In the U.S., the average work-week is approximately 40 hours. Most employees take a few holidays every year, but did you know that around 30 percent of our life is spent in the workplace? Given the vast amount of time we spend at our jobs, it is not surprising that certain concerns may arise from time to time. Nevertheless, addressing problems quickly and effectively is the best way to get back on track.
Of course, each individual situation will call for a slightly different course of action, yet there are some specific strategies that may just prevent certain issues from escalating further than they need to.
Here, we review some common roadblocks that workers often encounter, and options for addressing them.
1. Low motivation and job satisfaction
Generally, employees want to do a good job. Their intention is to become a valuable member of the organization, and hopefully, impress their managers and customers in the process. However, some managers may unintentionally fail to notice the effort and contribution that their staff puts forward. Yet, intentional or not, employees who feel underappreciated tend to become disengaged and even dissatisfied with their job.
Solution: Managers may not be as attuned to their subordinates’ work as the employees themselves. Employees should keep their superiors up-to-date on their accomplishments. For example, an employee who created a top ad campaign which pleased an important client may want to gently remind their boss of their achievement and how it positively impacted the department and company. Employees, however, should not expect to be recognized for every small task they complete (e.i., submitting a report a day early).
2. Extended work hours
Every now and then, employees must contribute extra hours to complete a specific task or project. Yet, if an employee’s work hours increase to the point where his or her health and/or family life is affected, the employee may lose motivation to work to their best potential.
Solution: Employees in this situation should gently let management know the negative impact that the extensive work hours are having on other aspects of their life. While letting their superiors know that their job is important to them, they should ask for and/or offer suggestions for improving his work-life balance; for example, working from home when possible.
3. Interpersonal conflict
Although we may try to please everyone, sometimes we encounter an individual with whom it’s difficult to find common ground. Whether colleague, superior, or subordinate, when professional viewpoints don’t fit together, productivity and efficiency often suffer.
Solution: Deal with the individual by speaking to him or her in a neutral, non-accusatory tone. Try complimenting the individual on their hard work, and when the time is right, ask if you can set time aside to calmly settle your differences and discuss what might be the best way to go forward. Remember that everyone has a story to tell, and often a person just needs to talk to someone who is willing to listen.
4. Being passed over for a promotion
It’s not an unusual occurrence where an employee who feels they have aptly earned a promotion is overlooked for another colleague. While management’s decision may have been justified, this can still negatively affect the passed-over employee, having a damaging impact on job performance.
Solution: Employees in this situation should consider speaking to their manager and state openly that he or she had hoped to have the opportunity to move into the new role. However, follow up by asking what could be done to increase their future chances of a promotion, should another position become available.
5. Low wages
This can be problematic especially if the concerned employee strongly feels that he or she has contributed a great deal to the organization.
Solution: The employee may consider addressing the issue if he or she did not receive a promised or contracted salary or pay increase. Ask to schedule a meeting with your manager, inquiring if there was a reason that the projected salary was not implemented. Sometimes, there may have been a clerical error or a misunderstanding. If not, inquire what can be done to put the agreed-upon salary into effect.
6. Lack of training
It is sometimes the case that employees feel that they did not receive either enough or the proper on-the-job training to perform at their best level.
Solution: Employees should call to the attention of their superiors their desire to undergo training in specific areas, and ask for options in receiving additional instruction.
Conflicts will always occur in the workplace, yet it’s important to assure that any inconsistencies are handled professionally. Issues that escalate quickly should be brought to the attention of management, and in acute circumstances, HR. Be sure to discuss your concerns in private with the appropriate party, and not with other coworkers; as this may cause you to become even more disengaged and result in poor job performance. With the right tools and approach, you can begin to look forward to your workdays again.
Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200