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How can I better engage unhappy employees?

Katie Harrower |

Category

Management
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There’s a lot of information out there on how to encourage employee engagement, but what if some of your employees are already unhappy? It’s often harder to work your way back from a bad situation, than building your workplace culture on strong foundations.

If your business is in this situation, it’s time to take action. But these actions will likely need to be different than your bog-standard employee engagement strategies, because you are looking for remedies & solutions to pre-existing problems.

1. Encourage feedback

Feedback needs to be at the very heart of this strategy. What has caused this unhappiness in the workplace? It may be difficult to get a straight answer to this one – there’s often a communication barrier between employees and senior management, but over time your feedback strategy will nurture trust and break down these walls.

A study revealed that companies implementing regular employee feedback see a 15% lower turnover rate of staff, and 65% of employees taking part in the study said they want even more feedback - so the rewards of employing a feedback strategy are huge for all functions within your business.

Surveys are a great way to encourage feedback and find the pain points which you have a responsibility to find a solution for. Finding this out is the first and most crucial step in improving your employee wellbeing. Youmanage HR has it’s own survey functionality within the HR system, allowing you to create, distribute and analyse employee feedback with ease.

2. Act on that feedback

Collecting feedback, whether it be positive or negative, is only half of the process. Being aware of the problem is step one, but the next step is to act on it – and fast. Remember that you’ve asked for this feedback and your employees therefore expect changes to be undertaken in order to address their responses.

Why not encourage HR and managers to undertake regular informal one-to-one meetings to follow up on these actions and provide consistency to your employees? Youmanage's Performance & Development module can help you to track and schedule these meetings to ensure they are being performed regularly.

3. Help your employees see the bigger picture

Sometimes employees are feeling undervalued because of a lack of communication. What can be helpful is allowing them some insight into parts of the overall business plans and goals that they might have otherwise not understood, and this can help to justify some of the decisions senior management is making. This level of transparency is what employees value above all else, and will create a culture of trust between managers and employees where it might have been previously lacking.

4. Offer opportunities for development

Personal development is moving to the forefront of your employees minds, firstly while looking for new job opportunities, and then ongoing throughout their career. Whether or not you have promised development opportunities or not, it’s important that you deliver these wherever possible. If not for any other reason, it gives individuals the feeling of progression, which can solve a number of issues causing boredom and a feeling of monotony in the workplace, which can breed unhappiness.

5. Set clear expectations

Without individual and team-wide expectations in place, employees are unlikely to respect or value other members of the team, and this breeds negativity and a general lack of trust. That’s why setting and enforcing expectations is key to boosting employee engagement, motivation and happiness as a result. Providing employees with goals to work towards provides them with that same feeling of progression, helping them to feel valued as a key part of the overall business.

6. Record, analyse and drive change

The best way to improve your HR processes and ensure all employees are feeling valued & happy within their roles is to record, analyse and suggest improvements to drive further change, and that can't be achieved without some sort of record keeping system in place. HR systems like Youmanage support you by providing a space for you to keep all of your employee records, removing complications and ensuring your compliance, while allowing you to report and analyse key metrics that will reveal underlying issues throughout the business.

Did you find this article useful? Youmanage HR offers software to help you streamline your HR processes and ensure compliance within your company. We also write articles on HR, leadership, employee engagement, health & well-being and much more. Start a free trial of Youmanage, get in touch to ask questions, or check out our blog to help you to deliver HR best practice in your business.

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Katie is the Marketing Executive here at Youmanage. Within the wider team, she is responsible for managing all aspects of marketing communications, including content and digital strategy, social media, website traffic, prospective client experience and the overall satisfaction of existing Youmanage users.