario

At Liberty Staffing, we have been helping employers throughout Southern Ontario find the employees they need, right when they need them.

Your employees may not even realize that we are involved, and yet we have a direct part to play in giving them a happier, more positive work environment!

To find out more about how Liberty Staffing can alleviate your staffing concerns and make your workplace a happier one, contact us today. We look forward to helping! 

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Lisa Hutchinson

I started with Liberty Staffing in 2004 as the Regional Business Manager of the London office. I have over 20 years of experience in the customer service and retail sectors, as well as leadership experience including Store Management, People Development and Recruiting. In 2016, our London location moved to a larger office in order to accommodate growth of our business, which included adding a Clerical Division.

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