Time after time, vital and well-performing staff are lost in the ‘battlefields’ of the working world meaning that you, as the employer, can feel guilty that you did not provide them with armour to equip them to deal with the stresses that they will, inevitably, encounter
This is an edited version of an article which originally appeared on Business Advice.
So how do you spot if an employee is unhappy in the workplace, and what steps can you take to salvage a, soon-to-be fallen, ‘soldier’? You need to work out what the problem is before you can take appropriate action because people have different reasons for workplace dissatisfaction. Here are three of the most common ones:
They’re suffering from a ‘productivity pause’
Not to frighten you, but 97% of British office workers feel frustrated at some stage of their career. This sobering statistic should be enough to ignite a fire beneath you to act rapidly to preserve your team members as and when you notice their productivity levels slumping.
One of the major telltale signs that an employee might be daydreaming their way to greener pastures is if their work hasn’t been up to the standard at which they usually perform. An employee who is dissatisfied in the workplace is not going to pour their energy into a job they despise.
Naturally, as an employer, this might anger you because, let’s face it, they are still getting paid the same amount to sit in the office and be upset and/or unproductive. However, you must urge yourself to take off that capitalistic cap and instead try and redirect their efforts towards high standards.
Start by reacting intuitively to your employee’s needs and passions; maybe they are dissatisfied with their daily tasks? After all, the monotony of a nine-to-five workday can make staff feel a little stale. So, perhaps, call them into your office and see if there is a new project that might interest them or a conference they could attend to re-spark their focus, passion and drive and, hopefully, jig up some motivation in the process.
They’re taking too many ‘sickies’
Often, as an employee’s investment in staff ebbs away, another sign an employee may thinking of high-tailing it out of your business is a declining rate of office attendance. Perhaps they have come down with seasonal ‘flu one too many times this month, or they often scuttle off early with an ‘upset stomach’. Whatever they’re doing to get away regularly, they might be doing it because they don’t want to be working in your environment anymore.
What’s more, if your employee is becoming less and less invested in extra-circular work activities, such as Friday drinks or team lunches, it could be one of the first signs that their commitment to the business is slipping.
The temptation to stalk and snoop their LinkedIn to see if it’s open to recruiters must be resisted. Instead, try and regularly engage in something called ‘touch-point interviews’; these allow for you to receive critical feedback from your team – helping you gain a deeper understanding of how they are coping.
They’re suffering from a lack of clarity and direction
As the saying goes ‘You don’t leave a bad job, you leave a bad manager’ and – as difficult as it may be to face sometimes – this is, ultimately, the truth.
One of the main reason’s employees get up and go is a lack of communication; if you want open lines of transparency between you and your employees, then you must be the one to first demonstrate this.
The average time a person stays in a job is now only a mere four years, meaning that keeping hold of valuable employees is harder than ever. The need for employers to practice what they preach, and demonstrate a good work culture, is the best recipe for retaining a strong workforce.