In general, people do not complain about the rules that you agree with each other. They are already geared up to all those rules and laws and people also know what they can expect and what they are entitled to. As companies we have made entire agreements about this. However, people mainly complain about the implementation of all these regulations. And that can have major consequences.
Here are some examples. The computer does not work again, the coffee cannot be drunk and your colleague is constantly bothering you. And also, grumbling about work and employers seems to be the favorite activity during parties and other social gatherings. While all that murmur relieves just as well, it is a symptom of a major problem, as it can lead to severe problems.
Here is what companies and their management can do about it, but in many cases don’t. And where does it leave you, the really disgruntled employee? It is time you take action yourself and I will tell you how.
Why the dissent?
Whilst above mentioned facts are relatively small things, which have to be dealt with even so, here is a list of issues that can really influence the behavior of an employee adversely. They include, but are not limited to the following:
- Disrespectful treatment or regard
- Lack of recognition
- Troublesome working environment (too much noise, bad air)
- Favoritism and nepotism (usually through promotions or the lack thereof)
- A contested Performance Review
- Sexual harassment
- Lack of career growth or financial gain
- Trouble with management and HR not helping
- Domestic Issues outside of the workplace (health, marriage, etc)
You might have noticed that the majority of issues is related to the leadership or management of companies. The last one can clearly trouble you a lot, however, it is a little outside the scope of this article.
What the management should know
Whatever all that grumbling is about, it is a sure symptom of employee dissatisfaction. Dissatisfied employees are very, very rarely happy employees and without satisfaction there will be no motivation and necessary involvement and commitment. And without motivation there will be little performance. See here: a nice chain reaction with an unfortunate result: companies with grumbling people perform worse than companies without them.
Remember that the murmur is usually about relatively small things. As a rule, the entire company does not really have to be turned around to solve the issue, to better organize that workplace or to order that safety helmet. And yet the impact of those apparently small things is potentially huge. Sometimes I doubt that management sees the potential issues.
What about the engagement of employees in our companies?
The figures do not show a very uplifting picture. Global company research * shows that 1 in 5 employees have already mentally left their own organization. So no involvement, no connection, no development, growth and therefore returns.
How do you get employees to take a new direction? My message is therefore simple: listen to your people and their (informal) complaints. Don’t play down – “that they moan about such a thing” – but take your people and their complaints seriously and resolve them before they grumble about it at parties. Why would an employee really want to perform for the interests of the company if that company does not give home when it comes to their basic interests?
In order to help you achieving this, here are 4 things that you can bear in mind.
1. Have an open mind
Dissatisfaction with employees can be annoying, but at the same time it is a relief, namely, dissatisfied employees are at least not indifferent. They hope for the better and that it is dealt with properly. The pitfall is to label dissatisfied employees as dissatisfied people who are “just like that”, unchangeable. With that you wipe the possible value of their thoughts off the table and you deny their (albeit unpleasant) invitation to contact.
Be careful not to be influenced by the prevailing negativity. Invite the dissatisfied employee for a sincere conversation, where you show interest in his / her thoughts. Show where these thoughts actually connect to what is happening or will happen, where they can add something valuable and in which they simply do not fit.
By showing genuine interest, someone feels valued, part of the group and perhaps the most important part: a part of the solution.
2. Get to know your people
The times of lifelong loyalty to one employer are over, most people are committed to their career, not their company. That is why it is important for employees to feel that they have the opportunity to use all their knowledge and skills so that people feel valuable and will stay that way.
In addition, employees want to be able to develop, they want to feel that there are opportunities for growth and that they can seize opportunities that suit them. Certainly young employees, certainly highly educated. Regular personal contact is also essential for this.
It is not necessary to have an in-depth conversation every week, but to develop a sensitivity, an alertness, to see or create opportunities for different employees, so that you can provide them.
3. Loosen control
A direct consequence of making genuine contact with employees is that you create an atmosphere that makes connection possible and in which people give each other something. It works to discover common values, between employees and between employees and the company. Discussing personal and shared goals makes them feel seen and appreciated and that there is a future ahead of them. This requires managers to be able to let go of control, to have the reins loosened up.
The worse things get, the more people are inclined to tighten the reins, but that only leads to more resistance. Successful collaboration means trusting each other and trust can only build up if you make contact with each other and get to know each other. By making personal contact, showing genuine interest and connecting, you know exactly what you have and you know what you can trust. Trust is the best sign of appreciation.
4. Accept the vulnerable feeling
Making contact, showing that you do not know or master everything, asking what unsatisfied employees have in mind, noticing where there are opportunities for others, it can feel vulnerable.
Sometimes something (or much) will have to change in order to work together that way and that makes it hesitate, that is again the natural resistance to change. Take the risk and build mutual trust. Ultimately, that connection offers the freedom and security that the entire team needs to grow. An excellent breeding ground for a new foundation.
The impact of connecting is immense!
The impact of involved and connected employees is immense. For more than 25 years, the American Gallup Institute has been investigating the involvement and commitment of employees in more than 65 countries.
Research shows that increasing employee engagement leads to a 20% increase in productivity. Moreover, the chance that a connected employee leaves the company is 87% lower than an employee who is not involved and / or connected. In other words, committed employees contribute more and stay longer!
So why still so many disgruntled employees?
Because not many employers can show they said yes to all questions below. Can I hold up a mirror to you in the form of these five questions?
I actively involve my employees in decisions and processes yes / no
I regularly talk to my people on a personal basis yes / no
I know what my staff needs; I put them “in their power” yes / no
My employees feel that they are doing meaningful work yes / no
My employees can flourish within the company yes / no
If you answered ‘no’ to one of these questions, it could be that many, possibly your best people are about to leave. In fact, not many employers can say yes to all of these questions.
They feel pressure from above, they have their deadlines, targets and KPI’s to tend to. And hey, if they reach their goals, nothing can be wrong? Can there?
Final thoughts and unique opportunity for you
It looks so easy and straightforward to do something for you, the disgruntled employee. All the tools are there for management to turn things around. Yet it does not happen!
So where does it leave you, with all of you grievances? You feel left out in the cold! Well let me tell you that you are only one small decision away from a new life. It is time to take matters in your own hands. I suggest doing so by starting your own internet business, doing so whilst still having a job, but realizing you have a way out.
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