Unhappy workers staying on the job – Is this good or bad?

My name is Laura Rose (LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info), Business and Life Coach specializing in time management, project management and work life balance strategies. As a business coach, I recently received the following question:

Unhappy workers staying on the job – Is this good or bad?
What does this mean for employers and HR managers? On the
other hand, is it really a benefit to a company to have a
majority of employees staying put but maybe not staying engaged
or productive?



This topic can get very tangled very quickly — when you put the responsibility of “employee happiness” on anyone other than the employee.

HR and employers should continuously stay focused on the business/company goals and vision. If the company goals and vision include “happy workers” — then HR and employers should focus on continually making the environment “happy” for the workers. If the company goals is to be productive, then HR and employers should have appropriate recognition programs for those that exceed those productivity success criteria, appropriate consequences for not meeting the criteria, and metrics/reviews to distinguish between the two.


To keep it simple, let’s say that the company vision, mission and goal is to be productive by providing quality products and service. Then the employers and HR primary focus should be to evaluate productivity and the quality of product and service. This is very easily done by putting clear business goals, company vision and success criteria for each department and team. This also entails identifying clear metrics, thresholds and reviews that will clearly articulate to the employee how they are doing against those productivity and success criteria. This also includes clear directives and explanations of consequences for not meeting those success criteria – as well as recognition and rewards for exceeding those criteria.


Celebrations should be based on performance. Perks and work environments should be directly tied to forecast productivity gains (and if the changes do not produce the expected gains then it should change again).  Although somewhat intangible, morale concerns can also be tied to performance.  Removing a ‘bad apple’ does just as much for morale as a company picnic.


When employees are consistently not meeting the job expectations, the employee, employer and HR collaborate on a performance improvement plans and retraining (which includes positive changes in the work environment to support the shared productivity goals, and milestones for improvement). If the PIP criteria is not met within the appropriate probation period, then corrective action is taken.
If a company is consistently harboring unproductive workers, then HR and employers are not effective in their roles. Therefore, they should be under review, PIP or re-training. Consistent unproductive workers (employees consistently not meeting the performance criteria for their role and responsibility) simply means that the job role and employee’s talents/desires do not match.


There’s a match somewhere…but just not here.
Take a deep breath and relax….everything is unfolding perfectly.


2 thoughts on “Unhappy workers staying on the job – Is this good or bad?”

  1. You make very good points.
    I was in simaler situation, did like my job, didn’t want to be there either.
    I the company’s mission statement to the employee’s was “to provide a work life ballance” what? just a statement, you worked 10-12 hour days, you checked your email and worked from home and while you were on vacation if you got one.

    You worked for the compamy and when they seen you are unhappy they let you go.
    You got to love California “AT WILL” employment, companies don’t need to provide a reason to let you go!

    Oh well, unemployment is all that bad.

    1. User Avatar

      Hey, Thomas;
      Unfortunately, your experience is somewhat common. You are not alone.
      Companies, much like a blind waiter, will continue to pour things into your cup until you say “Stop” or “When”. But must employees are afraid to say “when” and take responsibility and ownership for their own work-schedule. Companies — unfortunately — isn’t in the business to run your life or keep your work-life balanced. You are. But you can use their mission and vision statement to support your individual work-life balance goals. But you really have to steer your own ship in that regards. The company isn’t going to do that for you.
      I have a continuous on-line coaching series that helps with these things.
      I also have 10 career development tools that assists you in taking more control of your work schedule without fear of loosing your job.

      If you are interested in some of these tools, videos, workbooks, please contact me directly at LauraRose@RoseCoaching.info or visit my website at http://www.lauraleerose.com

      Thanks, again, Thomas for writing.

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