What’s your biggest workplace frustration? Whatever it is, there’s a good chance you’re not alone: as we’ve worked with leaders of small- and medium-sized businesses over the years, we’ve noticed many of them share the same recurring headaches. Here are the four most common issues that keep business leaders up at night—and the best actions you can take to ease the pain.
Headache #1 – Lack of Community
Executing your business strategy requires teamwork and collaboration between departments. Most organizations understand this, but many still struggle to make a community out of their jumbled mix of people.
Modern technology doesn’t often help matters, either. We may seem more connected on the surface, but with less face-to-face interaction with coworkers, many employees end up feeling isolated. To remedy that, business leaders are becoming hyper-focused on developing culture and community inside their organizations.
The most effective way to build community in the modern workplace is to bring people together by opening lines of communication across entire organizations. Manager and employee one-on-ones, all-hands meetings, team-building workshops, and the occasional happy hour are several simple ways to get started.
Headache #2 – Not Knowing What You Don’t Know About Compliance
It’s often what you don’t know that can get you and your organization in hot water. That makes compliance a crucial part of running a business—and one that can cause a lot of anxiety. One legal slip-up or employee complaint could cause your world to come crashing down. It doesn’t have to be this way, though.
You and your company can be protected by installing a team of people who know the ins and outs of every law that affects your organization. These people can be employees or outside consultants. Beyond that, make sure all your managers have the necessary training they need to develop the skills and acquire the knowledge to stay in compliance and out of the mess of potential legal problems.
Headache #3 – Talent Acquisition & Retention
Every organization is almost constantly thinking about how to acquire and retain the right talent. Our current labor shortage makes the fight for talent feel like a long and complicated battle, which most organizations probably feel like they’re losing.
If you have people leaving in high numbers, first determine why. High turnover could be caused by any number of things; low compensation, lackluster benefits, weak leadership, and a lack of training opportunities can all contribute to an unhappy workforce. You will never know what your organization’s problem is until you ask.
When an employee departs, conduct an exit interview, and conduct “stay” interviews with current employees, too. Once you have several, examine them together, pull out any recurring themes, and address them with your leadership team. Also, conduct annual employee surveys to find out what your people want from work so you can benchmark employee happiness year over year.
Since having a great culture is often the recipe for acquiring and retaining talent, use the data you gather from surveys, exit interviews, and stay interviews to further develop your organization’s culture. If you have a great culture, people outside your company will notice, and they’ll want to be a part of it.
Headache #4 – Having the “Right” Employee Benefits
This is often closely related to headache #3. Addressing employee compensation and benefits is a never-ending pain for business leaders. Because of external market forces, expectations around pay change constantly. You’re probably tired of hearing about your competitors offering open beer kegs and unlimited PTO to lure in top talent, which you know wouldn’t suit your organization. So how do you figure out what you should offer so you can attract new people and satisfy your current talent?
Progressive employers are shifting to a “total rewards strategy” to determine how they will pay their people and what benefits they will offer. A total rewards strategy considers that not every employee will value high pay over strong and unique benefits, for example, and takes into account what your employees actually want. Organizations using the total rewards strategy regularly check the pulse on pay and other benefits based on market data on each position in the company. Pairing the total rewards strategy with routine surveys asking employees what they want for compensation and benefits is a great way to approach this issue.
Every organization has headaches like these, and some have it worse than others. Just remember that even the worst workplace headaches can be cured.
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