Few people like changes, especially if it is imposed upon them. When changes are imminent, rumors and misinformation run rampant. The stress caused by these times of uncertainty results in loss of motivation and productivity. There is tremendous stress on employees due to lack of information. Obviously, the most tension reducing approach is to keep employees informed every step of the way.
According to a recent poll conducted by Workplace Options, 65% of respondents indicated that they have experienced a conflict in the workplace. Additionally, 56% of those surveyed cited personality conflicts as the biggest source of workplace conflicts, while 52% of workers cited poor communication as the source. Surprisingly, 35% of workers indicated that their employers do not have a formal complaint process implemented for workplace conflict.
Emotional intelligence is described as a person’s ability to recognize and understand emotions in themself and others, and their ability to use this awareness to manage relationships. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. In times of turbulence and uncertainty, managers have to increasingly rely on emotional intelligence in order to deal more effectively and successfully with employees.
Reports from the New England Journal of Medicine and the National Business Group on Health have indicated that depression affects about 10% of the workforce, costing businesses $44 billion annually in lost productivity and treatment costs. In addition, 85% of industrial accidents are stress or alcohol-related, and individuals with personal problems are absent 5-6 times more than peers. As a manager, you are in a position to identify an employee whose personal problems may be interfering with his/her job performance and resulting in issues with attendance, quality of work, behavior or attitude.
Good management and supervision involve motivating employees to do their best, monitoring performance, and addressing workplace problems as early as possible. In order to promptly address workplace inefficiencies, supervisors and managers should proactively look for patterns or changes within employees’ job performance. This is most successfully done when a manager is able to effectively recognize and identify the performance problems and behaviors causing concern.
“The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior in similar circumstances.” This should be a guiding principle of any good interview. Standardized interviews asking questions about candidates’ past behavior relevant to specific performance dimensions are likely to elicit the most useful information. However, if the interviewer improperly phrases questions this information is likely to be irrelevant and misleading.
Goal setting is an important aspect to performance management and overall worker productivity. Establishing goals and objectives makes it clear what a supervisor expects of an employee. In addition, when employees are given specific goals they are more likely to produce better results than employees that are not given specific objectives or something to strive towards. When coupled with the organization’s annual objectives, employee goal setting also creates strategic alignment among the employee’s work and the organization as a whole.
Cross-training employees in multiple work areas can be particularly helpful for many organizations. When employees are cross-trained they are provided an opportunity to learn new skill sets. This allows an organization to increase productivity and develop a more dynamic workforce for future needs. Additionally, cross training helps managers recognize competitive talents and place employees in positions for which they are best suited.
Recent research has shown that sitting for more than three to four hours a day can take up to two years off of someone’s life. Shockingly enough, exercise will not reverse the damage that sitting for extending periods of time will cause. Workers in offices everywhere are faced with a huge health hazard, as they are often restrained to sitting at a desk to do their work. A sedentary lifestyle at work in addition to an inactive home life can cause serious health concerns for many employees, which means higher medical and healthcare costs for employers.
The average number of hours Americans presently work each week is the highest it has been in nearly 75 years. The average American works approximately 47.1 hours each week, with some employees working up to even 70 hours a week. In addition, employees have many responsibilities outside of the workplace that create added stress in their lives. These stressors include parenting, taking care of aging relatives, keeping up with bills, or uneven division of labor at home. Long hours and personal responsibilities result in a constant struggle to balance work and home life. However, devoting an equal amount of time for both work and personal life is simply unrealistic for most employees.