Unhappy Employees: 4 Warning Signs for HR5 min read

Ali Neill / January 4, 2024
Category : Human Resources, Recruitment advice
Caption: Unhappy Employees: 4 Warning Signs for HR5 min read

With the new year comes new goals and resolutions. Ours at the Jobboard Finder include bringing our readers more content with useful advice and keeping our employees happy. Are you in HR and are you worried your employees might be unhappy? Then you’ve come to the right place! We’re going to look at 4 warning signs for Human Ressource professionals to look out for this year.

Showing up late

Everyone has days when they just don’t feel like getting up. And many of us have slept in without hearing the alarm or have missed the bus. However, showing up late often can be a sign of something more for some employees and HR should be looking out for these subtle signs. The tricky thing about showing up late is that unhappy employees themselves sometimes don’t realise what they’re doing. Basically, employees can be in a form of denial about their unhappiness so they’re can’t even reach out to human ressources (HR) for help. So, this is a powerful moment for you, recruiters and HR professionals! You can actually go and confront these employees (in a friendly way) to see what might be contributing to their lack of motivation. Here’s a list of questions you can ask:

  • How are you finding your current tasks and activities within the company?
  • Has anything changed in your professional life recently?
  • How is your relationship with your colleagues?
  • Are there any personal factors in your life which might be affecting your work?
  • What are your goals within the company? How can the company help you achieve these goals?
  • If you could change anything in your current job, what would you change?

Obviously, you could ask many more questions and each of these would lead to more follow-up questions depending on the answer. We encourage you to preface this echange with a clear message about the purpose of the interview. The idea is to help the employer, not to interrogate him/her and not to make him/her feel uncomfortable.

Being absent regularly

Office interior: desk with computer, papers and supplies, office chair in light room

Some employees take the “showing up late” one step further by not showing up at all. Once again, we all have reasons for missing a day of work but the frequency of the absences will teach you a lot about your employees disatisfaction in the workplace.

So the first question to ask yourself is this: when should HR look into an employee’s absences? It’s not an easy quesiton. If there is a very bad flu going around and many people are absent, you might be more lenient. If one employee in particular often takes days off, you might want to start by asking questions concerning their health and their reasons for staying away from the workplace. This needs to be naviated carefully: in some countries, like France, it is illegal to ask people about their health if they have a note from their doctor. It’s not about manipulating your staff. Feeling that the workplace is a safeplace can help people open up. You can also try to show the regularly-absent employees more attention and support and see if it makes a difference to their presence in the office. If it does, you might have just made an unhappy employee happy again.

Isolating oneself from others

You’ll need to keep your eyes open for this warning sign. Isolation, by definition, means the person is actively avoiding group settings and exchanges with colleagues. They are trying to go under the radar and be as unnoticeable as possible.

Now, some employees aren’t very social and that might not be a huge problem in your company. As a member of the HR team, you have some insight into the personality of each person on your staff. In fact, we recommend you keep your own book of notes and comments about each person so that you can cater to their specific needs or remember important information about them. If you do this, you’ll be able to compare their current behaviour with your own original notes about them.

In a company, you need to be constantly on the lookout for behavioural changes which is why the job is so difficult. People underestimate just how much psychology goes into being in HR.

Criticising the company

Here, you have the biggest warning sign of all: employees openly criticising the company and various aspects of the way things are done. Sure, we all like to vent a bit and blame the boss or the enterprise. This is normal. When it starts to be weekly or daily, you’ve got a problem.

You want your employees to feel like they can express themselves without getting called in for a disccusion so you’ll need to listen to the casual criticism without turning it into something more formal. If your employee is complaining about a lack of flexibility, you can do some casual Fridays. If your employee says there is nothing to eat in the kitchen or a lack of facilities, you can invest in a new coffee machine and maybe some croissants in the morning once a week. There are loads of solutions! Remember to call attention to all the great things in the company to see if it opens your unhappy employees to what they’re missing.

We hope our advice has helped you understand the warning signs of unhappiness in the workplace. Do you have some others we missed? Let us know in the comments sections! And above all, BE HAPPY!

Source: https://www.istockphoto.com/fr/photo/bureau-de-patron-vide-gm692113548-127704453


Author: Ali Neill

As the job board tester and blog editor for the Jobboard Finder, Ali works on job boards from all around the world and keeps a close eye on the recruitment trends thanks to a number of sources, including the website’s social media pages.

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