4 Major Roadblocks to Employee Satisfaction

As a manager, you have many responsibilities and all these responsibilities relate to one common goal: keeping your business running. To keep a business running, managers must depend on their employees.

If your employees are unhappy in the workplace, they are less likely to perform well. Whether an employee performs the bare minimum at work or goes above and beyond is largely based on employee satisfaction. Not only do you risk having less productive workers if your employees are not satisfied, but you run the risk of having a higher turnover rate. Losing an employee, even an entry level position is bad for business overall.

Keeping all your employees happy is difficult, since everyone responds differently to certain conditions. As a manager, you must accept you cannot create a perfect workplace for all your employees, but you can create a good and overall positive work environment. To keep your employees happy, there are several roadblocks you must be ready to overcome.

1.     An Unhealthy Workplace

Managers often struggle with creating a healthy and productive workplace because balancing the two is difficult. If you go too far trying to make a healthy workplace, you end up with employees who do not feel like they at work, leading to an unprofessional mindset. If you lean too far into productivity, your employees feel oppressed and become unhappy, leading to subpar work.

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Some managers are hesitant to create a healthier workplace because they are worried about becoming too involved with their employees. This is a reasonable fear, but there are many small changes you can make to improve the overall attitude of the workplace without overstepping any boundaries. Consider making the following changes:

  • Fill your food and kitchen with nutritional choices. Free donuts or similar treats may initially seem good for morale, but they often lead to sugar crashes and hurt productivity.
  • Find ways to be mobile. Walking meetings are often more productive than traditional sitting meetings. Employees are more active and alert if they are moving around instead of sitting in a chair, where it is easy to zone out. If you work at a larger company, consider offering on-site fitness options or standing desks to employees.
  • Consider hosting yoga or meditation classes instead of a traditional break. This gives employees a chance to temporarily get away from work and clear their mind. This is especially important if your employees are working on a difficult project.

2.     Change is Necessary

For new managers, one of the hardest decisions is when to implement workplace changes. Many managers are afraid to make drastic changes at first because they do not want to overstep their bounds when they have just started. As time goes on, managers continue to talk themselves out of making changes, arguing that it would be too sudden of a change or that it would take too long for the employees to adjust to the new policies.

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Corporate culture is dynamic. You need to accept change is necessary, otherwise, you risk becoming stagnant or falling behind the times. A good leader understands the need to try something new but understands you cannot blindly make changes as well.

Before making changes, identify what areas need improvement, and focus your changes on fixing these areas. Do not make changes in an area solely because you feel the need to do something different.

It is also important not to make changes solely on your personal preferences. A great way to make your employees feel appreciated is to approach them for feedback and implement changes they suggest. This shows you listen to your employees and makes them feel comfortable approaching you with ideas or concerns in the future.

3.     Manage Time Off

Another challenging part of being a manager is creating schedules. If you push employees too hard, you risk them becoming burned out. Even your most productive employees need time to rest between projects. Time off is not solely for vacations, it gives employees a chance to rest and come back to work energized.

There are a few different ways to manage time off. Even if employees are physically coming into the office, lighten their work load for a few days so they are performing less strenuous work. For longer projects, factor in a few extra days for employees to slow down. For example, if you know a difficult project takes a week, give the employee a nine-day deadline instead. This way, if they get exhausted, they have time to reduce their workload without having to worry about missing the deadline.

Additionally, it helps to factor in time for employees to take breaks during the workday. Even if it is just fifteen minutes, it is good for employees to walk away from their desk and clear their mind.

However, sometimes you cannot give an employee time off due to the nature of the project they are working on. In these circumstances, you can at least mitigate their work stress. Avoid contacting the employee at home about the project, so he or she at least has some time to decompress.

4.     Poor Communication

The key to a successful workplace is communication. Both managers and employees need to feel comfortable being honest with one another. If employees are afraid of reporting a problem to a manger out of fear of getting in trouble, the manager is doing something wrong. Subsequently, if the manager is uncomfortable giving feedback, whether positive or negative, he or she is creating a roadblock.

Managers have the unfortunate job of telling employees when they do something wrong. How this news is communicated has a significant impact on employee satisfaction. If an employee makes a mistake, inform them of the mistake, but do not make them feel bad or stupid for making the mistake in the first place. A good manager acts as a guide. If they are too harsh, employees either become bitter or start to second guess themselves, leading to more mistakes.

Similarly, if you only ever point out what your employee does wrong, he or she feels underappreciated. It is important to provide positive feedback and identify everything the employee does right. This is helpful on a professional level because it lets employees know where they need to focus on improving. Without this feedback, employees may start making changes to skills they have already mastered because they feel as though there is still room to improve.

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