As a manager, team leader, or HR specialist, you constantly assess the performance of employees and provide feedback. However, what's suitable for performance reviews in one organization might not work for another. Or the criteria might need regular updates and improvements. And you can't support the growth of your employees only by providing feedback from time to time. You must actively support them in their career by showing them areas to improve at work and for their well-being.
Professional and personal improvements are essential not only for employees but also for the business. People who benefit from good performance reviews and healthy criticism are more likely to become more efficient, engaged, and responsible. Improvement boosts morale and reduces stress levels, resulting in healthier employees, better turnover, and fewer absences.
But providing opportunities for improvement is not an easy job. You must find the right areas to improve for each employee because each person is different and needs to address particular issues. Some may need to broaden their expertise and acquire new technical skills. Others may need to improve their communication skills or time management abilities. For some employees, emotional intelligence may be the weak spot. So, don't rely on a single strategy and be open about work areas to be improved.
A key area of improvement for employees is an aspect of their professional and personal life that improves their work performance. The most prominent areas of improvement are professional skills acquired from participating in training, continuing professional education, and attending specific courses and classes.
However, social skills are equally important, as poor work relationships affect team performance, problem-solving, and innovation. Last but not least, personal development and lifestyle also improve employee performance. The field of personal development is vast and goes from learning a new language to developing emotional intelligence to managing time and prioritizing tasks. Check out the following examples of areas of improvement for employees and take action right now.
Many people lack the skill of public speaking and become nervous and anxious even speaking in front of their colleagues. As a result, they avoid being active in meetings and sharing their ideas and thoughts. Therefore, public speaking may be one of the areas to improve for many of your employees. And it's not difficult to achieve; just enroll them in an acting class.
Written communication is another example of an improvement that will benefit both the employees and the company. When you cannot write your thoughts, you risk being misunderstood, creating conflicts, or appearing less expert than you are. People with great ideas and solutions may be overlooked just because they don't know how to write and share their ideas in a well-organized and transparent manner. Start by teaching employees how to write emails to different people in the organization chart, administrative letters (e.g., leave requests), technical reports, or constructive feedback.
Another area to improve on at work is how you manage interpersonal relationships. And communication skills have a lot to say about this. Not all people know how to communicate within a team and deal with different types of people. Employees don't become friends overnight, and some may never be friends. Communicating your thoughts respectfully and straightforwardly will improve teamwork and the performance of individuals.
The ability to modify behavior, improve competencies, be creative, set goals, expand interests, make plans, develop talents, and increase involvement all depend on our ability to stay motivated. Learn more on the importance of employee motivation and how to improve it.
Besides knowing how to speak your mind, you should also be able to listen to what others say. The ability to listen is something we learn and needs training. Some employees may believe they are too busy to waste time listening. Others aren't patient enough. Others just think they already have the answers. Teaching them to listen ensures inclusivity and equity and gives everyone a chance to be heard.
Problem-solving comes from creativity, and this is one of the work areas to be improved. In many companies, creativity isn't good enough for performance reviews. People are pushed to be productive and not creative. However, creativity helps employees do their jobs better and opens their minds to new ideas and technologies. It also improves their sensitivity and attention to detail.
We are a pool of emotions. But dealing with them is not usually one of our skills. Overflowing emotions may interfere with the employee's job and keep them from achieving their goals. Emotions also influence how we communicate with colleagues and superiors, perceive ourselves and our jobs, and deal with unexpected situations. Teaching employees how to understand their feelings and work with them may make the difference in turnover rate and absenteeism levels.
Conflicts are inevitable in the workplace. Therefore, one area to improve at work should be learning how to mediate them. When employees can communicate their thoughts and listen to the other party, conflicts become simply a matter of different opinions. They don't have to escalate and can easily be forgotten. But learning how to manage conflicts requires training, and not many managers have this skill.
Happy employees know how to adapt and make the best of new conditions. They aren't attached to a place, team, or task. They can easily switch between duties and responsibilities without losing motivation or commitment. But if you were only exposed to one task and group of people, it would be harder to adapt to something new. Any disruption of flow increases stress levels and reduces performance. It is your role to spot these patterns and take action by providing people opportunities to improve their adaptability skills.
Some employees know how to work in a team; others don't. If you see an employee struggling to fit in and be part of the team, give them the chance to improve their teamwork skills. Teamwork is often evaluated in performance reviews, but it is rarely addressed. Also, people struggling with teamwork often lack other abilities such as emotional intelligence and communication skills. So, don't take teamwork as a given and give people the chance to learn and improve.
Expand of remote work showed how little we know about self-management. It is one of the vital areas to improve for employees. Alongside training and specialized courses, grant employees access to their work data, delegate tasks, and empower people with trust. Give them the knowledge and tools necessary for believing in their abilities, and they will take responsibility.
Self-management goes hand in hand with organizational skills. From how you arrange your workplace to how you plan your tasks, creating the right workflow improves performance and efficacy. Clutter and chaos don't help anyone. And sometimes, a little detail like where they keep the headphones can make a big difference in your employees' attitude towards work and overall mindset.
Analytic thinking is a way of looking at problems by breaking them down into simpler ones and using reason to solve them. It's an ability that allows one to gather and observe information, spot patterns, and solve problems step by step. Analytic thinking is required in many fields of activity such as software, design, business, and engineering. But it is a good-to-have ability in any area of activity. If you notice your employees struggle to understand and solve problems, an analytic thinking class may be the solution. Analytic thinking might be another excelent growth idea for your colleagues to consider.
Time is our most precious resource. All employees should be able to manage their time, and all leaders should aim to gain their employees more time. Time management includes the ability to prioritize important tasks, correctly evaluate how much time each task takes, and create a workflow that works for you. Like everything else, time management is something you learn, practice, and improve over time.
Focus is among the areas to improve because many employees face procrastination, boredom, and lack of efficiency. And the problem isn't always the employee. Sometimes it's the volume or quality of work that overwhelms them. Other times it is a hostile or disruptive work environment, stressful work relationships, the inability to voice their thoughts, or a medical condition. Teaching employees how to face their problems and gain focus at work is a big step toward a competitive business.
As stress is part of any work environment, knowing how to deal with it is a big plus for any employee. Because of too much work, employees often request stress leave to recover. Stress is a significant factor in procrastination, conflicts, and absenteeism. It affects employees' health and morale and makes them less engaged and more open to looking for another job. You can add stress relief to the list of areas to improve and encourage employees to spend more time in nature, volunteering, or practicing sports.
Leadership abilities are welcome even when employees aren't in a management position. They help them support their colleagues, be more proactive, take the initiative, listen to others' opinions, and manage their time better. Furthermore, by providing the opportunity to acquire leadership qualities, you acknowledge your employees and show confidence in their future.
Nowadays, computer literacy is a must, and many employers take it for granted. However, especially in non-technical businesses, many employees struggle with software and hardware they don't comprehend. Provide them training for all apps you expect them to be proficient in and use any opportunity to develop their computer skills. Employee self-service platforms for requesting leave and managing time off may be a good start.
Like computer literacy, the ability to speak a foreign language shouldn't be just a hiring request. You can help people grow their careers by providing foreign language classes. Employees may choose which new language they want to learn or between beginner and advanced levels. Learning a new language isn't just a practical matter. It also improves memory, focus, patience, problem-solving abilities, and morale.
Healthy and happy employees are more committed, hardworking, and efficient. But to be healthy and happy, employees need a good balance between work and personal life, healthy habits, and a good mindset. You can support them to improve in this area by offering gym passes, access to healthcare, well-being workshops, or life coaching. Remember that each employee is different and needs personalized opportunities for improvement.
It may seem that it is not your problem what food employees eat. But running on coffee, sweets, and fast food will eventually affect the employees' health and, indirectly, the company. You can help them live a healthier life by granting them access to nutrition classes, offering flexible work schedules, and providing healthy snacks.
Find below a summary of all the 20 areas of improvement that employers can consider for their workforce.
Looking for areas of improvement for employees should be a continuous preoccupation. But don't follow recipes and experts without filtering the information through your employees' real needs. Value their opinion and don't force anything on them. Instead, ask them what they need and how you can help. Be a good listener and build a healthy work environment for each individual.
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