What’s behind your employee disgruntlement?

Disgruntled employees can pose a risk to your company by providing poor service, thus turning customers off and they can create a negative work environment by creating stress and disharmony within the work group. Some disgruntled employees may purposely set out to cause trouble with unethical behaviour, ranging from spreading rumours to stealing money and equipment.

A FEW disgruntled employees can destroy your company culture.

Leading and managing excited, productive and happy people is not the challenge; the true challenge is dealing with and managing unhappy, difficult and disgruntled employees. A sobering fact is that unhappy or disgruntled employees can damage your company’s culture, resulting in a poor or hostile work environment which often translates to reduced profit margins and dispirited employees.

Although various influences contribute to an employee’s overall happiness at work, it is the employer’s responsibility to look out for these employees and take action.

Disgruntled employees can pose a risk to your company by providing poor service, thus turning customers off and they can create a negative work environment by creating stress and disharmony within the work group. Some disgruntled employees may purposely set out to cause trouble with unethical behaviour, ranging from spreading rumours to stealing money and equipment.

Unhappy, disgruntled employees can create a tense, negative and stressful atmosphere in the workplace, which affects the overall productivity of the team. These same employees can cause a hostile work environment. They are a drain on managers because managers, in turn, have to waste their time dealing with and resolving the problems they cause.

The word “disgruntled” essentially means dissatisfied, angry, or discontented. And when it comes to what is a disgruntled employee, the person is upset with his or her professional life or maybe even with personal life. The reason can be a lack of recognition, disrespect or a lack of satisfactory compensation package. A disgruntled employee is a person working in an organisation, but not happy with his or her job. The person may be unhappy with the work environment, the behaviour of the supervisor or co-workers, or the company’s leadership.

Disgruntled employee’s definition states professionals grumbling about the company they are working for. They are either not in sync with the company’s policies and norms or the behavioural characteristics of other employees. They need to be heard out so that their issues can be solved.

What causes disgruntlement in employees?

Employees become disgruntled for a variety of reasons, and it is necessary to address the problem immediately. Many employees feel dissatisfied with their jobs at one point or another.

Some employees leave their jobs for better opportunities, while others choose to stay and remain unhappy. Dissatisfied employees can negatively affect a company because they typically lack motivation, perform poorly and possess negative attitudes. These symptoms have a way of spreading to other employees, infecting entire departments and the company’s bottom line.

Here are some reasons for disgruntlement in the company

Underpayment: An underpaid employee is far less likely to be engaged at work than their fairly-compensated counterpart. Pay has a direct effect on employee productivity and engagement. While pay is only one of several factors influencing employee engagement, it plays a key role in the equation and employees who feel valued and appreciated are motivated to do their best work.

Underpaying your employees can place a question mark on their worth to you and nobody wants to work more hours while getting paid for less. Yes, your company may want to save money by scrimping on the salary structure, but make sure that just like how you want to satisfy all your customers, you should also be able to satisfy your “internal customers”— your employees.

Sometimes, some of your employees may only be motivated to work because they need to earn and not because they like what they are doing, so be fair and provide them a reasonable salary.

The best way human resources leaders can go about this is to make it a habit to check the local laws on minimum wage, research the industry trends on adequate pay for employees and adequately offer a fair wage to its workforce. This way, the company stays competitive with job seekers and continuously satisfies their current employees’ needs and demands which improves the success of the business.

Mismatch of functions: It is only natural for someone to dislike his job if it requires him to do something he has not been trained to do. He might be overqualified for it, or maybe even under-qualified in some instances. When there is a mismatch of function, not only will the company get low quality output, but also a very grumpy employee. Mismatch of function is a ticking time bomb, even with star players on your team. Make sure you check with the human resource manager if employees are actually suited for their functions. It is never too late to switch them to the function they are better suited for.

Under-appreciation: Some employees would be more motivated when they get a sense of approval from their bosses — being told that they have done a good job, that their efforts to produce quality output are well-appreciated and have actually contributed to the company’s success. A pat on the back, a handshake, or a “good job” won’t even take a minute, but can do so much for your subordinates. It is also nice if you get to know them during breaks, take note of their birthdays, and make them feel they belong to a friendly and appreciative workplace.

Boredom and lack of involvement: As a function of boredom, individuals may feel over-worked or under-employed and become distracted, stressed or disillusioned. Bored staff less likely engage with or focus on their work. How long have your employees been working in the same position with the same functions, workload, and routine day in and day out? When boredom strikes, chaos is never far behind. Boring jobs can produce a mini-network of gossips and talkativeness in the office. Boredom leads to disengagement, and disengagement leads to lack of attention, missed opportunities and mistakes.

What happens when employees lack involvement or influence? If employees do not believe they have a voice in the organisation, they are likely to feel a sense of indifference or helplessness.

This might not be that common, but some employees hate their work because they feel that they are uninvolved in the company — that they are merely following whatever instructions are given to them. These employees are those who seek a sense of belongingness with the company itself, more than with their colleagues. They want that sense of being involved with the success of the company. I am not saying give anyone a seat in the board meeting, but maybe you can let them decide on small things. Allow them to plan the company outing — from the time and date, the reservation, to the games and activities they want to have.

Let them steer the wheel from time to time so that they have a voice in the organisation.

No matter how good your workplace is, occasionally having disgruntled employees is unavoidable. When employees feel engaged and appreciated, they care more about the company but disengaged employees could cost organisations due to job dissatisfaction and reduced efficiency. Conversations with disgruntled employees can be difficult, but they can also be rewarding.

See them as an opportunity to improve the workplace, and better support your staff and by this mindset you become a good and more compassionate employer.

Emmanuel Zvada writes in his own capacity. He is an award-winning global HR practitioner and managing consultant for Third Eye Africa Consulting Group. He writes here in his personal capacity.

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