Checklist - Are your employees at the end of their rope?

Checklist - Are your employees at the end of their rope?

Have any of your employees become disconnected or less productive than usual? 

If so, it might be a sign that they’re at the end of their rope. And frustrated employees are unhappy employees — which isn’t good for productivity or workplace morale. But what are some of their top frustrations — and what can you do about the situation? 

Frustration checklist
Employees aren’t likely to tell you they’re frustrated — unless you ask them directly. Nevertheless, there are several clear signs that can indicate they’re unhappy or unfulfilled, according to Ben Brearley in the article “Dealing with frustrated employees” for Medium: 

  • Increased cynicism: The employee starts to challenge the usefulness of processes, methods and meetings.

  • Emotional outbursts: Although the employee will try to remain calm, sooner or later, he or she is likely to become angry, upset or otherwise emotional. 

  • Diminished input: A once motivated and proactive employee can become more withdrawn and offer less input. 

  • Decreased productivity: A frustrated employee can have trouble focusing or even spend a lot of time venting his or her feelings to others. 

Frustrated employees may also develop problems with coworkers and withdraw from social interactions in the workplace.  

Top frustrations
Although exactly what frustrates employees can differ from person to person, there are some common sources of frustration: 

  • A heavy workload: According to the article “The Hidden Demons of High Achievers” in Harvard Business Review, many top performers become frustrated when they have a heavy workload and not enough time to do everything.

  • Ineffective or inefficient processes: Processes that don’t yield the desired results or that take too much time can annoy employees, especially if their suggestions to improve things go unheard. 

  • Slow or no career progression: Momentum seekers want to advance — and they’re prepared to work for that advancement. However, oftentimes, the organization doesn’t move as quickly as they’d like. Additionally, there can be competition for certain opportunities, which can result in employees being passed over in favor of other candidates.

  • A perceived lack of support: Sometimes, a high achiever can feel he or she is not being backed up by the manager or is working much harder than the rest of the team.

  • A lack of recognition: Employees who feel that their contributions aren’t being acknowledged and their achievements aren’t being recognized can become highly frustrated.

What you can do
If you think one of your employees is reaching the end of his or her rope, set up a time to have a conversation with him or her to determine the source of the frustration. Then discuss what would be an acceptable and realistic solution and put together a plan to work towards that solution. Remember to check in periodically to measure progress and find out how the employee is doing. 

Act quickly and decisively
Don’t let one employee’s frustration affect the morale and productivity of your entire team. Instead, act quickly and decisively to address the issue. By doing so, you’ll help your employee overcome an important roadblock while simultaneously demonstrating your leadership abilities.