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Unhappy employee

7 Ways to Spot an Unhappy Employee

If employee happiness isn’t already a top priority in your office, it’s time you’ve bumped it to the top of your list.

Employee happiness is essential to the success and growth of your business. Here are just a few benefits of happy employees:

  • Better negotiators and closers
  • Foster stronger relationships with clients
  • More productive
  • High creativity
  • Lower cost of turnover
  • Make better and stronger teams
  • More pleasant and enjoyable to be around
  • Stay-on for the long term

An unhappy employee isn’t always so obvious to spot. Sometimes the signs are less clear and the reasons for their unhappiness completely unrelated to work.

Yet, as a leader, it’s your job to keep an eye on your employees and win them back over, if one has gone astray.

More than Just Feeling Good

Employee happiness is about more than just employees feeling good and comfortable in their roles.

When an employee is happy, they’re more productive, inspired and motivated to contribute to the organization. Happy employees feel a part of something and take ownership for the results of the business.

In other words, they want it as much as you do.

The biggest advantage of happy employees are the retention rates. No one wants to search for a new job — happy employees are, well happy to stay on. Great news for you, as higher retention rates means reduced costs in recruiting and training new hires.

What to Look For

An unhappy employee isn’t necessarily going to come right out and say it, “I’m unhappy, ” and they may not quit either. When things are quite so clear, keep an eye out for these seven red flags:

1. They’re doing just enough to get by.

The bare minimum is all they’re willing to commit. While you can’t necessarily complain about the work they are doing, there’s still a lot left to be desired.

They’ve stopped trying to exceed expectations, set low goals and generally do just enough to squeeze by.

2. They watch the clock.

They’re never the first to arrive, but certainly, the first to leave. Instead of being excited to come into work, it seems like more of a chore.

We all need our days off, but happy employees look forward to the work they do because they believe in it, and that translates into time spent in the office.

When an employee starts consistently showing up late, leaving early and taking excessive personal days, it’s time to have a chat.

3. They haven’t “clicked” with anyone in the office.

Employees stay at their jobs for the people, above all else. You can throw in whatever perks you want, but if you don’t enjoy the people you spend your whole day around, it’s hard to get excited about coming into work.

Happy employees put in the effort to get to know their team members and don’t mind spending a couple of hours at the end of a work day to socialize and build those bonds. Unhappy employees are quick to bow out of an otherwise “non-mandatory” activity.

4. They don’t contribute new ideas.

When you’re engaged in the work you do, you’re constantly thinking of ways to do it better. Sharing ideas, offering feedback, thinking of new solutions to existing problems; these are all signs of a happy, engaged employee.

An unhappy employee simply goes through the motions, never stopping to consider ways to improve or change the status quo.

5. Co-workers are complaining.

If more than a few employees are complaining about the same person, that is a red flag. Co-workers are meant to be a team, supporting and helping one another to a common goal; sometimes this involves doing favors or picking up a bit of extra slack.

Like we said, unhappy employees typically do the bare minimum and are not interested in committing any amount of extra time or energy, especially for another person. This attitude is often translated into a toxic energy, affecting the morale of an entire team.

This is a problem you want to nip in the bud before it brings everyone else down.

6. Clients are complaining.

Unhappy employees are not motivated to produce great work, and that is often reflected in the client experience.

If a client is complaining about one of your team members, it’s time to investigate. Sure, there are always a handful of tricky clients, who are seldom pleased, but it’s still worth checking up on.

7. Their change in behavior is sudden.

Think back on recent events; did anything occur which may have discouraged your employee or made them feel slighted? Perhaps they were passed over for a promotion, denied a raise or turned down for a new project/client.

As justified as these events may have been, they can be extremely demotivating for an employee and may be the cause for their sudden change in demeanor. An unhappy employee is one thing, but this is a problem you need to address before they become angry.

If you’re noticing one or many of these signs in your employee, the best course of action is to sit them down and have a discussion.

In the best case, the issue can be resolved, and you can take action together to improve their experience in the workplace. On the other hand, it may be best for both parties to cut ties.

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7 Ways to Spot an Unhappy Employee
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Happy employees are the key to building a successful financial services firm. Learn how to spot the red flags of an unhappy employee, so you can win them over or decide if it’s time to cut ties.
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