Here’s How Negative Employee Emotions Impact Organisational Processes

You’re probably aware of the benefits of a highly-engaged workforce: improved productivity and performance, reduced absenteeism and staff turnover, a better workplace culture, increased profit and more. 

But do you understand how employee feelings and emotions impact organisational processes? 

It’s truly fascinating to see how your people’s feelings about their job and organisation can impact almost every area of your business, and even more fascinating to think that most businesses are unconcerned about how their workforce feels. 

What we know for certain is that feelings drive behaviour. If your workforce feels unhappy and dissatisfied, their behaviour will follow the same negative trajectory and hinder success on every front.

Here are 4 Ways Negative Employee Emotions Impact Organisational Processes

Lean processes rely on engaged employees

Organisations in sectors such as manufacturing for example, seek out ways to improve their manufacturing processes. Lean manufacturing, designed by Toyota, is the most sought-after method because it enhances production, performance and profit, which is why many large corporations strive to implement and maintain Lean manufacturing. However, lean process initiatives fail without a highly-engaged workforce. 

Around 10 years ago Boeing found this to be true. They were in the process of improving areas of their manufacturing process and implemented the ‘Lean’ approach, only to find it wasn’t working. They discovered their people were not ‘emotionally’ prepared to manage and maintain the Lean initiative: they were disengaged and employee satisfaction was low. 

They said “people, not just processes, create lean value.” 

“Successful Lean implementation requires a culture of engaged and empowered individuals who use the scientific method to design, experiment, and continually improve their work. Although Lean must be supported by leadership to be effective, everyone has to engage in it.” said lean expert, Bob Martin.

After resolving their people-centric issues and improving engagement, wellbeing and performance, Boeing saw a 40% increase in employee satisfaction and a significant advancement in their Lean-processes.

This proves that to achieve operational and financial performance, improving engagement is crucial.

Employee feelings impact the customer’s experience 

As you know, unhappy employees (those with low job satisfaction and wellbeing; who are disengaged, feel undervalued and acknowledged etc) will not feel motivated to perform and deliver. They’ll often do only what’s required of them – never going the extra mile or demonstrating enthusiasm. Now think of the unhappy employees who have direct relations with the customer. Do you think the customer’s experiences will be positive or negative? Of course they’ll either be negative, or at the most, satisfactory. The customer that deals with an unhappy employee is more likely to feel undervalued and may even be treated unfavourably, and therefore likely to take their business elsewhere.

Unhappy employees risk causing errors, blocking workflow and missing deadlines

Half-heartedness is often the main cause of work-related errors. Unhappy employees are typically half-hearted in their approach to work: they’ll more often than not try to ‘cut corners’ and deviate from usual processes, because they feel unmotivated and are less willing to carry out tasks to the best of their ability. Employees who feel undervalued in particular, are known to work in this way. Frequent errors can cause a blockage in workflow, impact entire teams and threaten deadlines. One unhappy individual can cause an entire team to underperform.

Teams are only as strong as their weakest link

It’s unfortunate, but it takes just one weak individual to drag down an entire team. While many factors can impact team performance, an unhappy employee who’s disengaged and unmotivated can drastically impact a team’s performance and their culture. If one individual is unhappy, it’s possible for them to make the rest of their team members feel the same way – whether it be done purposefully or inadvertently. As the saying goes ‘misery loves company’ – many unhappy employees are known to express their feelings for the purpose of getting those around them to feel the same way. In other cases, the underperformance and disappointments created by unhappy employees can turn happy employees to unmotivated, unhappy ones. It’s a vicious cycle, which is why you need to detect an employees level of engagement and satisfaction, and address areas of weakness immediately.

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