What Happens When Employees Feel Devalued?
Nothing good happens when employee morale is low and staff members do not feel like they are important or make significant contributions to a business. Some of the top problems caused by unhappy, angry employees include:
1. Unscheduled absenteeism and lower productivity: Over 60 percent of unhappy, unfulfilled employees take more sick days and miss more work, according to a survey by CCH entitled "Unscheduled Absence Survey," which cited low employee morale as the driving force behind unscheduled absences. Most employees who call off for work are dealing with personal or family problems versus being sick. Unscheduled absences are costly according to a survey that showed the following: "Gallup statistics show that unhappy workers cost the American business economy up to $350 billion annually in lost productivity!"
2. Poor customer relations: When employees become disgruntled with a company, they do not respond as quickly or as appropriately to customer problems and complaints. In some cases, they may even vent to the customer about their dissatisfaction with company policies or management issues. This can result in the loss of business or alienate clients.
3. Toxic work environment: "Misery loves company" according to the old adage, and if you've ever had the misfortune of having to work alongside a hostile, bitter colleague, I'm sure you would agree. When an individual becomes disenchanted with an employer for whatever reasons—valid or invalid—he or she creates a toxic, uncomfortable atmosphere and typically disrupts the corporate culture in a variety of ways. Some of these individuals can be very passive/aggressive in their actions, while others become vocal and hostile. Either way, they are not pleasant work companions for anyone.
4. Higher attrition rates: Low employee morale coupled with a feeling of being devalued and unimportant causes most individuals to look for a new job. Whether the root cause of their job satisfaction is a concrete one such as poor management, a mismatch of their skills versus their job position, poor communication or a perceived issue, the bottom line is a loss for both the company and the employee. The business owner must invest time and resources in recruiting and training a new employee, while the former employee loses seniority and job security.
While there are many more issues that are caused when employees feel neglected and undervalued—they may sabotage or impede a project's progress, for example—most of these problems can be avoided easily. To keep any relationship, whether business or personal, strong and healthy, it's important to make the other person feel needed and vital to the relationship. In other words, the courtship and honeymoon phase should never end.