3 common workplace ailments and their cures

A negative business culture not only creates low morale amongst employees, but also inevitably results in negative outcomes for your business. Research published in the Australian Psychological Society's journal  notes that levels of employee morale directly contributes to a range of people and performance-related outcomes.

In light of this information, it's important to ensure that your workplace is happy and healthy in order to boost employee engagement and productivity. Here are some common workplace complaints and how to address them:

"My manager/organisation doesn't communicate frequently with me."

According to corporate leadership expert Barron Stark, it's better to over-communicate with employees rather than under-communicate with them. This makes staff feel like they're being included in any decision-making process, even if they're not personally involved - if they are, they should be informed on the "big picture" of the situation. Mr Stark believes that by doing this, managers can deal effectively with worry and fear, and thus improve workplace morale.

"Supervisors should over-communicate what is going well and the reality of the situation at the company. They should say: Here's where we're at, here's what we're doing and here's my vision of how we'll manoeuvre through this."

 "I don't get paid enough."

According to the 2013 salary and employment report released by recruitment company Hudson, nearly four in five employees in Australia and New Zealand indicate they are taking on more work without being financially compensated for it. Additionally, 43 per cent of job seekers would stay in their current role if they received a pay rise.

However, it's essential to separate unreasonable demands from the employees who genuinely feel they are underpaid, particularly if they juggle multiple responsibilities and have to work after-hours to complete tasks. More often than not, small business owners have limited funds allocated to salary raises and so it's important to differentiate between employees who deserve a pay rise and those who don't.

It's also necessary to foster an environment where staff are comfortable speaking to you about a raise, and subsequently have an open discussion on whether a pay rise is justified or not. If it is, you're recognising their contribution to the business and making them more engaged with their workplace, improving employee loyalty.

"My workload is too heavy."j0438650

In this climate of cost-cutting and economic uncertainty, businesses are allocating more and more responsibilities to less staff. The Hudson survey also found that three-quarters of employers would not replace roles if a team member left, but continue to spread additional work amongst remaining staff. Increasingly, employees are overworked, resulting in irritability, fatigue and lower quality of work.

Some ways employers can help their staff reduce their workload include:

  • Capping the number of hours an employee can work per week.
  • Potentially outsourcing some of their tasks, e.g. administrative duties.
  • Being flexible with annual leave and in some cases, give them an extra day off to recharge.
  • Prioritise the most important tasks and allocate less important ones to be completed later in the week.

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