Do You Have Whiny Workers?
Productively Deal with Them with These Four Tips
Every company has one… a whiner. I know because in a previous job, years ago, I was that whiner. It can happen in any company – from an office to service industry to retail and beyond. It is easy to manage if it is a legitimate complaint here or there, but if it is one employee who continuously expresses their grievances, it can truly be contagious and drag down the mood of your other employees. Sometimes they are doing it intentionally and sometimes they are not. I was not the “intentional whiner”. I was just not aware of how often I was verbalizing my frustrations about the company. Kevin Daum points out four tips for handling these types of employees in an article on www.inc.com
– “4 Ways to Productively Deal With Whiners”
The first is this, confront them. They might be like I was, and be completely oblivious of the impact they are having on their fellow co-workers. Call them in for a meeting, or (if it is appropriate) take them to lunch and discuss their actions. Directly explain how it is negatively affecting the environment at work. If you are not comfortable doing it in person, you can send an email or place a memo in their employee box, either way, it needs to be brought to their attention.
Secondly, as an employer you can attempt to resolve their complaints. They might be consistently whining because they have real complaints and feel that they are not being heard and that changes are not being made. You can help them take ownership of their problems by asking for them to come up with some solutions. You can also work with them to come up with a plan to resolve the situation. This may or may not stop the complaining.
The third option of how to handle a whiny worker is by removing them. The employee might just be truly unhappy and not fit in with the culture that you have set up for your company. As the supervisor, you will need to provide them with feedback and give them a specific period of time to make a change, if they do not meet that time period then you have legitimate reasons to let them go.
In the event that the employee has a necessary position in your company, and is too valuable to be lost, you can isolate them. Assess the nature of your business; is telecommuting, a private office, or satellite office an option? If not, how about a cubicle away from others? If your company is a team-like atmosphere then the problem may be unavoidable, other than again attempting idea number one and be very direct with them.
No one wants to spend a majority of their time at a job where there is constant negativity. Everyone has bad days, but there is no way that every day is a bad day. It’s your job as the boss to be aware of these grumblings, and stop them before they start. Once, you have multiple workers on the whiny side, it is a much bigger problem to deal with.