How To Combat Grumpy Stayers In The Workplace

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A new work trend is sweeping the nation and it can seriously put a damper on your team. We call these people, “Grumpy Stayers” or people who can’t leave their job for a better gig but showcase a persistent displeasure towards their job. Signs of ‘Grumpy Staying’ include chronic complaining, negative attitude, lack of engagement, resistance to change, absenteeism, and showing little-to-no interest in personal growth or development.  

Individuals showcasing these behaviors can potentially influence the morale and workplace atmosphere, however; it is easier to mitigate than you think! It all boils down to communication.

Tips On How To Engage And Support Grumpy Stayers

Here are several tips from Andres Lares, Managing Partner at Shapiro Negotiations Institute and expert negotiator and communicator on how to engage and support Grumpy Stayers:

Get To The Root Of The Problem

Understanding the causes of Grumpy Staying will help your organization tremendously, as it may reveal an underlying issue. Common causes include job dissatisfaction, toxic work environments, lack of work-life balance, poor management and leadership, and limited opportunities for growth and development. 

Does your team take advantage of mid-year and annual reviews? This is a great way to check in with your team, discuss their progress, and review their performance so they know where they stand. Give the opportunity for a 360 review where employees have the opportunity to review leadership as well so you are aware of employee sentiment.

Listen To Your Employees

Employees now expect so much more from their place of work. While salary and work-life balance are the most important to job seekers in today’s labor market, a recent survey by Muse found 59% of respondents look for learning and growth opportunities as well as office culture and colleagues’ likability. Revaluate your team’s communication practices as communication is key.

Does your team have check-ins with one another? Does the manager hold weekly meetings on an ongoing basis? Consider implementing consistent meetings and discussions to keep your team informed and engaged. It is best to encourage open and honest communication with your employees. Create a safe space for them to express their concerns and frustrations. Also, encourage your team to take breaks and use vacation time to alleviate and manage stress effectively.

Provide Opportunities For Engagement

Implement the necessary tools, resources, and support to help them effectively perform their jobs. Consider offering professional development opportunities such as a mentoring or training program. Engaging stuck employees in meaningful work can help rekindle their enthusiasm and motivation.

Build Rapport

Does your communication extend beyond work or is it purely business? Do you know how your employees are doing as people? Do they feel supported?It is common for managers and teammates to be afraid to ask personal questions. Certainly, it is important to give people privacy but it’s also important to remember you hire the whole person.

Ask About Management Styles

Consider having your team fill out (or share with you over a call) a document about their preferred work language. Do they thrive with support or do they prefer a hands-off approach from management? Do they prefer communication via email or phone or teams meetings? What motivates them? T hese are questions you can ask people and they’ll tell you how they’d prefer to be treated… it’s up to you to follow it!


About the Author

Andres Lares is the Managing Partner at Shapiro Negotiations Institute and co-author of Persuade: The 4-Step Process to Influence People and DecisionsLares’ expertise ranges from coaching live negotiations for sports clients including Cleveland Browns, Brooklyn Nets, and more, to developing online content for facilitating programs in real estate, advisory, media, banking, and pharmaceuticals.