Employees are frequently unhappy with their jobs, but the burden is on upper-level executives to decide what can be done to increase workplace satisfaction.
Forbes recently reported on a survey that shows that 44 percent of the American workforce is “unsatisfied” with their work. Another 21 percent said they were “somewhat unsatisfied.”
There are three options when it comes to dealing with unhappy workers – changing to accommodate their needs, forcing them to change and terminating them.
Your decision should be based on what factors are upsetting the staff. For instance, if the compensation plan isn’t satisfactory, but you cannot afford to implement company-wide raises.
Follow your managerial instincts when deciding if you or your disgruntled worker should change.
When you should change
One of the key components of management training is knowing how to communicate with your team.
When your top contributors are frustrated, you should take immediate action. Reliable workers are difficult to find and retain. You have to be somewhat flexible to avoid exacerbating the problems so you can retain your best employees.
When managers are approached by their staffers about certain issues, they should schedule meetings as soon as possible. The meetings should be conducted in a quiet office so that workers feel comfortable about airing their grievances.
Listen to the complaints and try to determine the heart of the matter. Some dissatisfaction can stem from personal issues that are beyond on your control. Ensure that the problems are work-related and that you have the power to make necessary changes.
Once you determine the best course of action, involve your employee in the improvement process. Ask him or her to lead the initiative and participate in meetings. Workers like to feel empowered, so allow your staff to have an active voice when it comes to improving the work environment.
When they should change
As noted above, some issues are beyond your control. Whether personal issues or rigid corporate practices are the main issues, you need to carefully explain there is nothing you can do beyond offering emotional support. Be sensitive and assure your employee that you will try to help him or her if the circumstances change.
Do not end the discussion simply because you cannot solve a problem. Act as a mentor and provide guidance to help overcome emotional obstacles. Alternatively, you can direct dissatisfied staff members to your human resources department to see if there are any possible solutions you may have missed.
When you should let someone go
Terminating an employee is an unpleasant but it’s sometimes a necessary task. Forbes writes that disgruntled workers can irreparably damage your brand, hamstring productivity and upset other associates.
If the situation has grown increasingly negative, you should fire the worker. Sometimes the only way to help your business and the disgruntled staffer is to completely dissolve the relationship.
Before terminating people, you should give them ample opportunities to improve their demeanor. Offer counseling and other assistance if you believe that the problem can be fixed. Only resort to termination if you exhaust all of your resources.
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Scott Murray is the Social Learning Evangelist for TrainUp.com, the web’s largest career marketplace. He is also a contributor to TrainUp.com’s Training Insights Blog, a series of blogs dedicated to career and professional development.