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How to Recognize Unhappy Employees Before They Leave


It happens all too often. Employers fail to recognize the needs of their employees, and before they know it, talent is walking right out the door. Recruiting, hiring, and training a new set of employees is costly, and it’s not ideal in any scenario. Retained employees already know what your business needs to keep growing. The consistency and discipline they provide is crucial, but if they’re not happy, it won’t last very long. You can’t fix the problem if you don’t know it exists, and knowing what to look for can keep your business together.

See who’s getting burnt out

Burnout takes a huge toll, and continuously overworked employees will become desperate to the point where they’ll quit their whole career path just to take a nap. Recognizing a burnt out employee is easy as long as you have your eyes open. These employees are less productive than they have been in the past, they show up late, and they go home early. They wander through the workplace like ghosts, operating only to routine standards. Find these people, and give them a break.

Listen to complaints

People could be complaining about their job, or about another employee. Complaints will lead you in the direction of the problems. Sometimes, complaints are unwarranted and there’s nothing that can be done to mediate them. Other times, you may find you’re at fault in a way that’s negatively impacting everyone’s responsibilities. Complaints about another employee may signify that they’re at their wit’s end, and they need an intervention.

Is anyone getting touchy?

James is the most mild mannered employee you’ve ever had. He would give you the boots off his feet, and he wouldn’t harm a fly. If you see him banging his head into his desk and ripping his hair out in frustration, that’s probably not his normal reaction to stressful situations. When someone has had enough, their attitude will change in a noticeable way. If anyone is becoming irritable, argumentative, or reacting disproportionately to simple things, you need to address that before they hit their breaking point.

Observe employee attitudes towards coworkers

We place so much emphasis on being a team player, and many employees are happy to do so. When an employee starts becoming less of a team player, this probably is indicative that they can’t stand their coworkers anymore. The “I’ll just do it myself” attitude is a common response when someone is unhappy. Make sure effective communication is occurring, and assign roles based on everyone’s strengths.

Who is dying to leave?

Abusing sick days, coming up with stupid excuses, and requesting a lot of days off may not mean the employee in question is lazy. They could be driving themselves crazy being confined to an environment that’s less than positive for them. If someone perceives a situation as toxic, why would they willingly involve themselves in it? It’s time to evaluate the dynamics of your workplace, and the division of responsibilities.

Though it seems taxing, it’s very simple to keep your employees happy. Always keep a productive, ongoing dialogue in the workplace. Create an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing respectful criticism. Provide your employees with the tools to create a functional work-life balance, and offer everyone opportunities to further their career within your company. It costs more to hire a new employee than it does to keep a trusted employee.

Monique Craig is an employee at Oneflare, a reliable online marketplace from Australia. In her free time, Monique enjoys reading self-improvement books and learning more about new technologies and strategies that allow businesses to grow and expand.


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