18 Areas That Employees Can Improve On

As a business owner or manager, you should always be looking for ways to improve your processes. However, this is only half of the equation for a successful business. You should also concentrate on employee development.

To be sure, every business is unique, and what works for one team (or employee) may not work for another. However, there are some universal skills that everyone — and we mean everyone — can improve on.

Sling’s management experts show you 18 areas for employee improvement and how you can use them to make your business more productive in this article.

1) Time administration

Time management is critical to the success of your business. Few tasks would be completed on time if it did not exist (if at all). That could have disastrous consequences for everyone involved.

The best way to solve this issue is to incorporate scheduling software, such as Sling, into your daily routine. Sling not only allows you to schedule when your employees will work, but it also includes a cloud-based to-do list with customizable deadlines and reminders to keep everyone on track.

2) Administration

Time management can be greatly aided by organization. When you and your employees are organized, you will understand what needs to be done — and in what order — to complete the task at hand.

Encourage your employees to create a daily schedule of the top three or four tasks that they need to focus on (in order of priority). Then assist them in sticking to that list until it is completed.

3) Interpersonal interaction

Whether you manage a restaurant, a coffee shop, or a call center, you and everyone else who works there could all benefit from better interpersonal communication.

Even if it’s just between team members, being clear and direct in what you say (without offending) will improve your working style more than any other suggestion on this list.

4) Customer care

Customer service is the foundation of any successful business. Even if your company already has a reputation for being customer-friendly, this is one area of employee development that you can never spend too much time on.

One of the most effective ways to improve your employees’ customer service skills is to model it in everything you say and do. Encourage your employees to follow your example.

5) Collaboration

Unless your employees work alone, they will have to collaborate with others at some point. And in order for your employees to reach their full potential and overcome the obstacles in their path, they will require the assistance and cooperation of those on their team.

6) Dispute resolution

Even in the most well-adjusted teams, employee conflict is unavoidable. Sometimes the stress simply overwhelms, and the friction creates a flame.

It is typically the manager’s responsibility to put out fires, but if you can teach your employees to resolve their own disagreements, it will benefit your business 100-fold.

7) Paying Attention

Effective listening, not just hearing, is critical for business communication and success.

When you teach your employees mature listening skills, their productivity will increase, they will make fewer mistakes, and they (and your customers) will be much happier.

8) Formal written communication

True, technology has made it easier and faster to communicate with others. So much so that we have come to rely on it for almost everything. That technology, however, cannot improve your employees’ writing. While it can help catch minor spelling and grammar errors, it cannot improve the quality or clarity of their words.

If your company relies on written communication, consider developing an internal style book for your employees to reference when writing. Make that style guide available to everyone (perhaps in the employee handbook) and encourage your team members to consult it as often as possible.

9) Developing new skills

Unless you have a perfect employee (in which case, we’ll poach him or her from you), learning new skills will benefit everyone. Not only does this stimulate thinking and creativity, but it also increases the employee’s value to your company.

You can use team members in different capacities with new skills, and they won’t be a “one-trick pony” who is only good at one thing.

10) Setting objectives

Encourage your employees to set and strive to meet new goals to help them stretch and grow in their work.

Creating an employee development plan that your team members can follow is a surefire way to help them reach their goals. The development plan serves as a sort of road map, showing team members the steps they must take to succeed.

11) Accepting constructive criticism and feedback

Feedback and constructive criticism are essential components of improving your employees’ work habits. Without it, no one would know what they excel at and where they fall short.

Accepting feedback and constructive criticism, on the other hand, can be difficult at times. Particularly when your employees are giving their all. Make feedback and criticism as easy to receive as possible, but train your employees to accept advice with an open mind.

12) Concentration and involvement

As a manager, one of your primary responsibilities is to keep your team focused and engaged. Your employees, on the other hand, can learn how to improve their productivity and work performance on their own.

There are numerous strategies they can use (many of which are similar to those you would use) to keep themselves motivated and on track to success.

13) Be patient.

We all believe we are patient. That is, until work becomes difficult and we lose our cool over the smallest issue.

Don’t give up if you see your employees in this situation frequently. With a little practice, you can encourage them to improve their patience.

When you suspect they are about to lose their cool, instruct them to close their eyes, breathe deeply, and mentally count to ten. Even in the most trying of circumstances, this simple technique can help them regain their patience.

14) Condolences

In many ways, sympathy is similar to compassion for another person.

If an employee is having difficulty accepting a coworker’s behavior during a difficult time in their life, encourage them to try to put themselves in the shoes of the other person.

They can begin to see things from a different perspective once they understand what their coworker is going through. This enables them to understand why their coworker may be distracted at work, making more mistakes than usual, or becoming easily irritated.

Your employee will understand that these negative characteristics are not the new normal. The behavior is simply a reaction to an extreme circumstance. Give them the space and support they require, and they will soon return to normal.

15) Adaptability

Flexibility is an essential trait for all employees, whether they are dealing with customers or coworkers.

At its core, flexibility is the realization that there are numerous ways to complete any task. It’s also about being able to quickly adapt to whatever circumstances arise.

Employee 1 may complete a task using a specific set of steps (e.g., A then B then C then D), whereas employee 2 may complete the task using a different set of steps (e.g., A then C then D then B).

Employee 1’s method may be more efficient, but the results are what matter, not how you got them. Help the employee understand that the outcome is what matters, and they will be more willing to compromise on the process.

Concerning the second component of flexibility, adjusting quickly, it’s critical in business that your employees aren’t so set in their ways that they can’t deal with a problem that wasn’t on their to-do list.

There will always be issues that divert your team’s attention away from their plans. Encourage them to be adaptable, deal with the issue, and then return to their previous activities.

16) Trust

Working in business, whether as an owner, manager, or employee, is all about trust.

Owners must have faith that their managers will lead the company to success. Managers must have faith that their team will do what is best for the company even if they are not supervised. Employees must also believe that management will support them when things get tough at work.

Everyone can earn trust by always doing what they say they will do and meeting expectations, no matter how difficult it is.

When everyone in your company, from the bottom to the top, trusts each other, the work environment improves, customers notice, and business improves.

17) Concern for others

Coworkers outside discussing employee improvement areas
Interest in others implies a personal connection with them. The simplest way to accomplish this is to converse with others and get to know them.

Give your employees this three-step process to help them express genuine interest in others:

  • Pose a query
  • Take note of the response.
  • Please ask another question.

Throughout the conversation, they should keep track of names, dates, and significant events in the other person’s life. This may necessitate them keeping track of pertinent information (i.e., writing it down) so they can bring it up later and ask additional questions.

18) Sound judgement

When you look around you, listen to what others say, and learn from that information, your judgment improves.

At first, good judgment may appear to be an innate “gut feeling” about what to do or how to react in specific situations. This is true in many ways.

Your employees, on the other hand, can improve their judgment by listening to their “intuition” while also thinking rationally about why they feel the way they do.

Take one step at a time

Footsteps walking up a blue flight of stairs
Everyone in your company, including you, can improve on at least one of the skills on this list. Indeed, you and your employees will most likely identify several areas that require attention.

Don’t let your employees become overwhelmed if they discover that they could improve their positivity, honesty, and listening skills, for example. They do not have to deal with them all at once. Take things slowly at first.

Allow them to choose one skill to improve and work on it for as long as it takes to become habit. Then have them choose another skill to practice until it becomes automatic.

Admire what you do.

Two people’s feet stand on concrete with the words “Passion Led Us Here.”
It’s critical to enjoy what you do, whether you’re an owner, a manager, a team member, or all three. If you don’t, it will be difficult to generate the motivation to improve. So, find joy in your work.

It’s easier to identify your strengths and weaknesses once you’ve found your joy. You can then take steps — or assist your employees in taking steps — to learn, grow, and improve.

If you find it difficult to make time for growth, incorporate learning blocks into your and your team’s schedule. Sling software simplifies the process.

Sling is a workforce management app that focuses heavily on scheduling, distribution, time tracking, and communication. Its main characteristics are as follows:

  • Time Clock
  • Messages
  • Shifts
  • Newsfeed
  • Tasks

The Sling suite of tools combines all of these features into a cohesive scheduling tool that allows you to create clear, easy-to-read schedules that you can save and distribute to the cloud.

Athina Iliadis is a Human Resources Professional with over 25 years’ experience in corporate environments working for companies such as Pearson, LexisNexis, Hershey, and Reckitt. In her current role as a consultant working with clients around the world, she coaches managers and employees on HR issues, supports leaders in their business, produces content about careers, interviews, and job opportunities. She is fluent in English, French and Greek, and she holds a BBA with a major in HR from Université du Québec à Montréal. Find her on LinkedIn and at athinailiadis.com

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