Overcome 3 Common Workplace Challenges in the New Year

Big Think Edge | December 14, 2017

With the new year fast approaching, people often start brainstorming some personal goals to improve themselves and their lives. However, these “New Year’s Resolutions” aren’t exclusive to individuals. Organizations can also make resolutions to overcome some of their workplace challenges in the new year.

What are these challenges, and how can your own organization overcome them? Here are a few examples:

Poor Communication

Inadequate communication creates enormous costs for organizations all over the world. According to results from a survey cited by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “400 companies with 100,000 employees each cited an average loss per company of $62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication to and between employees.” That’s a loss of $170,958.90 every day.

To overcome this particular problem, organizations need to invest in perfecting their communication strategies. Helping leaders learn how to communicate effectively is a good place to begin.

When the leaders and managers in an organization can:

  1. Effectively set & communicate goals;
  2. Proactively engage with employees;
  3. Use active listening to understand each employee’s needs and issues;
  4. Write effective memos/emails; and
  5. Negotiate with employees and peers to find solutions to conflicts that benefit the organization as a whole

they will be better-equipped to position themselves, their teams, and the rest of the organization for success, while avoiding costly delays and problems caused by miscommunications.

High Turnover

Turnover is a major concern for organizations of all sizes. Whether they’re industry veterans who have been a part of the organization for years, or new hires who only just joined, losing employees can significantly impact an organization’s ability to operate efficiently.

The cost of turnover can change depending on the specific role of the employee who leaves—finding, recruiting, and training a high-level executive is naturally going to be costlier than an entry level role in a large team. Some research cited by the Huffington Post asserts that “the average economic cost to a company of turning over a highly skilled job is 213% of the cost of one year’s compensation for that role,” while other research in the same article puts the cost between “1.5–2.0x the employee’s annual salary.”

Although some employee churn is inevitable as older workers phase out of the workforce or individuals relocate, too much churn among younger employees can be dangerous.

In organizations with high churn—especially among their younger employees—some measures that can help reduce voluntary employee turnover include:

  • Improving Internal Mobility Opportunities. Employees, especially Millennials, are often interested in trying new things or finding opportunities to grow with the company. Limited availability of internal mobility, whether real or imagined, can be a source of frustration and disengagement. Improving internal mobility for employees, whether by implementing new programs or better informing employees of existing ones, can help reduce the risk of turnover.
  • Making Accurate Job Descriptions. According to SHRM, “up to 20 percent of turnover takes place in the first 45 days.” This can largely be attributed to poor or misleading job descriptions—a new hire signs on for one job, but finds the job to be very different from what they were told. This creates frustration and disengagement that can lead to high turnover. Fixing job descriptions so that expectations align with actual job responsibilities can help prevent premature churn—saving time and money on recruiting.
  • Conducting Exit Interviews. When employees leave, it’s important to know why they leave. Is it an issue with their boss? Frustrations with the work? Did they find a better opportunity elsewhere? Conducting exit interviews with employees can provide an answer to the question of “Why?” so issues creating excessive turnover can be identified and addressed in the future.

Loss of Productivity

Every organization wants to be able to accomplish more with fewer resources. However, maximizing productivity can be an enormous challenge. There are many issues and factors that can affect an employee’s productivity. And, employees will respond differently to various strategies to improve performance.

Performance improvement plans (PIPs) need to be carefully customized to match the needs and motivations of individual workers. Here, performing assessments of employee productivity styles and motivations can help leaders find out how to motivate their employees.

Additionally, employee development tools, such as Big Think Edge’s online learning courses, can help instill employees with new skills and expose them to ways of thinking that can improve their productivity at their current job role—or help them prepare for a new one!

Employee development tools can be a vital part of an internal mobility programs as well when they’re used to prepare an employee for new job responsibilities. Specialized business communication courses are particularly helpful for getting managers and leaders to be more effective at coordinating the efforts of their teams.

Get started on improving your organization’s teams in time for the new year by requesting a demo. Or, for more ideas on how to improve your organization, check out the Big Think Edge guide to improving your organization with your leftover budget in Q4:

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