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Do Happy Employees Really Make Better Employees?

By Briana Creely, Office Manager

The short answer? Absolutely. First, let’s dive into the topic of employee dissatisfaction and disengagement and why it’s such a major issue in today’s workplace.

Countless surveys and studies have been done on the topic, and the results show that some of the most common reasons employees would consider themselves “unhappy” at their jobs include: stress, lack of job security, compensation and benefits, improper training, poor relationships with supervisors and managers, infrequent recognition, and no opportunity for growth in their current role.

Is YOUR Team Happy?

Do you know what makes your employees tick? Their motivation? Their biggest frustration? Unfortunately, part of the problem is that employers don’t understand WHY their employees ARE or ARE NOT happy at work. Knowing is half the battle, right? So, let’s look at a four red flags that are indicative of employee dissatisfaction.

They’re Arriving Late and Leaving Early
It’s not unusual for someone to be eager to go home at the end of the day. You know the feeling well—it’s been a long day and you’re looking forward to unwinding and spending time with your family. The red flag in this case is when you notice a trend in your employees’ in and out times—they’re getting to work at the last minute and running out the door as the clock says they’re free to go. People who enjoy their jobs look forward to producing quality work, completing tasks and projects, and interacting with their coworkers. This warning sign may also present itself in the form of frequent call-offs and unexplained absences.

On the other hand, it’s important to keep an eye on the folks who are working TOO MANY hours—it could be that they really enjoy their jobs and take pride in their work, or it could be that they are overloaded and stressed. Pay attention to your employees. You’ll learn a lot just by watching!

They’re Disconnected
Everyone is different. You will have employees who are extroverted and social—who you can always count on to be at every after-hours gathering, team-building activity, or company event. You’ll have your introverts who are friendly, but shy and reserved and tend to keep interaction with colleagues to a minimum. The mixture typically creates a nice, balanced work environment.

Although not everyone will want to join in on happy hour or be a team captain in the company-wide competition, it’s important that your employees feel a sense of connection to their peers. Encourage your team to get to know each other. That connection is crucial to a successful team. If you have an employee who is resistant and unwilling to connect, it may be because they’re unhappy with their job and already have one foot out the door.

Your Star Performers Stop Shining
It’s no secret—every company has stand-out, superstar performers. In fact, I bet someone came to mind when you read that last sentence! It’s so easy to rely heavily on those people, because you know they’ll meet every deadline and exceed every expectation, regardless of how much they have on their plates. It’s important that you make sure those superstars aren’t so overloaded that their jobs become more stressful than enjoyable. Losing those people would be a serious blow.

In a world where recruiters are constantly on the prowl, it’s important that the people you want to hold onto are happy in their roles. The unfortunate truth of the matter is that, regardless of the work environment, you’re bound to lose a few of those star performers for one reason or another—but don’t let it be because you didn’t make every effort to give them the tools they need to shine.

They’re Behaving Unprofessionally
When your employees are client-facing and deal directly with your customers, their demeanor is everything. At Sentric, we like our employees to have a “smile you can hear through the phone” (a little cliché, but it’s the truth!). It’s not always easy, and everyone is bound to have a bad day here and there, but if you notice that one of your employees has developed a generally bad attitude or has started making careless mistakes, you’re looking at another major red flag. It probably means they’ve mentally checked out—they’ve stopped being concerned about their performance and the quality of their work.

Unprofessional written and verbal communication is another indicator that your employee has checked out. Because they don’t care about their job, they don’t fear the repercussions that may come from inappropriate behavior. Supervisors and managers need to stay involved and regularly monitor communications. This will also help to identify your superstars!

Why Does it Matter?

So, your employees don’t love their jobs. As long as they’re coming to work every day, it’s no big deal… right? Actually, it’s a huge deal. Employee unhappiness is costing your company more than you think—both literally and figuratively. Let’s talk numbers. Statistics show that companies with engaged, happy, and overall satisfied employees are significantly more profitable than those whose employees are disengaged.

The numbers speak volumes. Statistically, “happy” employees are working harder which, at the end of the day, means higher profitability for the employer, increased sales, and less turnover (which means less money spent on turnover costs, estimated to cost, in each instance, between 6-9 months’ salary of the replaced employee). More importantly, happy employees equal happy customers, happy customers equal referrals, which equal more customers… you see where this is going.

For your employees, it’s not always about the almighty dollar at the end of the day. According to one source, “more than 1 in 4 employees (28%) would rather have a better boss than a $5,000 raise” and, just as surprisingly, “more than 1 in 3 employees (36%) would give up $5,000 a year in salary to be happier at work.”

That sure says a lot about how your people really define happiness in the work place, doesn’t it?