5 Signs of an Unhappy Employee (and how to turn them around)

Employee Recognition Ideas

It’s no secret that happy employees are also more productive employees. And while your business should have incentive and advancement policies in effect to motivate and appease workers, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies. No, sooner or later, you’re bound to run into some unhappy employees.

The good news is that unhappy employees can easily be turned around if you recognize it and make an effort to work with them soon enough. The first step in turning around an unhappy worker is first to recognize the signs of one. Here’s a look at five common signs of an unhappy employee and what you can do to turn this person – and their productivity – back in a positive manner for your company:

Sign #1: Low Productivity

Perhaps the biggest tell-tale sign of an unhappy employee is a significant drop in productivity. Studies show that happy employees are more productive and, conversely, unhappy ones are not.

How to help:

Correct this lack of productivity by first learning the root of the worker’s unhappiness.Then, consider one-on-one coaching to get them back on track. Reward this employee with morale-boosting special certificates and praise as they begin to meet – or exceed – goals again.

Sign #2: Excuses

If you’re getting nothing but excuses on why a sale hasn’t closed or why an employee’s work has dropped, you’ve likely got an unhappy employee trying to save face.

How to help:

Try assigning a mentor/coach to this employee to get them back on track.

Sign #3: Impatience

A snippy, impatient employee is likely an unhappy one. while everyone can get stressed at times, make sure this isn’t happening to the same employee each month. If so, there might be a bigger problem.

How to help:

To remedy this, consider assigning this employee a new, more challenging project. A lack of patience could simply mean that an employee is frustrated with their current workload and needs a change.

Sign #4: Tardiness/Sick Days

If you have a worker that’s always late or calling in sick, it’s clear that they don’t want to be at the office.

How to help:

Be careful with this one, as there may be external factors coming into play. So if there’s a problem at home, give the employee time off to sort things out. If it’s an issue of getting to the office on time, consider allowing the worker to telecommute.

Sign #5: Disruptive to Co-Workers

One bad egg can disrupt an entire team. And if your company’s productivity is suffering due to one unhappy employee, it’s important to have a sit-down with the worker immediately to let him or her know that kind of behavior won’t be tolerated.

How to help:

Talk with them one on one. Unfortunately, not every unhappy employee can be turned around and that’s where you might have to make the difficult decision to let a person go. But if you ensure that you take the time to appreciate, reward and work with your employees throughout the course of the year, you’ll find that you’ll have much more happy ones than unhappy ones.