It is every employer’s dream to have an entirely productive and happy workforce, each member fulfilling their objectives and feeling totally fulfilled whilst doing so.  Sadly this isn’t realistic and the real world is never likely to match up. It’s natural for there to be an element of dissatisfaction at work from time to time.  However, the real problems begin when you have a truly unhappy employee in the mix, being vocal about their feelings and willing to spread this negative perception far and wide.  This is a dangerous situation for any employer, so it’s important to know what can cause it, how to remedy it and how to avoid it in the first place.

Unhappy employees can literally cost a company thousands as repeated gripes and moans will inevitably affect their peers. It seems unbelievable, but a single person really can have a dramatic effect on a whole team or even department, simply by sharing bad feelings. Motivation and productivity will likely be the first casualties; when morale drops then these will follow.  If the situation deteriorates further, then resignations will be the ultimate cost, with the associated recruitment fees and training costs that will impact your bottom line.

apple a day

Tackle the problem straight on
It’s important to understand why an employee is feeling fed up in the first place. An immediate reaction is probably to wish they would leave, but this isn’t always the answer.  If you don’t understand the cause then you can’t prevent it from happening again.  The place to start is with the employee in question, take them aside and sensitively confront the problem head on.  As long as it is dealt with considerately this could be the fastest way to resolve the situation, as you are giving the individual the opportunity to discuss whatever their issues may be.

If they are unwilling to discuss the subject then there are a few likely causes of workplace disengagement.  Lack of recognition has a major impact on morale as it can make someone feel as though they are working for nothing.  When working hard and striving for results, acknowledgement from a manager is an important measure that you’re getting it right and progressing. Without this it can be easy to switch off from the task and feel that your efforts are pointless. Every good manager should take staff motivation seriously and ensure that they reward effort and performance. If an individual is struggling then encouragement is important along with providing to support to help. Without this sort of interaction then disengagement and job dissatisfaction will kick in.

Similarly, seeing space for progression is important, particularly for those with a strong sense of ambition and a desire to climb the career ladder. Individuals like this can be a huge asset to a company as they are likely to be dedicated and want to achieve, for the company and for themselves. However, if the opportunities are not available then they could just as easily become disappointed and frustrated. If they are unable to move on to a new role then this negative feeling could stagnate and affect peers in the workplace. It’s not always easy to create a clear path, but it is easy to build lines of communication.  If the next step isn’t available yet, discuss the situation, consider periodic steps and make sure that employee feels appreciated and that it’s worth sticking around. 

Employee engagement solution
Providing employees with a way of communicating with management and tracking their progress is a really positive step in engaging your workforce and promoting satisfaction.  Employee engagement programmes facilitate two-way communication and the ability to set personalised targets that each person can work towards.  Employees can check on their progress or contact their manager to review or ask questions and management can also look to see how things are going.  Systems like this can also help to initiate mid-term conversations and remind managers that they need to check in and set aside time with particular individuals.

The most important step to avoiding disenchanted employees is to keep the lines of communication open. Staff should be able to approach their managers for advice and senior staff should remain openly interested and in proactive dialogue. Then, if dissatisfaction kicks in, it can be easily spotted to be dealt with swiftly, and hopefully it will be prevented altogether.


For further information on employee engagement programmes, please contact us today. 

  Back to articles