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Weeding Your Workforce

Unhappy employees can be damaging to your bottom line. They can cause serious damage to your business from the inside by sabotaging the customer experience or undermining the morale of fellow employees. Your first instinct will be to fire them immediately to limit the havoc they can create. But, is that the right approach? Will it solve the underlying issue? Ending a string of poor employees is akin to weeding your backyard – you have to dig to the root to ensure that it doesn’t keep sprouting new weeds.

Hiring: It may be time for an honest look at your hiring practices if you consistently find yourself with employees that fizzle out. You could be hiring over-qualified employees while logic might suggest that your requirements are set too low. If you hire over-qualified employees and then assign them too many mundane tasks, you face a high risk of a disengaged workforce.

Atmosphere: You may not be picking bad apples, you might be growing them. There are many causes for a disengaged employee, all of which should be explored, or you run the risk of ruining every hire you make. Common culprits are a poor work environment, outdated equipment or resources, and overbearing management.

Promotions: Not much is worse than continually being overlooked. Achieving profitably requires cost containment and increased revenues. Financial pressures can lead to decisions that limit promotions and raises to keep shareholders and executives happy with profit levels. However, this strategy will quickly alienate your high-performing employees, and it will be just a matter of time before they take it personally. An employee who feels ignored will be unmotivated to work as hard as they can, and may take other employees down with them.

Perks: Perks are a powerful deterrent to destructive office behavior. Good leaders use perks, like flex-time, to allow exceptional employees time to get out of the office without being penalized. This allows them to come back refreshed and in good spirits. One cost-effective method many businesses use is keeping a selection of food available for employees, free of charge. We become agitated when we’re hungry, which can easily cause rude behavior or lax efforts.

It’s a big task to evaluate the human resource aspects of your business, but there are solutions available to assist you. Businesses around the world are deploying employee engagement surveys to learn what their employees think about workplace issues. Deploying a survey offers you an inside look at the mechanics of your business by providing employees the opportunity to give you invaluable feedback.

Unhappy employees are often called ‘bad apples’ or seen as a poor fit for the culture. However, the real cause often lies much deeper than that. Devote the resources necessary to ensure that your business’s most valuable assets are happy and stay happy. Deploy an employee survey to establish your employee engagement baseline, and then resurvey periodically to measure the effectiveness of your improvement initiatives.

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