6 Tips to Manage Unhappy Employees
Being a team leader requires you to have the skill to know how to handle unhappy employees. Unhappy employees can lead to job dissatisfaction, demotivated staff and high staff turnover. Turning an unhappy employee to a happy employee enables you to retain the best talents in your company.To achieve this, here is the top six strategies.
Assess and understand the situation
There are many reasons that can make an employee unhappy. Some can be personal, job related, family matters or even financial issues. Before you take any action, take time to understand the situation, talk to the employee, co-workers or use other non-formal networks to get the information. If you discover that the problem stems from the company, investigate the issue and gather all the relevant facts and details. Use your capacity to solve the issue, for instance if the employee is unhappy about their time, try to shift to a more comfortable schedule. If the problem stems from family related issue, offer any assistance like employee assistance program. If you help your employee deal with a bad situation, they will be loyal to you and your company.
Respond in a timely manner
Don't wait till the situation gets more complicated to help. Solving the situation on time makes it impossible for it to fester hence affecting more employees. Although having the conservation might be uncomfortable, talking about it sooner is better. Further, remember to address the rest of the employees and let them know that the problem is under control. Talking about an issue openly reduces the gossip being spread around by the staff.
Don't violate employees’ privacy
Although every staff member might be interested in the problem, keep the conversation between you and the unhappy employee private. Privacy creates an opportunity for the employee to trust you and open up about the real problem. Without confidentiality, you might never get accurate information from the unhappy employee making it harder for you to get a meaningful solution.Also, by keeping the matter private, you are protecting yourself and the employee legally. Keep all the notes, revelation and the resolutions made in your meeting in private and written and have the employee sign them.
Control your emotions to keep the conversation professional
Remember you are dealing with an unhappy employee who might be stressed, depressed or hungry hence, expect that emotions will dominate your conversation from time to time. Ensure you keep a straight head and act professionally. If the employee is upset, allow them to calm down and speak in a gentle manner. If the situation escalates, it helps to let the employee relax and calm down, hence take a break and allow the employee to deal with their emotions privately. Don't act like the boss, but rather,be a friend who is interested in listening to your employee.
Although as a manager you want to deal the situation faster and keep things on the move, when dealing with employees, patience is a requirement. It takes time to understand the situation, get the employee to trust you and open up and finally to make a resolution. You may need more meetings than you had planned for but it is worth it. Turning around unhappy employee can be frustrating but if hiring new staff is the alternative, then it is better to be patient. Remember productivity and effectiveness of employees depends on how you respond in such situations, hence take your time to find a lasting solution.
Keep the records safely
After documenting the conversation, resolutions and the meetings, keep the documents in safety. Although the objective of any manager is to help the employee with the issue and return to normalcy, sometimes managers are forced to issue performance improvement contracts. This lays some ground work for mistrust which can lead to termination in future. Documenting everything can save you from expensive and time consuming lawsuits. Keep standard documents like a warning letter and disciplinary action form .This can be used as evidence in case the employee decides to pursue legal action against the company.
As a leader, you are tasked with the responsibility of couching, mentoring and inspiring your team. You also have a duty to uplift them when they seem low like helping an unhappy employee.However, at times, terminating an employee's contract is inevitable. Leaders should know when and how to let go of nonperforming or unhappy employees.
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