7 key things your employees are not telling you and probably should

Faye is a Clinical Psychologist (MA) and the Chief Science Officer at Wellics. She…

Corporate wellness and employee well-being have  been the talk of the town for a long time now. Leaders are spending billions of dollars a year on corporate wellness programs aiming at one great thing: keep their employees happy and their profits high. At the same time, GALLUP's report is compelling:

"Only 32% of full- and part-time employees are engaged and 17% are actively disengaged, into early 2022".  


 Are we missing something? Traditionally, great leaders are clear communicators; they listen, set the foundation of positive relationships and try their best to keep their teams committed. Still, research has found that many employees hesitate to share with their immediate manager their concerns. 

Here are 7 key things, your employee wants you to know but will not tell you. 

1. I have lost sleep over my finances 

A huge misconception is that people who work and receive a paycheck don't need to worry about money. That is a utopia. Research suggests that, if it weren't for financial concerns, the majority of employees would be more engaged and more productive at work. It's more common than we think; 49% (that is 1 out of 2) of employees who experience financial stressors spend 3-4 hours, each week, at work, thinking about their finances. This is not to tell you that everyone needs a raise. It is about having in mind that the next time you see a team member looking "puzzled" they may be thinking about something as significant as this.

2. I can not catch a break 

They need that break! They are hungry and grumpy and they need restful breaks during the day. They do not want to talk about business or numbers. They watch to catch their breath and many of them will not stop for one reason: they are afraid of looking lazy. If possible, they would tell you that they want to leave the building if they feel overwhelmed and take a walk because they started losing focus. Not convinced? Research shows that 42% of employees worry issues can arise if they are away from work! 

3. I really do not know how to do this 

Unless you have managed to perfectly match all candidates with their job description, many of your employees may feel that they lack the knowledge, skills, or tools to perform a task. They are been honest. Working in corporate wellness, I know this is very common with start-ups: a small group of people performing various tasks. Employees hate looking incompetent and to avoid that they are willing to sacrifice hours of work and their sleep to avoid telling you that they need help (or a mentor).  

4. I am not feeling very well and I want to go home 

Corporate wellness programs always highlight the importance of healthy eating, physical activity, and sleep yet there is more to that: People have many reasons not to feel well one day (or more): caregiving of a parent; going through grief; health problems; side-effects from medication; divorce or break-up; cumulative stress and the list is infinite. Unlike, when there is a clear physical complaint (broken leg), people are reluctant to ask for a day off "just because".  

5. Not another meeting 

Meetings are a great way to stay in touch with your team, but too many can lead to employee exhaustion and disengagement. The number of meetings in recent years has increased by 12,9% and the workday by 49 minutes. Employees have a lot on their plates, and they're probably not going to waste their time on yet another meeting with no clear purpose or agenda. Also, neurodivergent employees may find it difficult to express themselves during meetings; or, it may be hard for them to focus leaving them mentally "drained" during the day.

6. I do not think it is worth it 

They're not just moody.  Do they feel valued and appreciated? Are they happy in their current roles, or do they want to move on? Is there any friction within the team that's causing stress or making them unhappy at work? If a person does not experience any positive emotions at work then there is a high chance for them to start disengaging. It is the moment when you begin to notice subtle changes: they become more skeptical; they are there, doing the work yet avoid engaging in any initiatives or making no contributions.  

7. Uneven workload 

Discrimination is a hot potato in today's business world. Although unequal workload distribution may not result in a lawsuit, it can definitely add up to your teams' frustration and internal conflict. When the stakes are high most managers end up with the most tested approach: Assign the task to the one who never fails. Employees that feel that they are overloaded with work due to their potential in comparison to their colleagues, experience lower levels of motivation and, no surprise, are more likely to leave. People who can manage through the storm can manage elsewhere, as well.   

The ball is in your court: What would happen if they told you the truth? What would happen if you created an inclusive workplace where people felt comfortable sharing their needs and concerns? 

This was an article from Wellics Digest Team as featured at CEO Magazine.

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