The High Cost of Unhappy Employees

Undoubtedly, it makes good business sense to keep staff happy at work and create a positive working culture where people can do their best work.

As well as the obvious costs such as recruitment efforts to replace employees who leave, there are many indirect ways that having unhappy workers can be costly to business. A happy, engaged workforce makes a work environment a nice place to be – even in the toughest jobs.

For service sector businesses, happy staff bring more custom in, as customers are attracted by the feel-good energy and buzz of a happy team.

Even for businesses outside of the service sector, keeping employees happy brings many tangible benefits. Happy, engaged staff are more likely to:

  • Stay – are less likely to leave and join the competition
  • Say – tell other people that they enjoy their jobs – which enhances brands and employer reputation
  • Strive – happy staff work harder! They see the value in the work that they do, have the resources needed to do their work well and enjoy doing a good job

When it comes to extremely unhappy staff, the cost to business can escalate. Investigating grievances and remedying difficult staff situations can put great demand on internal resources. Seeking legal expertise and defending tribunal cases is often costly.

There are also secondary costs – for every disgruntled, unhappy employee, there will be colleagues working close by who have to work alongside a negative or unhappy atmosphere.

So when it comes to keeping employees happy, prevention is better than cure. Resources are better directed at keeping staff motivated and engaged, than spent on fixing disputes or problems once they have occurred.

Here are a few simple suggestions for keeping employees happy at work:

  1. Check in with each of your staff from time to time. Is there anything they need in order to do their job better? Are there any new skills they would like to learn?
  2. Tackle poor performance without delay. Carrying poorly performing staff for long durations can really bring team spirit down.
  3. People feel much more loyal and invested in their organisation if they have a friend at work. Consider the individuals in your teams – is anyone isolated? Is the culture within the team cliquey or remote? A professional yet friendly culture is what most workplaces should be aiming for
  4. Stay well informed on policies and management best practice – so that you know you’ re always dealing with staff appropriately
  5. Celebrate successes publicly – let your staff know when they’ re doing a good job – and let others know too!