You may think that it’s okay for employees to be unhappy at work. After all, it’s work, right? Since when do work and happiness exist in the same instance of space-time? Well, actually, work and happiness should go hand-in-hand.
This doesn’t mean that all employees should be expected to want to sing and dance whenever they start work. You’re never going to have the all of your employees being genuinely happy that they have to go to work. It’s an obligation, after all. If they don’t work, they don’t get paid. And the things that they spend their paycheck on are probably the things they’d rather be doing instead of working! Plus there could be issues outside of work that affects their happiness in the workplace as well.
But that doesn’t mean you should allow your employees to be unhappy. And I’m not just talking about this from an ethical standpoint. I’m talking about this from a very pragmatic business standpoint. The fact is that unhappy employees are less productive than happy employees. And you may not even notice it – possibly because all your employees are unhappy, so you have no point of comparison.
Here are some common reasons of why employees are often unhappy with their job. Can you improve things and work towards a happier, stronger workplace?
Giving them inadequate tools or materials
Do you need your employees to develop and program complex software? Then don’t make them do it using old, slow technology that crashes every day. Do you need your employees to build a house for a client? Then don’t make them work with rusty screwdrivers and other inferior metals. Is your company supposed to provide seamless, super-fast customer service? Then don’t expect your employees to do their job with a slow Internet connection that keeps cutting out. If your employees don’t have what they need to perform at the standard that you expect them to, then they’re just going to get frustrated. Which isn’t an emotion that works will with ‘happy’.
Making them wear a dumb uniform
Employees don’t necessarily have to love the uniform you’ve provided them. But if you have to make them wear it, then you need to make sure they’re comfortable in it. There are several ways your uniform could cause employees to be unhappy. The most obvious is sheer physical discomfort. If the uniform is too hot, or made from cheap material, then your employees will get all sweaty and itchy. There are also sexist uniforms around. (Just because your employee is female, it doesn’t mean she should be made to wear ridiculously small clothing!) And then there are uniforms that just look, well, stupid. Consider working with uniform rental services to get something your employees will be happier in.
Ignoring their potential
If you’re not giving your employees feedback, then they’re not going to know how they can improve. And every employee can improve. If you don’t give an employee the chance to improve themselves, then you’re simply wasting their potential. So giving them constructive feedback every now and again is the best place to start. But why not take it further? Talk to them about their career goals. Can you work together to help them get the necessary experience? You could even offer training programs to help improve their talents. And you can help employees move into higher level positions within your organization.
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