11 Signs Of Unhappy Employees (And, How To Make Them Happy)

Last updated on October 18th, 2022 at 06:21 pm

Maybe your employee feels incompetent for the job or they are not treated fairly for their hard work and dedication at work.

Here are the signs of unhappy employees to spot the troublemaker for your team, department, and overall business.

Also, there are some tips and things to do to keep your employees satisfied and happy at work.


Why It’s Important To Find the Unhappy Employees?

Having well-appreciated and recognized employees makes it easier to solve your internal and external challenges. 

Whereas, an unhappy or disgruntled employee becomes challenging to handle anyway.

In running a business and growing your brand, you may overlook the improvement and fair treatment of your internal department.

Not to forget that, your employees are your company’s engine.

The more unhappy and disorganized your employees become, the more problems you have on your road to success.  

Ultimately, disgruntled employees have a negative impact on a company’s environment and performance – Not just one department or team.

Even worse, due to their unhappy and negative behavior, the company might lose its reputation and brand.

This is due to their unfair treatment of the clients as well as customers. 

An organization may suffer a lot in the long run if it has such internal unhappiness and a toxic working environment. 

To prevent this, it is crucial to identify such unhappy and disgruntled employees earlier as possible.

In this way, you can fix the situation before your employees become careless

To handle such unhappy employees, we’ll share our effective tips in this post.

But first, let’s look at the early warning signs you should look for.


11 Signs of Unhappy Employees

As an HR department and business owner, check whether your employees genuinely feel part of your business.

With the given list of signs, you can learn that an employee is unhappy and you should do something about it. 

1. That employee(s) start complaining about the same concern or person.

Initially, disgruntled employees will let you know what their problems are. 

An approach could either be direct or show disagreement or concern depending on the situation. Pay attention when they keep repeating their issues. 

If employees are not taken seriously and their problems are not resolved clearly, they may lash out at even the smallest issue.

When there’s a constant complaint about the same issue or someone, such are signs there’s a disgruntled employee in the team.

2. You always have to encourage them to work.

Working without passion or motivation is challenging. 

Well, there might be a lot of reasons why your employees are not happy and motivated to do their best. It could be personal or professional reasons. 

The passionate and active team players are naturally motivated to work harder, while the unmotivated team members always come up with excuses or ways to escape. 

It’s a clear sign of unhappy employees when you have to force them to do their job. 

Check other: 12 Signs of Lacking Communication Skills

3. The performance becomes unproductive and quality drops.

It could be the performance of your most productive team or your star employee. 

A team’s performance will not be the same when some of the team members are unhappy.

You notice that the overall productivity and quality of work have suddenly decreased. 

Working to the bare minimum, and delivering lower quality work than before, are signs that your employees are unhappy with whatever they’re provided.

4. You do not see any teamwork and enough contributions.

To make a professional team to work, the personal relationship is equally important. 

When either it’s a new employee or an old one, any employee can’t give enough participation to the team… actually, they’re not feeling like part of the team or have lost interest. 

You can easily spot such unhappy employees by the common sign, and the solution is to simply give them enough space to settle into the team and engage in more team activities.

Check other: 9 Signs You’ve Developed A Bad Reputation

5. Your employees constantly ask for raises and promotions.

Well, they feel undervalued at work or they might become too demanding, but they want it. 

A frequent request for salary increases and raises are signs that your employee does not feel motivated and are truly unhappy with their salary. 

If you haven’t revised their salary for a long time or updated it as per the market standards, your employees will leave your job for sure. 

Indeed, It’s always a wise idea to meet the logical demands of your staff.

6. Your employees’ body language is flat and boring. 

The way they behave and their body language tells if your employees are motivated or not. 

There is no doubt that good leaders motivate their teams to be the best they can be.

A frustrated manager is more likely to keep team morale down, due to not providing great support to the team. Because, they also can’t get it from their seniors, too.

A grumpy face, a confused expression, or a blank stare when you ask for advice or suggestions are signs that your star employee is unhappy at work.

7. There is always a delay in the work and project deadline.

 It’s okay to be late sometimes, but not every time.

You employees are always late, whether it’s to get to the office on time or to finish the work within the given time frame.

Additionally, even if the deadlines are extended for the period they asked for, they still can’t deliver quality work. 

Any irregularity in the way work is done, including coming late to work and leaving early, are clear signs that your employees are unhappy. 

Perhaps they are looking for another job and now waiting to leave. 

Check other: Signs You’re Not Ready For Leadership Role

8. Your employees withdraw from any critical decision-making.

Employees who are enthusiastic and committed to their roles are always ready for new challenges.

For them, it’s an opportunity to work on their skills and advance their knowledge. 

Whereas the unhappy employees who feel devalued at their jobs, prefer to avoid taking on any new responsibilities. 

The fact that your employees or, especially, your senior employees refuse to take on new challenges or responsibilities are signs your start employee is unhappy and feels undervalued at work.

9. Your employees contribute no value to office culture.

A team-building activity also plays a major role in forming a company culture, overall. 

Often, disgruntled employees isolate themselves to work alone, but never participate in company activities or anything related outside the workplace. 

It could be more than a private nature, it could be that employees aren’t interested in anything else but professional relationships. 

There is a possibility that something at this place isn’t suited for them, and they may be signs that your employees are unhappy at work, but keep themselves reserved to work alone.

Check other: 14 Signs Your Boss Is Testing Your Potentials

10. Negativity and toxic behavior become routine in the office.

It was once a workable and friendlier office environment. 

Recently, however, it has become so damaged with low productivity, as well as toxic and negative influences on the environment. 

Perhaps a disgruntled employee joins the organization or a senior or star employee develops negative emotions that result in a toxic work atmosphere. 

The majority of your time is spent trying to resolve internal conflicts between employees, and it is becoming more difficult to propose a solution. These are all signs of unhappy employees at work.

11. Your customer service is getting more negative reviews.

In the past few weeks, you’ve noticed an increase in negative feedback and complaints. 

All complaints are mostly related to customer service rather than about the product or service you offer.

Perhaps you have a disgruntled employee in your customer service department. 

Employees who feel unappreciated and unhappy at work will certainly perform poorly.

Such employees might give a negative review after leaving.

This damage your company’s reputation making new recruits to turn down a job offer without a second thought.

Particularly when it’s closely connected to customer interaction and client handling, you’re bound to get many negative reviews.

All of which are signs that there’s a gruntled employee on your team. 


What To Do When Your Employees Are Unhappy?

If If you see the above signs of an unhappy employee and that’s what you experience in your organization, it is your opportunity to improve the situation. 

And here are some tips and corrective things to do to manage your unhappy employees.

A. Find out what bothers them.

First, you just need to speak to them directly to determine why they are unhappy. That’s all.

Then, if it’s your whole team, you’d better schedule a one-on-one meeting to determine what’s causing the issue.

B. Make sure you appreciate and recognize them.

Especially for star employees, the salary increase is not enough for them.

It would be nice if they also received a role raise.

Recognize and thank your lead employees in front of all of your employees. This makes them feel appreciated and a part of the company.

Check other: 12 Signs Your Boss Likes You As An Employee

C. If they have a poor leader, do something.

A team cannot work harder if their leader does not know how to encourage them.

Your team manager or team leaders may be the reason why your team performs below average or a lot worse.

Monitor and correct the team leader’s performance and behavior regularly. 

D. Provide them support in maintaining a work-life balance.

You must understand that your employee has a life outside of work.

If your work leaves them unable to live after work, they’re more likely to feel drained at this job. A job like that kills the morale and inspiration for the work.

Give them space and free time to enjoy their lives and show you respect for their personal life. 

E. Create growth opportunities for them.

It is possible that your employees are bored and unmotivated after doing the same work for a long time.

You should give them fresh challenges and be flexible when working on the project.

This allows them to do something new and creative for change and growth. 

F. Employees should feel part of the company as a whole.

To make your employee feel appreciated, you need to show them that their contribution to the overall success of the company counts.

Keep them recognized and let them know that you’re happy that they are part of your team and company. 

Favoritism is something that you do not want to tolerate at your workplace to overcome any negative work culture. 

Check other: 13 Signs Your Colleague Feels Intimidated By You

G. Establish an open environment that is fair and unbiased for all.

Give them an environment in which they feel secure to address their problem effectively, free of pressure or favor.  

It is part of your leadership responsibility to handle a worker’s routines and logical demands.

It’s not a good idea to always expect something from them.

They’re going to give their best only if you know how to appreciate them for what they do for your business. 


Well, the signs of unhappy employees are clear but the reasons behind are not.

The reason could be an issue with their personal lives or something related to the workplace.

But the important thing is to learn about it before it’s too late.

Ultimately, it is your business that is going to suffer both internally and externally.