7 Poor Workplace Conditions that Can Negatively Affect your Workforce
We all have our bad days. You know, the ones where nothing quite seems to go your way and you wish you could just crawl back under the covers until tomorrow? But, alas, duty calls. And the bills aren’t going to pay themselves. So you put your nose to the grind and pray no major snafus occur in the office that day. Sure, your productivity will suffer a little bit, but you’ll resume your rock star status tomorrow, right?
But, what if the days turn into months; and you begin to notice everyone’s productivity is down? A black cloud has moved in and it’s raining on your workforce’s parade. It’s time to reevaluate the workplace culture as clearly something is amiss.
In fact, it’s not just the workforce productivity that will suffer. A recent TINYpulse study revealed that “employees who give their work culture low marks are nearly 15% more likely to think about a new job than their counterparts.” Now, your churn rate is on the upswing, too. Luckily, with a little examination of workplace conditions from a fresh perspective, this scenario can easily be avoided.
But first, we need to identify and clarify 7 of the most undesirable aspects of workplace conditions that keep great employees disengaged or, even worse, walking out the front door.
1) Inadequate workspace conditions
Have you ever heard the term “set up to fail”? If your employee is lacking the resources to competently complete their work, you are doing just that. Providing adequate time and the right tools, as well as an environment free of safety issues, should be a basic requirement of all enterprises. With the advances technology has made over the last decade, it is critical to an organization’s very survival to consistently remain on top of what business resources are available.
Fortunately, this is the easiest component to address. Communication is key; and it must be a two-way street. Encourage your workforce to share input on what resources the business is lacking and how it affects their productivity. The result will be twofold; you will gain insight into what your employees need and you will show them their opinions matter.
Adequate time and material resources should be present for employees to enable them to perform their work easily.
2) Workplace processes
Much like the workplace tools, it is critical that businesses consistently analyze and revitalize organizational procedures. Oftentimes management and employees will accept a process based solely on the assertion that “this is how it’s always been done.” But times change and our customers and employees do as well. Open up a dialogue with your team and ask the questions: “What workflow issues are slowing you down?” You’d be surprised at how much things can change with just a few simple tweaks and the automation of certain procedures.
Times have changed a lot since the Baby Boomer generation entered the workforce. The modern workplace isn’t confined to four walls; it goes everywhere with us. In fact, Gallup recently reported that 25% of Americans work between 45-59 hours per week; working on commutes or while waiting for dinner to be ready.
Unlike our predecessors, however, a work/life balance is critical. TINYpulse’s survey indicated that employees who are tired and burnt out are 31% more likely to think about looking for a new job, while those with a positive work-life balance are 12% more likely to remain with their employer. To ensure each individual remains a valued asset to your team, make sure their workload is manageable and that you not only offer, but encourage PTO. A well-rested workforce could make the difference in both quality and quantity of work.
4) Lack of clarity regarding expectations
Again, communication is critical to the enterprise’s very survival. How would you feel if you sat down at your desk each day, but were unsure as to exactly WHAT you were supposed to be doing? Talk about being set up to fail!
Management teams must pay special attention to training programs, ensuring each individual walks onto the floor knowing what is expected of them, who they’ll be working closely with, and how things are done procedurally. Relay all information regarding parameters, goals, and expectations for all projects and review this information regularly to avoid any miscommunication. This will cut down on employee frustration, as well as poor performance.
5) Recruitment issues
The hiring process is a long and arduous one, for both the recruiter and the candidate. It is also paramount to the success of the entire team. Valuable, hard-working employees need to work with like-minded professionals. If just one member of the workforce is poorly matched for their position, it can bring the whole house down. Employees should have the skill set to perform and grow in their job, as well as have the right personality traits to fit in with the workplace culture.
To combat these demotivating factors, organizations must consistently review their recruiting standards, whether outsourced or performed in-house, ensuring the recruiter is up-to-date on the workplace culture, as well as all job descriptions and specifications. Do not “oversell” a particular position and try to promote from within whenever possible. This will safeguard against a disengaged workforce and, ultimately, influence your churn rates.
6) Lack of motivation
If you’ve built a solid, hard-working network of employees, it’s easy to underestimate the power of a pat on the back and a few words of recognition. But the reality is, more often than not, praise motivates and inspires, particularly for those already working hard to give you their all.
Communicate with your employees to find out what they’re looking for in a reward. Some might desire public recognition, while another might want a raise or more PTO. Obviously, you cannot cater to each individual’s need, but you can take that extra effort to make sure they know they’re a valued member of the team.
And the same is true for an employee heading the other direction. If you have an employee who is performing poorly, take the time to offer constructive criticism. This is an opportunity for them to grow professionally; and everyone will know there are rewards and consequences for their actions.
7) Company culture
Contrary to popular opinion, the company culture directly influences employee engagement and productivity. In fact, much of today’s workforce will choose to move on to a new job if the workplace culture doesn’t meet their expectations. Directly influencing the culture are the relationships built at work - both with management and co-workers. Workplace leaders recognize the potential behind these relationships and foster them whenever possible. Set aside some time to enjoy happy hour with your team or arrange a local volunteering event. This will help ensure your employees forge strong, lasting relationships with their peers, helping make a difficult job more enjoyable.
If your organization is experiencing erosion of productivity and workforce engagement, or a higher than normal churn rate, it’s time to take a closer look at what is going on in the inner workings of the establishment. While compensation packages are important, the breakdown is likely stemming from something much deeper - more emotional than pecuniary. Yet the impact on the enterprise is almost entirely financial. Not only does the loss of an employee equate to 30-50% of their annual salary, you stand to lose top talent to your competitors. Head off these negatives at the pass by addressing and acting on the words of the workforce as well as professionals who are overseeing your processes and productivity. The condition of your conditions can make all the difference.