Do your employees seem frustrated? Has productivity dropped? Is your office morale down? If you’re dealing with employee frustration, you may find that you’re frustrated as well because it might seem like no matter what you do, you simply cannot change it. However, sometimes you simply don’t know the right approach to dealing with this frustration. Each type of frustration needs to be dealt with in a different way. Here are five of the most common major types of employee frustrations and how you can deal with them.
1. Frustration with Technology
A survey done by Staples showed that almost 90 percent of all participants did not have access to the latest technology, a frustrating fact that few employers listened to. Employees feel that they need to have better technology and that the technology needs to be better integrated with the office network and with their jobs. In addition to this, many believe they need additional training on some technology in order to more efficiently make use of it.
To deal with this frustration, make sure you’re on top of new technology rollouts and that you update your technology and computer software as often as you can. While some upgrades may not fit your budget, and you may not be able to upgrade everything at once, make certain your employees know you are planning to upgrade at some point. Also, listen to what your employees are most frustrated with from a tech point of view and make those issues the priority. If your employees hate the printer that’s always jamming up, upgrading the office laptops isn’t going to alleviate any frustrated feelings.
If you’re frustrated with your employees’ lack of productivity, you may be surprised to learn that many of them are as well. While it’s possible you have an office slacker or two, most employees truly do want to get projects finished and feel productive. However, distractions in the office can often bring productivity to a halt, especially if they are recurring distractions.
Some common distractions might include loud noises, the coming and going of other people, constant emails, and many other issues unique to your office. Again, the best way you can prepare yourself to deal with these frustrations is to simply ask your employees what’s distracting them from work. You may be able to add additional dividers to help direct visitors away from employee offices or allow employees to use noise-cancelling headphones so they can concentrate on work. If an employee is chatting with others to the point of distraction, you may need to talk to that employee about better time management skills.
3. Lack of Motivation
Keeping your employees motivated can be difficult, especially if you can’t really pinpoint the source of their lack of motivation. Some may simply say that they feel burnt out, while others might feel like they’ve contributed a lot to the company but haven’t been recognized or promoted. Others may field that their workload is unmanageable or that they’re always given the least-desirable work assignments.
There are a few things you can do to address these concerns. Employees who feel bored at work may need a new challenge, so you could talk to them about taking on other tasks or heading up a new project. Bringing in Motivational speakers can also be a way of getting your employees fired up, especially if these speakers help you come together with your employees and really listen to their needs.
Employees who feel like the company isn’t making good decisions or isn’t providing a good work environment may be more difficult to motivate, but it can be done. One that will make employees appreciate you as a supervisor is to keep them up to date on the company’s decisions and to explain the reasoning behind those decisions. If they feel like they’re being kept in the loop and that their concerns are being listened to, they will often feel more valued and, thus, be more motivated.
4. Busy Work
If you had an instructor in high school or college who assigned busy work, you know how frustrating it can be. Tasks need to have a point and a purpose, and if you can’t give an employee that purpose when asked, they’re going to assume you’re giving them busy work just so they have something to do. Assigning busy work is often seen as a sign that you don’t believe the employee can manage his or her time well. Meaningless tasks don’t do much good for you, either, because that’s time your employee could be doing something productive.
You should encourage all of your employees to speak up if they have a question about a task you’ve assigned them. If someone feels like they’ve been given busy work, explain the reasoning behind it. Maybe it’s to collect data that another department needs to do their work, but because your department doesn’t use it, the employee doesn’t see the reason behind collecting the information. Often, what someone sees as busy work really isn’t, but because the employee doesn’t know how the task they’re doing fits in with the big picture, they see it as unnecessary.
5. The Balance Between Work and Life
Finally, employees sometimes let their life frustrations spill over into their job performance and vice versa. If an employee is feeling frustrated that work seems to keep interfering with their life, do what you can to make sure that doesn’t happen. Yes, sometimes overtime and extra workdays happen due to large projects, but that should always be the exception, never the norm. You don’t want your employees routinely working more than 40 hours a week, and if they are, it may be a sign you either need to reduce the scope of your business or hire more employees.
You can also do things like institute email curfews so employees never feel like they have to read emails when they’re at home and provide employees the chance to talk to you whenever they feel like there’s an issue.