If employee retention and productivity is down, maybe it’s you and not them.

(Adapted from salary.com)

True or false? As long as your team members get their work done, it doesn’t matter whether they count you as their bosom buddy or  think you are the greatest supervisor ever, right?


Studies have shown a direct correlation between a happy workforce and high productivity. If your staff members like their jobs and feel liked and respected by their supervisor, they are more likely to feel committed to their work.

The reverse is true as well: employees who don’t enjoy what they do and who don’t feel valued and liked (or like their boss) are more likely to feel disenchanted with their jobs and leave. That turnover translates into more cost for the company and more headaches for you.

So, how do you know when your employees might hate you? Here are seven compelling hints:

  1. They avoid running into you at all costs. Whether they’re always finding excuses to skip your meetings or crossing to the other side of a busy street when they see you approaching, these are indicators of a distinct problem.
  2. They don’t volunteer to help. Employees who enjoy their jobs are more likely to offer assistance when they don’t have to, if only to impress the boss.
  3. They’re out the door at 5. The minute hand hasn’t even reached 5:01 p.m. before they’ve vacated the room. That report Tom has been working on for an hour seems to have written itself in the last five minutes, and is on your desk at 4:58. If employees don’t like the atmosphere, they won’t waste time in vacating it.
  4. They are fidgety in your presence and their self-confidence seems to have plummeted. They are making more mistakes and don’t seem willing to tell you.
  5. The small talk stays awkwardly small. They keep their distance when, before, they used to shoot the breeze with you about their weekend or at least the weather. When even cursory information is no longer volunteered, that’s a red flag.
  6. They call in sick a lot. They seem indifferent to whether they’re going to be running out of sick time and in fact, there seems to be in an all-out competition in the department to see who can drain the bank first.
  7. The resignation notices are stacking up. No sooner than Tammy gives her resignation, Amy’s is quick to follow. And the resignations allow for only the minimum amount of notice. If an employee doesn’t respect or like you, he is less likely to extend common courtesies, such as giving adequate notice or considering the impact of a vacant desk.

What can you do about this? Spotting the signs of an unhappy workforce is the first step to resolving interpersonal problems and in many cases, to improving department productivity. Next, get some feedback from someone you trust – your own supervisor, a colleague, or someone on your team. It may be time for a new strategy.