The Problem With Disgruntled Employees
People who run businesses know that keeping employees happy is a priority. When an employee is disgruntled, it can create all kinds of nasty knock-on effects, including demotivating other workers, sabotage, and damage to your reputation.
Part of the role of HR is to keep tabs on disgruntled employees, work out what’s going wrong, and try to turn the situation around. A disgruntled employee isn’t necessarily a bad employee: the fact that they are angry with your organization could be a reflection of the organization itself, not necessarily their bad attitude 😉
Of course, it’s not HR’s role to act as a therapist to unhappy employees. But it is the department’s job to do things that reduce the likelihood that an employee might feel disgruntled and angry with the firm.
How To Recognise A Disgruntled Employee
A disgruntled employee is one who, for whatever reason, has decided to take the position that the firm they work for cannot do anything right. Disgruntled employees grumble and moan, but they often don’t feel strongly enough to leave so that the rest of your team can get on with their work in peace.
Sometimes, unhappy employees are out of your organization’s control: you did nothing to create the situation. It’s just the way some people are. Other times, your working practices are to blame, and the reason people in your firm feel disgruntled is because of how you treat them.
All organizations have to deal with the problem of disgruntled employees at some point. What separates excellent HR departments from more mediocre ones is the way that they deal with it.
Why You Need To Deal With Disgruntled Employees Fast
There are many reasons why it’s important to deal with disgruntled employees quickly. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons.
They Can Spread Their Dissatisfaction
One disgruntled employee is bad enough, but a whole team of misery guts is too much for your firm to bear. The problem with disgruntled employees is that they can spread their woes onto other team members, making everyone feel as if the world is out to get them. It’s a destructive pattern that can sabotage productivity, workplace happiness, and wellbeing.
Credit card firm Amex looked into the problem of disgruntled employees and how they can spread their negative vibes.
The company found that disgruntled employees were able to affect the people around them and that customer service declined.
They Can Damage Company Assets
A more harmful byproduct of disgruntled employees is their willingness to sabotage the company they work for in whatever way they can. Many employees with grievances will damage machinery, steal money, and make life difficult for management.
Much of the time, it is hard to detect their actions. Disgruntled employees go about their destructive business behind the scenes, avoiding being caught out along the way. Often employees will bide their time, waiting for the opportune moment to strike.
One of the easiest ways for employees to damage company culture is to start spreading rumors. Usually, it only takes a couple of conversations before the bulk of employees in a company come to the wrong conclusion. An aggrieved employee, for instance, might suggest to other workers that they have reason to believe that there could be layoffs soon. Before long, employees might start looking for alternative work opportunities, negating all the efforts of management to retain staff. It’s a potential disaster. What’s more, it’s hard for executives to hit back against these rumors. Employees know that management has an incentive to hide the truth until they decide to make redundancies formal.
They Can Destroy Your Online Reputation
Spreading rumors is an excellent way to sow discord within a company. But if you want to hurt a firm more generally, you attack it online. Employees may set up accounts on review sites to deliberately undermine a company, or they may post negative articles detailing alleged misdemeanors at the firm.
HR needs to have a strategy in place to counter the efforts of employees to damage online reputation. When a firm’s online reputation suffers, they get fewer views from prospective clients and become less attractive to talented employees. Online reputation management is the art of protecting one’s standing in the event of a deliberate and malicious attack. The idea is to find ways to isolate threats to reputation and counter them. HR can attempt to do it in-house, but most companies choose to use third-party agencies with the necessary expertise.
They Can Go AWOL
Many firms rely on a select number of critical people to keep their operations running smoothly. Without that key programmer, a project could be derailed. Without a vital engineer, a firm may not be able to continue to operate its equipment. People, therefore, are crucial.
The problem with disgruntled employees is the fact that they no longer feel as if they owe the company or their team anything. Being absent doesn’t bother them: they know that even if they get fired, they can move somewhere else. And they are so enraged that they no longer feel a duty to people who depend on them. It’s a damaging scenario.
When an employee regularly misses work, it’s a good indication that something has gone horribly wrong. Absenteeism isn’t automatically a sign of being disgruntled, but it’s a red flag.
Avoiding Disgruntled Employees
So how does a firm avoid making employees disgruntled? Arguably, by following some simple rules.
First, firms should treat each person with respect where possible. When people feel that their dignity is undermined, then they will lash out in any way that they can.
Second, practicing favoritism is a bad idea. Sure, you might feel that one team member is more appealing than another on a personal level, but that shouldn’t come across to employees. Each person should feel as though they are being assessed on their merits, not whether management likes their personality.
Finally, disgruntled employees can emerge through lack of recognition.
People work hard, and they want to be recognized for their efforts. Verbal recognition is free and usually sufficient!
© New To HR