As a business owner, you want to get the best you can from your team. However, it’s not always up to you. The mental and emotional state of the individual will play a big role in just how motivated, engaged, and happy they are at their work. If previously reliable and even excellent employees are starting to show signs of unhappiness, it’s more than a trivial concern. You need to start thinking about what is making them unhappy in their position and get them back to peak performance.
Are they recognised?
This is a very important factor. Everyone wants to feel like their work matters and in some way reflects back on them. If they’re doing good work, are you sure they’re getting the credit that they should be? One way that some thoughtless employers deal a crippling blow to office morale is by neglecting to recognise that need. Some will use their authority to take the credit for any victories while passing the blame of any defeats. It’s a defensive mechanism that many do without even noticing it. Remind yourself that as the head of the team, you are the one who stands the least to lose by taking responsibility, and the one with most to gain by giving the team the recognition it deserves.
Build a culture that cares
The admission of blame and passing of credit in part creates a culture that shows more concern for the surrounding individuals, as opposed to oneself. That culture can reflect in the actions of the employees, as well. But there are other ways you should make it clear that they are in a business that cares about them as people. For instance, take a closer look at the workplace they inhabit. Are you using commercial cleaners and supportive, comfortable furniture to create a workplace that is easier, more comfortable, and more welcoming? Do you organise any group get-togethers with the team to make it easier to forge bonds that give them more respect and thought for one another?
Find what they want
The most important part of a workplace culture is that it makes more than the appearance of caring about its people. It truly cares for them. As their employer, you likely have the greatest demands on the time of any of your employee’s. Instead of using that time solely to benefit you, make sure you’re allowing some benefit for them besides a paycheque. Turn a staff member into a team member by helping to develop them as people and giving them some personal space in the office. That can be physical space like a locker of their own, or a mental space, like engaging them directly during team meetings to hear their thoughts on issues at work that matter to them.
The happiness of an individual at work is a tricky thing. The points above are going to make a big difference, but if that source of unhappiness is outside the workplace, there is less you can do. Showing that you care, however, plays a big role in itself.