Over time, some of your employees may become disgruntled. It may happen gradually or you may notice a stark contrast in their approach to work from one day to the next. But the way you address this common issue will have a significant impact on your business. It will set a precedent, showing employees what kind of behavior is unacceptable and (hopefully) it will reflect positively on you, as you take action to quickly correct the situation.

Here are the best ways to address disgruntled employees.

Find Out Why They’re Disgruntled

If an employee avoids group activities, when they had previously joined in, something may be wrong. It’s always possible that there’s something going on in an employee’s personal life, such as a breakup, that has them down and disengaged at work. It is your job to do your best to get to the bottom of it, if they don’t come out and say what’s caused such a drastic change.

If it’s an issue that has to do with work, then the next step is to see if it can be remedied. Unhappiness at work can come from a variety of sources and there are some causes you can do something about and others that are completely out of your control. Know the difference and set boundaries for what you can and cannot accommodate.

Act Quickly When You Notice a Disgruntled Employee

If one employee is neglecting their duties and not addressing customers in the friendly way you require, you must decide what course of action you will take as soon as possible. The last thing you would want is for their negativity to spread to other employees. While disgruntled employees sometimes arise, keeping the malaise at bay is crucial to maintaining the high quality service your business is known for.

Once you sit this employee down and get an understanding of what’s going on, that’s the time to decide your course of action. If they are typically a high performing member of the team, seeing them go would have a negative impact on your business. However, they may be on the verge of quitting. Learning why employees are unhappy before they quit can help you boost retention rates and lower the cost of hiring and training new employees.

Open Channels of Communication

Since you have noticed your disgruntled employee, it’s entirely possible that fellow employees have as well. Create a forum to discuss improvements to your business that will make it a better place to work. Your current employees are a gold mine for ideas on small changes that can make your business a pleasure to work for. While doubling pay may not be in the cards, creating a schedule further in advance to help employees plan their other obligations could be an easily implemented change with the help of an online employee scheduling system.

Be Proactive

Once you have dealt with at least one disgruntled employee, you will learn the warning signs. Maybe the employee starts to clock in late or does not accomplish routine tasks at the level they used to. As soon as you see any troubling behavior, talk about it calmly with them. Make sure all employees are reminded periodically of what is expected of them, both in terms of business results and etiquette.

Showing that you are in tune with employees is a plus. While a personal issue may be causing an employee to become disgruntled temporarily, noticing and discussing anything out of the ordinary will show that you care and want to encourage employees to reach their potential. Losing employees based on preventable issues should be avoided at all costs.

Prepare for the Worst

Holding on to star employees is the best case scenario, but sometimes the reasons behind your newly disgruntled employees are out of your control. You can’t bend the rules if an employee is asking for an unfair accommodation. Similarly, if an employee is on the brink of quitting and has made it clear that there is nothing reasonable you can do to keep them onboard, then it’s time to let them go. Whether they quit, or you are left with no choice but to fire them, this is an unfortunate, but oftentimes unavoidable outcome. Be sure to give employees warnings and document any discussions you have surrounding performance.

Have you experienced disgruntled employees in your business? Share your insights on the best ways to address the situation in the comment section.

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