So one of your employees has a missed a few Mondays. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything, does it? They’ve also been pretty vocal about being unhappy. That can happen to long-term employees, can’t it? Maybe he’s just letting off steam. Everybody’s been under a lot of pressure.
Individually, these problems like these don’t seem like much, but together they may add up to problems. These signs may paint a picture of an employee that has already quit but just hasn’t yet left your employment. The truth is that many employees quit working for you long before they leave. They still show up; they are just no longer engaged in their work.
Here is what to do when the warning alarms are sounding.
Have A Candid, Non-Judgmental Conversation
Unresolved issues don’t age well. This is true whether they are client issues or employee issues. If you had an unresolved issue with a client you would go and sit down with that client in hope of resolving the issue. That is exactly the right decision when you suspect an employee has disengaged, has quit without leaving, or has given signs that they are dissatisfied.
If your employee is disengaged or dissatisfied, you should schedule time to meet with them to listen to their concerns. Have a candid conversation, but don’t be defensive or judgmental. In fact, don’t even try to resolve the issue during this meeting. Instead, just listen, take notes, and offer to get back with the employee after you’ve had a chance to look into whatever concerns them
Good employees can become dissatisfied over issues that can be resolved. A candid, non-judgmental conversation is the right place to start to figure out whether the issue can be resolved favorably for both of you.
Make an Honest Attempt
Once you understand the source of your employee’s disengagement, you can make an honest attempt to resolve that issue. If the issue is one that can be resolved, you may be able to do something to salvage the relationship and the employee. But sometimes the issues aren’t easily resolved.
The truth of the matter is that running a business today is difficult. Change is coming faster and is more disruptive than ever. Business is complicated. Many of the decisions that a business makes can be unpopular, but that decision may very well be the best decision to move the business forward. Sometimes the issue can’t be resolved in a way that satisfies the employee. What then?
You Begin Looking Too
If it’s clear an employee is dissatisfied and disengaged, then you must begin looking for their replacement. It would be unfair to the employee to release them without giving them fair warning. It’s equally unfair to the business to allow the employee to leave without you having begun the work of finding their replacement.
It’s also unfair to the rest of your team, and quite possibly your customers and clients, to leave the disengaged employee in their role. Part of preparing for an employee’s eventual departure should include a conversation about how you can wind down the relationship and part as friends. You should ask how you might help them transition into a new job somewhere else, and give them the time to find a new home. In exchange, you should ask that they stay engaged with their job duties and for them not to spread their dissatisfaction.
Just because an employee is still showing up for work doesn’t mean that they haven’t already quit. If you suspect they are disengaged, you get engaged in figuring out what you can do about it.