Fear and worry can sabotage productivity among workers, even when the economy is strong. For management professionals, it is often challenging to identify the source of a dip in performance in time to avoid the consequences. Building an awareness of common employee concerns can help you find ways to allay your workers' fears and provide a greater sense of security at work.
In the age of rapid information dissemination, modern employees are acutely aware of the dangers of stress. With regular media headlines proclaiming that "stress kills" and news stories explaining the dangers of work-related tension, stress has become one of the most pressing employee concerns. Their fears are not unfounded; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, employees with high levels of stress have health care costs that are 50 percent higher than non-stressed workers. As a manager, you can help alleviate stress by promoting a healthy work-life balance, adopting an understanding and relaxed management style, and ensuring that everyone on the team has a manageable workload.
The company culture and office environment play a large role in job satisfaction. As such, it is not surprising that conflicts with co-workers are one of the top employee concerns in the modern workplace. Tension or anger that simmers between two workers can lead to explosive arguments and an unpleasant atmosphere. Managers have a responsibility to help employees clear the air with open communication and mediation. Breaking the tension makes the office more pleasant for everyone, whether or not they are directly involved.
Management professionals often focus heavily on their top-performing employees. In the process, they may overlook employees who could bloom if given the right attention and opportunities. Employee concerns often include an unfair working environment in which select workers are chosen as "favorites." Workers who are ignored may lose motivation and put out lower-quality work. Effective managers create an environment in which each employee is given the chance to grow and move up within the company.
The trope of the clueless manager — think Michael Scott in the TV series "The Office" — is popular for a reason. Most employees can relate stories of bosses who were ineffective, out of touch or downright irritating. One of the most persistent employee concerns is inadequate leadership. Supervisors who insist on micromanagement or refuse to delegate make employees feel like their intellects and abilities are not respected. Likewise, managers who give no input or praise can leave workers feeling confused and ignored. Successful managers strike a balance, allowing workers to use their strengths and offering regular constructive feedback.
Navigating the maze of employee concerns requires time and constant vigilance. By adopting a flexible and adaptable management style, you can respond to employees' fears and find effective solutions early on.
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