As a business owner, you probably want your employees to be happy. Even if you aren’t especially invested in their personal lives, you still want them to be happy, after all, happy employees are productive employees, which is good for business, which is good for the employees, so it’s all win-win.
With that said, sometimes, employees become unhappy in the workplace.
But how do you know if your employees are unhappy? Most of them aren’t going to come straight out and say it, but if you are paying attention, the signs are there. Here are five red flags to watch out for:
1. Your Employees Aren’t Friends
Okay, so they don’t all have to be best friends for life or anything, but they should see each other as allies, have some shared values and generally enjoy each other’s company throughout the day. Instead, your employees view each other as threats or competition and don’t see any value in socializing with each other or being friends.
If this is the case, you haven’t cultivated a culture that promotes bonding and friendship. This will require you to look at your systems and structure, and also look into creating a more relaxed atmosphere that encourages interaction. Also, do some off-hours team-building activities, such as outings.
2. They Are Doing The Bare Minimum
This is a huge red flag. We’re not talking about a couple of underperformers, we’re talking about a whole team who can’t seem to be bothered to do anything but the absolute minimum.
If this is the case, your people are likely starving for acknowledgment, incentives and appreciation.
3. They Don’t Speak Up
If your employees aren’t coming to you or another manager with their concerns, then they are likely feeling hopeless and that they aren’t able to affect any kind of change, which adds to their unhappiness.
Encourage feedback, and start showing your employees that their opinions matter.
4. They Are Late Or Absent
This is a huge issue that costs money and results in poor products and services, and also causes people who are doing their jobs more work and reduced job satisfaction. While you are doing the above items, such as listening, evaluating and acknowledging, it’s also a good idea to set firm boundaries and consequences around attendance and punctuality. Again, look into acknowledging and incentivizing exemplary attendance while making your workplace a place people actually feel good about coming to.
5. They Are Looking Elsewhere
High turnover rates hurt business. You don’t want to constantly be hiring, training and investing in employees who will be leaving in less than a year. Look into way to increase employee retention. Overhaul your salary and benefits packages if that’s what the problem is, and work on creating a company culture that makes working for you desirable.
Of course, you are the business owner and they work for you, but you are in business because of employees. When your employees are happy, your business will thrive. Take some time to evaluate the happiness and satisfaction of your employees, and watch your business grow.
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The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.