Common Areas of Improvement for Employees at Work
Sure, every workplace is different. But when it comes to workers, well, we’re all human. That means many times employees share the same general areas for improvement across industries, companies, and teams. If you can identify, anticipate, and mitigate these behaviors, you’re already a step ahead. Paying careful attention here helps create a culture of improvement and a space where employees feel seen and supported. In this post, we’ll highlight some of the most common areas of improvement for employees at work and offer tips to help you empower employees to improve.
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Communication always comes out on top as an area for improvement among employees. Between constant emails, texts, and instant messages, what we’re trying to say can get easily misconstrued or lost in translation. Plus, we’ve all got our own unique ways of getting our point across. Clear communication starts with employees who deeply understand their own communication style, and then working to understand that of others. The more we can approach our conversations from a place of clarity and understanding, the more likely we are to respect one another and work collaboratively.
Listening goes hand in hand with communication. Often times in conversations, people only hear what they want to hear. This results in miscommunication, wasted time and effort, and ultimately frustration. Encourage employees to really listen to one another, and instill this skill with effective listening skills training. Underscoring the importance of this skill helps improve all-around communication, collaboration and morale, creating a workplace where people feel heard and valued.
Working together is another challenging skill, especially now that teams can be located across geographies and time zones. One of the most important parts of collaboration is instilling a sense of responsibility within each team member. Often times with teamwork, responsibility and stress falls to the one or two people who take charge. But when everyone feels personally responsible for the success of the project, they’re more likely to work hard and work together. Positive teamwork skills come from having a strong sense of empathy with and respect for colleagues as well as a deep understanding of one’s own strengths and roles within the team.
Consider HRDQ team building training materials to help employees understand how to work collaboratively with success. Our personality style training materials can help to give employees a deeper sense of their own skills and what they can bring to the table in a team setting as well.
Accountability in the workplace isn’t just vital for effective teamwork as mentioned earlier—it’s also crucial for individual employee success. When employees feel directly responsible for the work they’re doing, they approach it with more purpose, meaning and fervor. Make sure that employees understand why they’re doing the projects they’re doing, and ensure middle management conveys this importance regularly.
Effectively utilizing time can be another key area of improvement for employees. Managing that weakness is especially challenging, knowing that everyone is productive in different ways. Some people like to carefully plan out every step of a project, while others prefer to save everything to the last minute and work at a frantic pace.
Instilling a sense of time management helps to make for a calmer, more methodical workplace. Consider creating standardized project templates and time management best practices, or make prioritization and deadline-orientation a part of regular performance assessments. The more you can help lay the foundation for a culture of timely work, the more likely that foundation is to support employees and create this environment.
Organization is a common area of weakness across employees that often goes hand in hand with time management. As with many of the skills on this list, there is similarly no “one-size-fits-all” approach for addressing it. Different techniques work for different people, but the bottom line is that employees who have a firm grasp of their work, a clear sense of deadlines, and an ability to prioritize accordingly are also more productive, efficient and successful. Make sure employees feel supported in their organizational methods, and be sure to provide frequent trainings on any platforms you’re using to keep employees on track—e.g. project management software, internal systems, etc.
No matter what industry your employees work in, customer service is undoubtedly part of the gig. “Customers” in this setting are essentially anyone your department, team or organization is providing a service for—including other businesses, clients, and even internal stakeholders.
If you’re in a customer service industry, chances are you’ve already given your frontline customer service reps intensive training on the subject. However, to develop a culture of customer service, regardless of your industry, it’s important to engage employees at ALL levels. When we’re all treating one another with empathy and respect, we’re more likely to listen, understand and put our best work out there.
A lot of these areas for improvement boil down to having a general sense of self-awareness—of knowing how you operate in the workplace, how you work with others, how you respond to stress, etc. Empowering employees to really understand themselves helps cultivate a workplace of empathy, where employees know themselves and understand how to treat one another.
Laying foundations for fundamental competencies helps to equip your employees for success in their jobs, improve general workplace culture, and positively impact your bottom line. Ultimately, people need empathy, respect, and kindness in order to do their best work. The more you can facilitate that through active conversation and training, the more likely you are to see skills and productivity increase.
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