No business can work without a functioning team at its core, and the most successful businesses thrive on group co-operation and the individual enthusiasm of their employees. When you’ve put together your dream squad and things seem to be running smoothly, it’s easy to fall into the trap of taking employees for granted – but people are complicated, and if you want to hold onto your most valuable players it is essential to remain sensitive to the clues they leave about their satisfaction with the job.
Stagnant career prospects or, more fundamentally, a stunted wage curve can soon prompt an employee to question whether their future might look rosier at a rival firm. Overwork, unchallenging work, or work that isolates an employee from the team can be equally unsettling. Observing the work patterns of your employees can reveal an unstable situation that presents itself as a chicken-or-egg scenario: are they underperforming because they plan to leave, or are they planning to leave because the work isn’t bringing out the best in them?
In most cases, speaking openly to an employee you suspect to be unhappy is the best course of action. If they are considering a move to a different company, find out what that firm is offering and decide whether you can beat it. If they’re disengaged, clock-watching or delegating responsibilities to other workers, try to find out why they’ve lost heart – and work together to find a new challenge or work pattern to get them back in the zone, before it’s too late and their resignation notice is on your desk.
In the case of an employee who’s grown lazy or repeatedly misses deadlines, chances are they’re on their way out but you may not feel inclined to fight for them. That ambitious underling whose LinkedIn profile is a hive of activity, on the other hand, is probably worth holding on to. This infographic breaks down just how you can identify one malcontent from another, and what to do if you want to keep them at the heart of your dream team.