Aside from a lucrative business with 5-star reviews on Google, a business owner’s dream is to have happy employees. Preferably ones that don’t cause a problem at the office. Unfortunately, a dream is just a dream, and that’s not always how it works out. You might think that disgruntled employees are uncommon since only the extreme situations make headlines, however if you have an employee who huffs and puffs their way around the office, you have still have a disgruntled employee on your hands, just on a smaller scale.
The easiest way for your business to avoid the headlines due to a “disgruntled employee turned workplace violence situation” is to ensure that your business is being proactive. By recognizing the signs of a disgruntled employee, you will be able to quickly and efficiently respond and hopefully mitigate additional issues.
What are the Signs of a Disgruntled Employee?
It’s difficult to tell the difference between an employee who isn’t exactly jumping for joy at the opportunity to come to work on a daily basis and a disgruntled employee. Learning how to tell the difference crucial if you want to avoid those extreme situations I mentioned earlier. Here are a few signs that an employee might be a liability to the company:
- If an employee has a history of violence at, or outside of work
- An excessive amount of absences
- Strained workplace relationships
- Verbal abuse, threats or outbursts directed at coworkers
- A fascination in weapons such as firearms, bombs or knives or violent acts
- Overreacting and resistance to change
- Excessive complaining about the job, management or other coworkers that seems angry
- Mood swings and isolating themselves from others
- Making comments about suicide or other acts of violence
- If an employee is having issues in their personal life, this can also be a sign that something is going on that needs to be addressed. These include financial issues and relationship issues.
Some of these may also be signs of larger issues. Download Preparis’ Mental Illness in the Workplace checklist to learn more about how to ensure the mental health of your employees.
I’ve Identified a Disgruntled Employee at My Business, Now What?
Identifying that you have a disgruntled employee at your business is only half of the battle. Now that you have identified that one of your employees is displaying signs of being disgruntled, it’s imperative that you address the situation in an appropriate manner. Here are tips on how to handle a disgruntled employee at your business:
- Act quickly – When it comes to disgruntled employees, there is no time to wait around and ponder whether or not you should confront the behavior. As a business owner or manager, it is your responsibility to identify and address any issues at your business. If the behavior warrants termination, you also need to terminate quickly. Have everything organized so that the employee has no reason to return to the premise. A clean break is always best.
- Approach the situation with empathy – You never know what is going on in someone else’s head or life. When you approach a disgruntled employee, make sure that you are approaching them with compassion and empathy. Listening goes a long way. Hear them out so you have the full story.
- Be stern – Make sure that the employee knows that the behavior that warranted the conversation will not be tolerated in the workplace. Be ready to discuss all aspects of the situation and clearly communicate any repercussions if the behavior continues.
- Document the Behavior – Keep official documentation of the behavior, conversation and disciplinary actions. If there is another issue with this employee going forward, it is important that you have documented proof that you have covered all of your bases.
- Keep it confidential – Only discuss the situation with other members of management and those directly involved. For no reason should anyone else know about the situation.
However, sometimes despite your best efforts, a situation cannot be mitigated. If that happens, you need to ensure that your business has an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) in place. Within your EAP, you should have workplace violence training to ensure that all employees are on the same page when it comes to handling a violent situation.
Learn how Preparis can help you protect your business during a workplace violence situation.
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