A happy workforce is a loyal and productive workforce. Boredom, frustration, overwork, underpay, can all leave a high-potential employee looking at his phone up to 150 times a day, or worse – looking at job ads. Many employees will lack the confidence to speak up about their situation, so from a distance it can seem like everything’s okay. But maintaining the status quo is often not enough. Your team needs to feel like they’re developing: that they are appreciated and have opportunities to progress.

In one study, researchers found that half of all employees do not have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them or where their potential might lead them. It’s important to be clear with individuals about their responsibilities, their targets, and your future plans. Keep a dialogue open so that you can each contribute your ideas for the future, and suddenly work becomes meaningful.

That includes being open about dreaded money talk. Research shows that being underpaid is one of the main causes of respondents’ unhappiness at work. Of course, you may not be in a position to offer incentives at the moment: but being honest, setting goals, and expressing your appreciation can go a long way.

If you don’t have a personal connection with your team, the daily rhythm can soon obscure the fact that they are humans, too. Don’t lose sight of the broader picture: think not just about what they achieve in the office, but how external factors might affect this. For example, a heavy commute can really bring a person down. Maybe there’s something you can do about that – by arranging more flexible hours, work from home, even some form of company transport arrangement. The important thing is to ask.

This guide below provides some fascinating insights into the mind of the unhappy worker from their perspective. Take a look at just what it is that they may be afraid to ask of you, and consider ways that you can open up the channels of communication. As an HR manager, your workplace itself is collaboration with those for whom you’re responsible.

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Download the eBook and find out what makes people happy to go to work every day and give their best, with real answers from employees across the world.