Employees contribute significantly to the growth of every business. By helping employees sharpen their skills and reach their full potential, employers are actually nurturing their businesses.
In this post, we’ll discuss 23 areas of improvement for employees and how employers can help their workforce work on those areas.
1. Time management
We all have 24 hours a day. Those who can effectively manage their time are almost always on time for appointments, shifts, and deadlines. They also have extra time for other projects, self-improvement, and career development.
Each of your employees has their own responsibilities and time management methods. As a leader, you can make the process easier for your staff by helping them develop good habits and workflow. This way they can make the best use of their available hours each day.
Managers should provide employees with effective work schedules, clear directions and expectations so that employees can prioritize and manage their tasks accordingly.
2. Verbal and non-verbal communication
Verbal and non-verbal communication requires a lot of practice to master. But it’s a fundamental skill that ensures your staff can communicate with each other and interact with customers effectively.
Better communication skills result in better customer service and teamwork. It’s important that your employees can share their insights and knowledge clearly without offending people. Additionally, front-line workers with good communication skills help create a positive impression with customers.
You should train your employees about what to say and what not to say. Some can struggle with delivering their ideas, so you can prepare some handouts or a guidebook with sample sentences that employees can use right away.
3. Written Communication
In addition to verbal and non-verbal communication, written communication is also something employees need to work on. Things need to be more formal, precise, and coherent when it comes to writing.
Today’s technology has allowed us to proofread our written work and create a company style guide with spelling and grammar checkers such as Grammarly. There’s a business plan at a discounted price if you’re using it with your team.
If you need to produce some important documents, you can have someone with expertise to proofread and offer feedback.
Teamwork is the kind of glue that helps businesses overcome challenges and reach their goals faster. A workplace that promotes shared responsibilities and celebrates accomplishments together makes employees feel like they belong to a group.
You can schedule team activities such as lunches, outings, discussions so that your staff can bond and learn to cooperate.
Organizational skills are vital if you don’t want your company and workflow to become a mess. These skills include the ability to keep physical and digital space tidy and to execute projects neatly.
A clean workspace and clear to-do lists are important for employees to stay focused and work efficiently. They’re more inspired when working in a tidy space. Plus, they know exactly what to do, when to finish, and what needs prioritizing.
You can use an employee management app so that your staff can view all of their shifts and tasks right on their phone. This way they know what’s important and needs to get done on time. There are plenty of free software options for small firms.
You can also encourage your employees to decorate their own space, use planners and trackers for projects, and scanning apps for papers.
Apart from expressing thoughts and opinions, active listening is also a must-have skill. Active listening indicates that someone cares about the subject matter and is willing to find a mutual solution.
Active listening isn’t just about showing attention, but it’s more about trying to understand the matter, respond appropriately, and remember the right information from the conversation.
You can provide your staff with a guidebook of body language cues and phrases to show they are listening actively. Some actions you can add to the guide can be: no phone or email when discussing, make eye contact, nod, ask questions. Some helpful phrases can be “Do you mean…?” or “Let me make sure I’ve got this right.”
7. Customer service
Customer service is the face of your business. It shows how your business takes care of customers, thus building your business’ reputation. It helps retain existing customers and attain new ones through word of mouth.
You can let employees with excellent customer service skills mentor and help novice workers. Hire a customer service coach and organize on-site training sessions. Or you can demonstrate directly to your new hires.
Many things can go wrong when you run a business. Employees with high flexibility can adapt quickly to challenging and unexpected circumstances. They adjust themselves to complete a variety of tasks or projects, or improvise and come up with innovative ideas.
Flexibility is an essential skill for front-line workers as they have to deal directly with lots of customers. Leaders can help staff practice this skill by giving different types of tasks or organize cross-team training.
Even when you’re the only manager of your business, good leadership skills can help your employees in many aspects of their work. To be a good leader, one needs a set of skills including planning, managing people, communication, public speaking, etc.
Owning the necessary skills will certainly boost the individual’s confidence, competence, and morale. Managers can provide employees with leadership courses, training sessions, or opportunities to practice leadership skills.
Instead of creating a negative workplace full of dreadful and demotivated employees, being a positive and encouraging leader will make you a good example to your staff and inspire them to learn and improve themselves.
Creative employees are valuable assets. They can come up with new ideas and methods that can boost your company’s productivity and profitability remarkably.
You can organize sessions for brainstorming, contributing, and sharing ideas. Be supportive and don’t bash or punish ideas that don’t work. Encourage your employees to share more by asking “why”.
11. Give and accept constructive criticism
Being able to accept constructive feedback and criticism is a difficult, yet vital skill to practice. Employees need to know what they’re doing well and what needs to improve. Some staff can be too conservative and angry to accept the advice and feedback with an open mind.
You can’t control someone else’s temper, but you can help them. Give your staff performance appraisal phrases they can say when giving and given feedback. Something like “Thanks. I appreciate your feedback and I’ll work on…” or “Here’s where I think there’s an opportunity to improve…”.
Encourage your employees to practice a calm attitude when receiving criticisms. Encourage them to give constructive feedback rather than attacking offensively.
12. Building good work relationships
Many employees go to work, do their job, and then go home. They barely have the chance to connect with other coworkers.
Leaders can organize activities where team members can get to know each other better. Activities including making notes of names, dates, and memorable information about each other are a plus.
13. Public speaking
Not every job requires public speaking, but there are many situations when this skill is very much needed. Speaking up in a group discussion, for instance. You can organize public speaking practice sessions so that your staff have the chance to get out of their comfort zone.
14. Stress management
According to the American Institute of Stress, 83% of US workers suffer from work-related stress. Workplace stress is definitely one of the main factors for mental health problems, so proper stress management skills are beneficial for both employers and employees.
You can provide your staff with stress management courses or counseling. Encourage your employees to take breaks and pay attention to their work-life balance.
15. Conflict resolution
Conflicts are inevitable in any business, especially during stressful times. When teams in your company start to have arguments and disagreements, you have to jump in at the right time to help your employees identify causes, problems, and find the ultimate solutions.
Besides being the peacemaker, encourage your staff to control their emotions, communicate clearly, and discuss their concerns directly rather than fighting and arguing for nothing. If everyone knows the right way to listen and understand each other, work will be completed more efficiently.
Employees putting themselves in their colleagues’ shoes and view things from different perspectives can give colleagues the mental support they need.
We all have bad days. Being criticized or blamed due to the lack of empathy can cause some people to develop mental problems. You should keep an eye on these situations, provide support and kindness, and encourage your team members to do the same.
Judgment skills are about making decisions based on a combination of good sense and rational thinking. Sometimes, your gut tells you what to do, but it isn’t always the right thing to do.
You can help your staff to improve on this aspect by giving them big pictures, facilitating discussions and interactions, and motivating them to draw insights from previous experiences.
Problem-solving ability is crucial because unexpected problems at work arise all the time. Projects can go wrong, customers may have complaints, coworkers might have disagreements, and so on.
You should hold training sessions in which employees can discuss solutions for different problems. Train your staff for common situations such as responding to customers’ complaints or handling conflicts between colleagues.
The ability to learn new skills and acquire new knowledge benefits both employers and employees. Your staff can improve themselves and advance in their career path, which contributes to the development of your business.
You can provide courses, training sessions, workshops, and learning opportunities to encourage your staff to sharpen their knowledge and skills.
Patience plays an important role in the operations of every business. Being patient helps employees make more well-thought-out decisions and overcome challenges without feeling discouraged and giving up. Managers need to encourage workers to take breaks when feeling overwhelmed and practice patience.
Trust is the foundation of every business. Employers need to trust their employees so they don’t have to supervise every minute of their staff. Employees need to trust that management can lead and support them. Coworkers need to trust each other to cooperate and complete work successfully.
To establish trust in your company, create a positive, fair, and supportive environment. Make goals, tasks, and purposes transparent to your staff. If applicable, involve them in decision-making. Treat everyone equally and let them know you’re a safe place to come to whenever they need solutions.
Honesty is a factor that influences trust in the workplace. To foster honesty, don’t make snap judgments and assumptions if someone’s being honest. Some people don’t speak out because they’re afraid of not being heard properly or of unexpected consequences.
If you receive honest feedback from employees, verify whether it’s true and act on it to show you value honesty. Dishonest behavior and consequences should be defined in your employee handbook so you have something to refer to when needed.
23. Goal setting and achievement
As a leader, you should encourage your employees to set goals and establish timelines to achieve them. Some work is harder to assess than others, so you can help your staff find suitable metrics to measure their performance.
You can instruct your employees to set SMART goals instead of ambiguous ones, and create a development plan that they can adapt and follow.
A safe environment for employees to work on areas of improvement
Working on these 23 areas of improvement requires lots of time and effort from the employees themselves. As a business owner, you can create a safe environment for your staff to work on their self-development journey.
You can also facilitate the process by providing suitable courses and training opportunities. If you’re running a busy company, try to carve out time blocks for those activities with the help of scheduling and time-tracking software such as Camelo.