Are your employees engaged at work? According to the data: probably not. Despite organisations making a concerted effort to improve employee engagement, a recent study by Gallup found that nearly 85% of employees worldwide are still not engaged or are actively disengaged at work.
Workplace issues such as this, endanger the long-term viability of your organisation. But employee engagement isn’t the only issue. Every day, managers face problems relating to employee conflict, internal communication, work-life balance and more.
When left unresolved, your competitors will exploit these shortcomings, giving them a significant lead. In this article, you’ll learn how to quickly identify common workplace issues and resolve them before they develop.
Issue #1: Employees spend too much time behind their desks
We’ve all had moments when we feel like we’re living to work, rather than working to live. When an employee’s personal life give way entirely to work, they become unhappy and disengaged.
To maintain a satisfied workforce and a high standard of work, you need to create a positive work-life balance for your employees. This means giving them plenty of time outside the office to do things they enjoy, like attending family gatherings, spending time with the kids or celebrating a wedding anniversary.
A healthy work-life balance has many benefits, from reduced employee turnover to improved company culture. One study by CompareCamp, for example, found that 21% of workers with a good work-life balance tend to work harder.
How can you improve employee work-life balance?
Some employees revel in overtime, others abhor it.
As a manager, you can’t control what people do in their free time, but you can take responsibility for the workload and make moves to optimise work-life balance.
It’s worth noting that work-life balance should be managed on an individual level. Everyone’s different. Things like work ethic, stress threshold and attention span are unique to that person, so a one-size-fits-all approach to work-life balance won’t work.
Bearing that in mind, here are some ways you can improve work-life balance for your employees:
- Prioritise productivity over clocked hours
- Enable employees to manage schedules themselves
- Encourage regular breaks, especially for remote workers
- Review and redistribute workloads regularly
- Offer paid time off
- Escape the office with a team-bonding retreat
Issue #2: Employees don’t have the skills to excel at their roles
Employee autonomy and accountability are key pillars of job satisfaction, but asking employees to perform tasks they’re not prepared for can lead to frustration, high stress levels and even burnout.
If your employees haven’t received adequate training, be prepared to see low-quality results and long turnaround times.
In some cases, quality of work isn’t your biggest concern. In industries where employee safety is a concern, poor training could put their health at serious risk.
How can you give employees the skills they need?
If you want your employees to feel confident and succeed in their roles, you need to provide sufficient training options. Giving your workforce the skills they need to complete daily tasks boosts job satisfaction and reduces employee turnover rates.
As a manager, you should walk your employees through what's expected of them and teach them the necessary skills to excel.
Here are a few ways you can help your employees perform at work:
- Clearly state the required skills and expectations for the role when writing job descriptions
- Communicate with your employees and discuss what aspects of the job they’re struggling with
- Offer workshops and training sessions that address specific issues
- Provide a comprehensive onboarding programme
- Ensure employees understand the scope of their role and how to execute it
- Consider implementing a “buddy system” for new hires
- Encourage self-learning and development
- Cultivate a shared knowledge hub or company intranet
Issue #3: Employees don’t have the necessary tools or equipment
For your employees to feel confident and engaged in their role, you need to support them by investing in the necessary resources. Slow internet, faulty IT systems and outdated hardware can make it difficult for your staff to carry out their tasks, resulting in inefficiency and frustration.
Oversights regarding tools and equipment can have major consequences for your company culture, employee trust, quality of work and more. Cutting corners on equipment also demonstrates a lack of care and professionalism which might cause employees to seek employment elsewhere.
How can you provide employees with the necessary tools?
It’s up to you to ensure new hires hit the ground running and existing employees are provided with the necessary tools for the job. To do this, you must maintain open lines of communication to understand exactly what’s needed.
Here’s how you can help employees succeed with the right tools:
- Speak with your employees and find out what they need most to perform their roles
- Create a dedicated onboarding workflow that ensures new hires and provided with the necessary tools
- Assess and align your budget allocation according to the needs of your employees
- Maintain communication with your workforce and act on feedback
- Ensure WFH employees are supplied with essential equipment
Issue #4: Employees lack growth opportunities
Employee retention hinges on your ability to provide new opportunities for your workforce. When employees witness their peers “climbing the ladder,” it boosts engagement and inspires them to reach their full potential.
It’s a great way of demonstrating to your employees that you trust them and are willing to support their growth.
Failing to provide employees with clear avenues for growth can make them unmotivated and disengaged, resulting in poor quality work, weak company culture and high employee turnover rates.
How can you inspire your workforce with upward mobility?
As a manager, it’s your job to paint a bright future for your employees. Supporting your workforce with clear growth opportunities inspires them and helps your organisation uncover emerging talent.
Here’s what you need to do to realise the full potential of your employees:
- Create a structured and attainable career path
- Involve your employees in important decisions
- Identify and recognise emerging talent
- Encourage diversity and eliminate prejudice
- Offer mentorship programmes
- Provide training and leadership development programmes
- Advertise open positions internally
Issue #5: Dysfunctional communication channels
Communication is the lifeblood of your organisation. Essential information needs to be conveyed on an hourly basis to see the completion of daily processes.
But effective communication doesn’t mean lots of it. Optimising your communication involves streamlining the exchange of information so that it’s quick, efficient and intelligible.
Poor internal communication can lead to misunderstandings, reworking, bottlenecks in workflows and a lack of transparency between managers and employees. These issues can muddy daily processes and affect your bottom line.
How can you optimise communication channels?
Breakdowns in communication hold your company back. Fortunately, resolving communication problems can often be the solution to all kinds of internal issues including employee disagreements, low levels of engagement, slow turnaround times and more.
Here’s how you can improve your communication channels in the workplace:
- Create “personal user manuals,” in which employees explain their communication style and the channels they prefer
- Encourage open communication with dedicated Slack channels
- Host brainstorming sessions and hackathon events
- Enter meetings with clear intentions
- Create a culture that encourages creativity
- Set up 1-on-1 meetings
- Create in-person or online breakout spaces
Issue #6: Unresolved tension and employee conflict
In an attempt to diversify your team, you might find opposing personalities conflicting with one another. Conflict is regrettably, unavoidable, but you should make moves to resolve it as quickly as possible.
Small disagreements can quickly evolve into bullying or harassment so it’s important to nip conflict in the bud before it escalates.
How can you resolve employee conflict?
Regardless of how harmonious your team becomes, you’re always going to encounter conflict. What sets you apart from your competitors is your ability to acknowledge opposing views, find merit in both, and move forward with the idea that best serves your company’s long-term goals.
Here are the best ways to resolve conflict in the workplace:
- Improve communication skills with team-building activities
- Create a “safe space” for conflict to arise
- Don’t chase unanimous agreement
- Develop employee assistance programmes that give employees the support they need in and out of the workplace
Issue #7: Unmotivated or disengaged employees
Like work-life balance, what motivates employees is different for each person. Some could be inspired by a pay rise or bonus, whereas others might prioritise schedule flexibility or growth opportunities.
How can you motivate your employees?
To motivate your employees, you need to tap into what drives them on a personal level. Whether that be remuneration, acknowledgement of contributions or increased accountability, you need to find out exactly what inspires them at work.
Here’s how you can motivate your employees at work:
- Build a rapport with your employees and find out what makes them tick
- Send out anonymous surveys to obtain honest answers
- Develop a company culture that recognises and rewards achievements and significant contributions
- Offer unique perks or rewards
- Encourage transparency between the hierarchical levels of your organisation
- Involve employees in important decisions
- Provide attainable growth opportunities
- Implement employee wellness programmes
- Share positive feedback
Issue #8: Weak company culture
Last and certainly not least: company culture. Company culture is an abstract term that’s often difficult to pin down. When your business has a strong company culture, your team is rallied towards a unifying goal and your employees share similar values, and ambitions to that of your business.
Strong company culture can drive engagement, reduce absenteeism, attract new talent, increase productivity and boost job satisfaction.
How can you improve your company culture?
Your company culture is unique, it’s what makes you different to your competitors. Some organisations will state innovation as their guiding principle, while others will opt for a more customer-centric approach.
Regardless of the company culture you want to create, the goal is always the same: to align the ethics and aspirations of your workforce with those of your company.
Here are the best ways to build a strong company culture:
- Connect individual roles to a broader purpose
- Frequently recognise employee achievement both inside and outside the workplace
- Encourage company-wide transparency
- Involve employees in important decisions and innovation efforts
- Build strong employee relationships with a team-building retreat
- Inspire employee autonomy
- Provide employees with flexible schedules
- Communicate the company’s long-term goals
- Assert your core values through all parts of your company
- Encourage regular two-way feedback