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Lead Your Team Managing

What's Making Your Employees Unhappy (and What You Can Do About It)

What's Making Your Employees Unhappy (and What You Can Do About It)
Credit: Lasse Designen/Shutterstock

The motivation and passion of the team can make or break a company. But according to research from Teem, nearly half of employees report being unhappy or only somewhat happy at work. Another survey by EmployeeChannel supports this: Only 16 percent of employees said they felt "connected and engaged" by their employers.

"Unhappy or disengaged employees are a huge problem for businesses, not only in terms of corporate culture, [but] in costs as well," said Tore Haggren, SVP, Voice of the Employee at Confirmit, a global customer experience solutions provider for Customer Experience (CX), Voice of the Employee (VoE), and Market Research (MR). "They are less productive and have higher churn rates, which results in greater recruitment costs."

One of the biggest issues workers have with their employers is communication, specifically one-way communication. While it's great to establish rules and expectations for your employees, it's just as critical to be open to their ideas or concerns. [15 Cool Job Perks That Keep Employees Happy]

"There are, of course, many reasons that employees may be unhappy and thus disengaged, but something that often underpins many of these reasons is a sense of not being listened to," said Haggren. "Whether that's by their manager, executive teams or the HR function, many employees either don't get – or at least don't feel that they get – the chance to speak up and be heard."

If employees don't feel like they have a voice, they won't feel engaged, and their performance will likely fall short of your expectations.

Haggren said happiness and engagement go hand in hand.

"Most companies will focus more on whether employees are engaged (have emotional ties to the job) rather than happy (generally positive and with a sense of well-being)," he said. "But broadly, happiness leads to engagement."

If employers want their workers to be invested in each project, they must provide them with opportunities to do so. Assigning work that they are particularly interested in, or projects they feel can make a difference, will make them feel happier and, in turn, more engaged.

The best way to please employees is to establish a means of communication that allows both parties a voice.

"Of course, being available in person to chat is great, but organizations also need to have processes and solutions in place to listen to all employees on a regular basis," said Haggren. "Companies who really want to engage their teams need to develop a much more agile approach to listening to employees."

Haggren recommended "developing a program that combines proactive, solicited surveys at key stages of the employee lifecycle, with unsolicited, reactive approaches." Examples include online comment boxes and social media sites like Glassdoor.

From there, you need to act on the feedback and establish a common ground with your employees. Hold a meeting to discuss comments, whether they were submitted anonymously or directly, and work to reach a consensus that makes everyone happy.

For more tips to improve communication between managers and employees, visit this Business News Daily article.

Sammi Caramela

Sammi Caramela is a recent graduate of Rowan University, where she majored in writing arts and minored in journalism. She currently works as a Purch B2B staff writer while working on her first novel in her free time. Reach her by email, or check out her blog at sammisays.org.