Problems at the workplace, as in life, are inevitable. But, the solutions are often, not too easy to find. Understanding a problem in the workplace is very important in order to solve it. So, let us get down to business, and start understanding the problem and solving it!
A displeasing environment at your workplace is a cause of major stress and unhappiness for employees. Added to that, the thought of Monday creeping closer after the weekend only adds to the displeasure, and there is nothing that gives employees a chance to be happy about. Imagine what inspiration they would draw to continue working in the same workplace. Hence, understanding some common issues and setting them right can improve the atmosphere at the workplace.
Many people feel that the problems are one-sided or of one single type. That is not the case. The problems are mostly bigger than what they may seem. However, they have to be dealt with, with tact and understanding. Here are a few examples of workplace problems and their suggested solutions.
Issue 1: PEOPLE FAIL TO MEET TARGETS CONTINUALLY
One of the first problems occurring in the workplace could be with people who fail to give the expected performance, repeatedly. It can be a major problem, because one person not achieving the target, can put pressure on the other team members as well. More so, it can, at times, render the other team member’s work useless, if you know what I mean.
»Make sure that the target is mutually agreed upon. If a target is forced upon an employee, it is only understandable if they don’t achieve it.
»Have regular milestone checks done. This is really good to avoid any kind of procrastination on the part of the employee. You can also couple that with feedback. This ensures that the employee gets all the required support during the project.
»Make sure that all the employees are aware of the performance bonuses. Give them gifts, recognition lunches, etc., for achieving their targets.
»If a person fails to achieve the target, you can implement these penalties for the same. You can:
- Make working over time mandatory till the work is completed
- Cut back on incentives
- Display (on the noticeboard) the names of those who don’t achieve their targets, etc.
These will serve as an example for employees to make sure that they refrain from repeating such behavior. These solutions are the same for every hierarchical level. No matter which strata of the hierarchy the employee fits in, the rules need to be the same for all.
Issue 2: UNIMPORTANT MEETINGS; LENGTHY AND INSIGNIFICANT DISCUSSIONS
Meetings are important no doubt. However, calling a meeting for discussing small matters can prove to be a waste of valuable resources and time. Hence, make sure that you plan out a meeting properly.
»Make sure that you make it a practice in the workplace for everyone to know that meetings only need to be held for important matters. If possible, two to three matters can be dealt within one meeting.
»Keep timings for the meetings fixed. Like, make sure that the meeting starts on time and ends on time as well. However, there are times when certain matters cause the meeting to elongate. That being an occasional event, can be allowed.
»Make sure there are meeting runners, not takers, minute keepers etc., and other such job roles assigned to people. This will help streamline the meeting.
»Call only required people for the meeting. Make sure that only people who are associated with the points discussed in the meeting, attend it. The others can receive updates of the meeting with the help of internal workplace communication.
»Make sure that there are monthly off-site meetings organized. This helps discuss major matters in these meetings. More so, there is more time at hand, in the off-site meetings, as compared to in-house ones.
Issue 3: PEOPLE MISUSE THE TERM “AUTHORITY”
Another major problem in the workplace pertains to people not having the required authority to take decisions. This is common at the workplace wherein individuals are power struck and don’t believe in delegation of authority.
»Make sure that everyone has written acknowledgment for their respective responsibilities and authorities. Another thing to ensure is that if someone is responsible for a certain project or a task, one needs to have certain amount of authority for the same, as well.
»Make sure that there are clear-cut defined boundaries. People should not override others who are responsible.
»Make sure there is an agreement about the authority and responsibility; for example, when you are planning to promote a certain employee to a leadership position and give him authority over the team. Discuss it with the rest of the team, to ensure that it is agreed upon. Get all agreements in writing.
»Authorities and responsibilities need to be discussed and defined in writing. It is also always better to announce it in front of other employees, to avoid discrepancies.
Issue 4: INCOMPETENCE IN THE WORKPLACE
Inability to work well by some employees has always been an issue at every workplace. As these employees don’t do their work properly, there is always a need to supervise or look into their work a second time, which can be quite time-consuming in crunch situations. So, how do we deal with such incompetent employees?
»One thing that you need to acknowledge is that the problem is, sometimes, not about incompetence but that of overload of work, lack of motivation at work or other motivational problems, etc. So, be nice to the person and repeat your request in a calm manner. Losing your temper and lashing at them is not going to make them perform any better. However, being nice might motivate them to do their work in the right way.
»Proper training is the key to getting better performance. Remember that every employee needs company-specific training in the least. So, try to find out what’s the problem that’s causing the incompetence. Once you have singled it out, you can solve it.
»This problem needs a lot of tact and patience to solve. However, make sure that you try to judge a person’s competence even before you hire him/her. This ensures lesser problems at work.
Issue 5: TOO MUCH WORK TO DO, TOO LITTLE TIME IN HAND
This is another common occurrence at workplaces, but it should be dealt with and managed well, otherwise it will affect the quality of work. What is the point in completing the work targets, when it has got several mistakes in them. This problem calls for systematic planning and division of work.
»Make a list of the tasks and prioritize the work. Delegate the work in accordance with that.
»Make sure that the daily interruptions are in control. It is best if you avoid it from affecting the work.
»Be sure that there is a clear-cut schedule for the work prepared. More importantly, make sure that everyone sticks to the schedule.
»Keep certain fixed times for meetings. Random and sudden meetings often come in the way of the flow of work, making it longer to get completed.
»Arrange a way for employees to communicate with each other, without wasting much time. Many organizations prefer to have an internal messenger system. With this, the employees can stay in touch with each other, without stepping out from their workstations, making them more efficient.
All these ways help employees to work faster. Always remember, it is when a person is happy with the job, that he/she will do it most efficiently and effectively.
Issue 6: LACK OF WORK RECOGNITION; MORE CRITICISM
Some work for fulfillment, while others work out of love and passion for their work. While working, recognition and acknowledgement play a vital role in boosting employee morale, without which, work productivity could suffer. Also constant criticism would not go down well with employees. Criticism and lack of recognition would eventually make employees lose interest in their work.
»Make sure that the performers get special mention for their work.
»Ensure that other employees (the ones who are performing at par with each other every month) also get appreciation for their work.
»One needs to ensure that the non-performing employees are encouraged and motivated to work. Motivation in the workplace should be done in the right way.
»Have regular feedback sessions with all the employees. Also ensure that they are encouraged to talk without any fear. This is so that you get an honest feedback.
»Avoid criticizing any employee in front of the others.
»Do not compare two employees, unless you are comparing them from every angle.
»Do not make any comments on the person’s private life. One needs to understand that a person’s private life is exclusive from their professional life, and personal problems should be kept away from such discussions.
»Give constructive criticism in a productive manner. Make sure that it is done without patronizing the employee. These solutions are in accordance with avoiding lack of motivation in the workplace.
It is the responsibility of the management to see to it that workplace issues are resolved. Added to that, the management should also consider other issues that may lead to a problem at the workplace in the near future.