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When you have an unhappy employee, it reduces your productivity and rots your culture from the inside out, which in turn, affects your revenue and sales. If your company follows a general pattern, close to 17 percent of what researchers call “actively disengaged” employees are working in your business. These are people who do not care about their jobs. Before you can deal with the situation, you’ll have to identify employees who aren’t happy. It’s easiest when they come to you and complain, but sometimes employees act out in other ways. Some common signs you may notice are a reduction in work quality, lack of attention to their work, small signs of rebellion, such as forgetting to sign up for activities outside the office or other employees or customers begin complaining. Once identified, here are five things you can do to change the situation.

Begin by staying professional As a leader, it’s important you remain calm and professional as other employees are watching exactly what you’re doing. The employee’s concerns are usually not personal, so remember they are not directly attacking you.

Don’t wait The best time to address an unhappy employee was yesterday. The longer you wait after the situation has been identified, the more fuel can be added to the fire. It may not be a conversation you look forward to, but it needs to happen sooner rather than later. Remember, the situation is between yourself and the employee. It will be difficult for a disgruntled employee to talk to you honestly if you don’t speak privately.

Ask This might sound simple, and a bit obvious but asking out right maybe the best way to get an answer. Ask specific questions that are not aimed at judging their behavior but rather unearthing the reason they’re unhappy. Start with, “I’ve noticed there’s been a change in your behavior lately, can you tell me about that?” Instead of, “All of your work has been turned in late and you didn’t attend the last mandatory meeting. What seems to be the problem?”

Offer assistance Sometimes employees get out of their depth and lose their way. They might not understand the goal of the organization or may have taken on a project without having all the information. Take time to ensure they understand the expectations, have the training to accomplish their tasks and pay attention to what’s going on in their lives. Sometimes their unhappiness at work has nothing to do with the work environment and everything to do with what’s going on at home.

Find solutions Whether your employee needs time off to sort things through at home, is burned out and needs a little assistance or may find relief working from home one or two days a week, it’s easier and less expensive to find a solution than it is to find a new employee. However, in some cases there’s nothing you can do to relieve the unhappiness of your employee, especially when it’s related to interactions with their co-workers or the type of work they’re doing. In this case, it may be time to move on.

If you are looking for talented staff for your company, contact us at Stellar Staffing Solutions so we can help you realize your business goals.

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