Every good employer wants to have a workplace where employees feel content and satisfied. While the reality is that it is not going to possible to please everyone all of the time, you may be able to spot discontent and take steps to mitigate it before you lose good employees. By taking a proactive approach to spotting and mitigating discontent, you may improve satisfaction, thereby lowering your turnover rate and possibly increasing productivity.
Signs That Employees Are Not Content
Discontent with a workplace rarely arises suddenly. Usually an employee will gradually become discontent over time because of different experiences within the workplace. You may begin to notice subtle changes, though these changes may not be readily identifiable as discontent at first.
Signs that an employee may be discontent include:
- Slips in work performance
- Disinterest in attending company events
- Distancing from peers, even as it pertains to social situations
- Bad moods or behavioral changes
- Coming in late or leaving early
- Disagreeing with management or creating friction
- Gossiping about peers or managers
Ways to Address the Problem
If you have spotted signs of discontent, the first course of action should be to talk to the employee that seems to be discontent. In some cases, the discontent may actually stem from personal issues at home and have nothing to do with the workplace. In many cases, however, the employee is upset about a work situation.
Open Up Communication Lines
During the initial conversation about discontent, the employee may clam up due to nervousness or other emotions. It is important to let the employee know that they can come to you to discuss anything that they may be upset with in the future. Opening up the communication lines in this way –for all of the employees – may help to address discontent before it gets a foothold.
Really Listen and Respond to Employee Concerns
Hearing employees out is only half the battle, really listening and taking action based on those concerns is what will actually help to mitigate the discontent. While it may not be possible or sensible to make big changes based on everything that employees complain about, just taking the time to listen and explain why certain things must stay the way they are can help employees to feel more content.
Admit Mistakes and Move Forward
Sometimes employees are discontent because of the actions of a manager or employer. If this is the case, simply admitting the mistake or acknowledging the situation and working to move forward may assuage the discontent. Actions may need to be taken to prevent the same incident from occurring in the future, but admitting the mistake can go a long way toward making an employee feel valued.
After you have spotted and worked to mitigate discontent, the work is not done. It is important to use the information learned in order to improve the way that employees feel about the company and to prevent future discontent. Complimenting employee performance and checking in with employees to make sure that they feel valued may also help to prevent future stirrings of discontent.