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Disgruntled employees

in your interestUnresolved issues between employees and their employer or management often contributes to a depressed work environment. Generally speaking, workers become disgruntled as a result of the actions of employers or management.

It is usually the lack of a response to the demands of the employee, or a level of unreasonableness shown by the employer or management to work-related concerns that, in many an instance, creates further tension and drives the divide between the two sides.

These polarized positions and the sometimes insensitivity of management help to exacerbate the problem. The unwillingness of management to engage in dialogue and to listen to the concerns of the workers, does very little to reduce the hostility which emerges.

It is important, therefore, that employers, management and workers pay attention to engaging in effective communication in their relationship. If this were to be followed, the extent to which workers become increasingly restless, impatient, uncomfortable and weary with their employer and/or management, would be significantly reduced.

It is understandable that management would be concerned with what has given rise to making employees disgruntled. If in their thinking this is important, then this creates the basis for prompt action on their part to address whatever the concern(s) may be.

Having first identified the problem, it is then that both proactive and decisive leadership kicks in as management moves to address the problem of the workers. It would be detrimental to the employer and management if they were to leave matters unattended, in the hope that they will somehow work themselves out.

The situation can deteriorate to a point where management attempts to use its powers to influence, intimidate or cajole the workers to fall in line and reduce their demands, or to take comfort in a promise that the matter(s) will be addressed in due course.

In an unstable work environment, employers and/or management ought to be sensitive to the impact that this can have on their business. Size or reputation does not always matter when it comes to customer expectations and satisfaction. Customers can quickly be turned off by poor service from disgruntled workers.

Mike Michalowicz, the author of Profit First, provided a reminder that “Unhappy employees can turn customers off and create a negative working environment.” Far too often, there is a tendency to overlook the impact of the fall-out from a strained relationship between an employer and employees until the workers threaten some form of industrial action, especially a strike.

It must be reemphasized and reiterated that to be proactive, willing to engage in dialogue, to listen, to be reasonable and to compromise can make the world of difference in easing existing tension. Dictatorial behavior and the application of the big stick policy will only prove to incite a thirst response from already incensed employees.

There is good reason to believe that none of this is lost upon employers and management personnel, whom it is felt are quite aware that it is in the best interest of the enterprise to have a productive and satisfied group of employees. It is a fact that job dissatisfaction ranks high amongst those things which contribute to employees becoming disgruntled.

This is often sparked by the lack of engagement and empowerment of employees. Too often employers and management fail to consult or communicate with employees. The taking of employees for granted can be seriously injurious to the employer–employee relationship.

Concerns about honesty and calling into question the integrity of employers/ management is amongst shortcomings that can fuel or sour the employer- employee relationship. Where the latter breaches established or agreed procedures, or fail to follow the law, this can create tensions amongst employees. A case in point is that of unfair or wrongful dismissal which can lead to an unpleasant, unproductive and charged workplace environment.

It is to be understood that along with these factors, underpayment of workers, poor management and micromanagement are other key contributors to creating a disgruntled group of employees. Where any of these issues prevails, it means that management has clearly failed to motivate, inspire and to build confidence amongst its workers.


(Dennis DePeiza is a labour management consultant. Send comments to:

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