unhappy employees

Dealing with unhappy employees is becoming less of an option and more of a priority at the workplace. With the cost of dealing with unhappy employees estimated to be between $450 to $500 in a single year, unhappy employees could have a significant impact on your bottom line. 

In addition to helping you cut costs, happy employees tend to be more creative, innovative and dedicated than their unhappy counterparts. With that in mind, the need to maintain a happy work environment cannot be overemphasized.

The Value Of Having Happy Employees

Employees are often the backbone of any organization, therefore their well-being can be beneficial to the success of a company. Moreover, keeping happy employees can have the following benefits to your company:

  • It can create a positive work environment. When employees are motivated and happy about their job, it can create a great working atmosphere.
  • It can have a positive impact on clients and customers. Happy employees often go above and beyond for their clients. 
  • It can be phenomenal for business: According to Gallup, companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%.

Happy employees can be an invaluable asset to the company by increasing productivity and the company’s ability to grow exponentially. 

That said, maintaining happiness at the workplace is not an overnight process. It is critical to first understand the issues undermining employees’ happiness and how they can be remedied.

Causes Of Unhappiness At The Workplace

A survey conducted by Mental Health America identified three main causes of workplace unhappiness as poor remuneration, lack of recognition and lack of support from colleagues and management. 

For a company to achieve its goals, it is essential that both employees and management work towards maintaining a stress-free work environment. To quote Sonja Lyubomirsky in her article about happiness and career success, “Happiness may not only be a consequence of success, but also a cause”.

A happy workforce can be maintained using a two-tier approach. You can first start with what employees can do at a personal level to maintain happiness at the workplace. Secondly, management can review how it can support its employees in maintaining a positive work environment. 

Cause: Lack of Job Security

Job security refers to the relative sense of comfort that employees experience in their positions. Knowing that your job is indefinitely available to you can be satisfying and peaceful. Conversely, the lack of job security can be stressful and affect your happiness at work. 

Personal Level

Indeed suggests that a great way for employees to stay relevant and remain indispensable at their workplace is by being reliable, increasing their productivity, volunteering to do more and continuously improving their skills.

Managerial Level

Employers can strive to ensure there are open lines of communication for feedback, raise the bar for their employees by asking them to spearhead special projects and provide their employees with benefits that include the appropriate pay for their positions

Cause: Poor Remuneration

Employee pay is typically one of the largest expenses on a company’s income statement. Although money may not be directly related to happiness, it can have a huge impact on one’s quality of life. People are often motivated by money, and it can have a great influence on the performance and happiness of employees at the workplace. Here are some suggestions on how to overcome this challenge in your company.

Personal Level

Asking for a raise may not be a viable solution, especially now that most companies may be recovering from the economic side effects of the ongoing pandemic. However, with the rise of the gig economy, employees can easily find alternative ways to boost their income, such as monetizing their experience and expertise or investing their money in stock trading. Those with no prior experience in stock investment are advised to do more research on the subject and try to find the best stock trading app for beginners to try out first.

Managerial Level

On the other hand, companies need to ensure that factors such as employee length of service, job classification, education and training are considered before setting their employees’ salaries.

Cause: Lack Of Recognition

“There’s nothing worse than feeling unseen and unheard in the workplace,” says Anne Mckee, author of How to Be Happy at Work. The lack of recognition can be detrimental to maintaining a happy workplace, as it can be a key driver for disengagement. On the contrary, recognition can be tied to happiness, productivity, commitment and discretionary effort. 

Employees who feel recognized for their accomplishments can help you build a strong and happy workplace culture that promotes productivity. Here are some actionable steps to take to enhance recognition at the workplace.

Personal Level

While external recognition is great, Harvard Business Review suggests that internal validation can be much more powerful. As an employee, you don’t always have to wait for rewards from team leaders. If you know that you’ve done your part and given it your best, go ahead and reward yourself. This can be in the form of positive affirmations or gifts as a reward for achieving your goals.

Managerial Level

Mckee suggests to managers subtle ways of appreciating their employees’ day-to-day efforts, such as crediting each team member for their specific work in presentations or reports. She advises them to increase their team’s visibility by sharing credit and highlighting everyone’s contributions.

Cause: Lack Of Support

The kind of support system you have at work can mean the difference between a productive work environment and a stifling one. Whether it’s the lack of constructive feedback or a general condescending attitude, the lack of support from colleagues or bosses can be demoralizing. When you’re feeling the strain of work, having support systems to act as sounding boards, mentors or even friends can go a long way towards relieving your stress. Here’s are some ideas on how to build strong support systems at work.

Personal Level

Employees can choose to be supportive at work by avoiding negative conversations, gossip, and unhealthy work relationships as much as possible. Additionally, keeping in touch, avoiding unhealthy competition being good listeners are some recommended ways of building a strong support system.

Managerial Level

Facilitating the development of others and bringing out the best in them is one of the most important leadership roles. Leaders can show their support by providing resources to make untapped contributions happen. Perhaps you can make a mentor available or give an employee an afternoon every week to work on a special project of value to the team.

Final Thoughts

A company is only as strong as its employees, which is why it’s imperative for employers to ensure they are happy and valued. Getting to know your team can make a world of difference in creating a happy culture and a happy workplace. Maintaining happiness at the workplace is a team effort. As the old saying goes, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”
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