With a pragmatic shift in employees’ working habits across various sectors, companies and their employees are re-assessing their ways to improve productivity and efficiency. A company’s success hugely relies on its workforce. By investing in the areas of development and growth of your employees, you can get a skilled workforce, which would contribute to your organization’s efficiency.

Treat every employee as an individual. A holistic assessment of the employees should be done from time to time, identifying their strengths, and areas of opportunity for improving their productivity.

The following points provide suggestions for improvement in different areas which shall help you to assist your employees in developing an improved and efficient skill set for the workplace.

Prioritizing Tasks

To achieve a standard professional outcome, employees must avoid multitasking. Projects due in a week should be given greater attention than projects scheduled for the upcoming months. Even if the projects do not have a specified time limit, encourage your employees to set a time limit for themselves so that project deadlines do not clash with later commitments.

According to a Forbes article, multitasking causes productivity levels to dip by 40%, taking away employees’ attention and energy. Instead, encourage them to use time tracking apps to prioritize their tasks, identify their timelines, and set up project milestones.

Some great personal time tracking apps in 2021 are Everhour, Toggl, and Harvest.

Time Management

Effectively managing business hours can reduce the unwanted stress and timeline crash between different projects. Encourage your employees to plan their schedules ahead of time. If they have prior unfinished tasks lined up, allocate specific and limited time to such projects in addition to their original schedule. Allocating limited time for unfinished tasks would avoid work from piling up and keep the employees’ primary focus on their ongoing projects.

Ask the employees to keep track of the total time spent on different tasks, based on which they should plan and manage their schedule ahead of time. Some free time blocking apps for managing employees’ schedules are Google Calendar, Slack, Plan, Toggl, and Rescue Time.

Time Management as Areas of Improvement

Break Down of Tasks

Dividing an exhaustive project into smaller and easily manageable tasks with predefined time frames would help your employees perform the task with interest, rather than stress about performance expectations. Set realistic and time-specific goals for your employees. Check in regularly and determine their daily targets. Such exercise will also help in identifying their strengths and areas of improvement in a more refined manner.

One of the areas for improvement can be planning time for your employees to take some time off from work to relax (during extended business hours). Inspire your employees to develop new skills in their work, strive to achieve new goals, explore new areas of opportunities, and set a higher standard of results. Reward the workforce upon completion of any projects.

Key Performance Objectives

For employees to deliver expected results, they need to be on the same page as the rest of the team. A one-time strategy would not be suited to every employee’s needs. It is better to individualize the approach to motivate the employees to realize their areas of opportunities and improvements. Tailor your approach as per the needs of an individual employee. For instance, define the primary performance objective criteria: quality, speed, dependability, and flexibility. Discuss your employee’s requirements and expectations from the set standards of the organization. Ask what additional assistance they might need during onboarding before any project.

Such an approach gives a sense of support and outlook instills confidence and motivation in your employees. Guide them through a well-structured individual development plan which is mapped according to their required areas of improvement. Such a plan can include the employee’s intentions, learning outcomes, strategies, and symbolic interactionism.

Limit Distractions

Achieving consistent productivity throughout the day is not an easy task. With so many distracting elements around us, a reduced attention span is a predictable outcome. The Pomodoro Technique has proved to be one of the best techniques to cut out distractions and reclaim focus.

Focus Booster is a relevant app that works on the premise of the Pomodoro Technique and boosts motivation to complete tasks. MindNode is another app that lets one brainstorm thoughts and captures them into a clear picture.

Punctuality and Discipline

Setting up and following a routine at the workplace may help individuals overcome their shortcomings. Being punctual and disciplined may help employees achieve a higher consciousness and awareness to meet the job expectations and realize new areas of opportunity.

Guide the employees to assess their actions and approaches at the workplace, such as instilling punctuality in their routine. It may play a significant role in skyrocketing the overall performance within the organization.

Strong Work Ethics and Leadership

Strong work ethics and leadership are some of the essential components of ensuring a successful career. Apart from staying focused, motivated, and timely task completion, strong work ethics makes employees credible and turns them into strong managerial candidates in the long run.

Encourage employees to independently resolve issues when the situation demands, to develop leadership skills in employees. Turn their leadership roles into good examples and give them their much-deserved recognition and praise when due.

Working on Interpersonal Skills

Efficient communication among employees ensures a smooth flow of information and brings clarity to all tasks. Ensuring effortless communication between colleagues helps task completion. It may help them in deciding their action plans and decision-making. It will also facilitate coordination within the team and subsequently increase managerial efficiency.

Interpersonal skills can help employees communicate more efficiently and frequently. These skills will be useful for project planning and task allocations too. 

By holding frequent discussions, and company meetings employees can connect and get comfortable with their teams. Motivating them to present their ideas through speeches or during meetings can boost their morale to develop new innovative ideas and teach them to listen and accept a different perspective. One never knows what experiences and tales other employees might bring to the table as areas of opportunities for other employees. You can also set up a proper channel for communicating suggestions for improvement among employees.

Working on Interpersonal Skills as an Area of Improvement

Provide Constructive Feedback

Ask the supervisors to provide some feedback on their teammates’ work and areas to seek areas of improvement appraisal. This feedback shall act as a guiding force for young employees. It can help the workforce understand the work structure and the standard of work expected from them. Create some activity and logs relating to performance review, wherein the employees can make suggestions for improvement for their colleagues and likewise receive suggestions about their areas of improvement. They can then identify how to adjust their work approach and what additional opportunities for improvement are available for them, given their skill set. Such employee performance improvement suggestions will set the foundation for employees to assess their strengths and weaknesses and subsequently act on them.

Areas of improvement performance review examples can include different criteria such as time management, punctuality, teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, innovation, and creativity, etc. 

Ensure Cooperation among Employees

Cooperation among employees helps in the successful and timely completion of the tasks. It is the implicit element that pushes the jobs towards completion. When you motivate the employees to work on their interpersonal skills, you are also helping them become open-minded to different ideas and divergent perspectives. It further allows them to share ideas, offer creative solutions to complex issues, and resolve personal issues.

Organizing team-building exercises can help establish communication and cooperation among employees and help them deal with their social anxiety issues. Providing a platform for your employees to express their ideas via verbal exercises may motivate them to express their views on the actual projects. This ensures your employees that their voices will never go unheard.

Listening

I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.

Larry King

While excelling at communication is an achievement at any workplace, listening to others and understanding their stance is no less an art. Listening carefully to your colleagues allows the teammates to gain a better understanding of the tasks and appreciate suggestions for improvement. It helps them to comprehend the desired outcomes and adhere to the requirements of the superiors and the clients.

Proactive listening helps understand the broader perspectives of the projects and enables collating relevant facts that help in decision-making. Ensure that the employees understand the value of listening and reap its benefits in the workplace.

Writing

Written forms of communication are essential for professional interaction. Even though some jobs may not be heavily reliant on written communication, every job requires some level of writing for certain requirements, such as presentations, agreements, proposals, etc. Involve the workforce in understanding the basics of everyday written communication. Circulate a sample format of most commonly used written communication. 

Delegating Work

While an individual might be overburdened with numerous tasks at hand, some other employees might be sitting idle waiting for an assignment to come to them. If an employee is too overwhelmed with their work schedule, you can ask them to prioritize their work and regain their focus on a task with higher importance.

Meanwhile, you can delegate the lighter task to other employees who shall receive a chance to work and learn something new from the job. Such activities also instill trust and confidence, increase productivity, and enhance time management skills.

Delegating Tasks

Learning New Skills

Along with polishing existing skills, learning new skills ensures the intellectual development of employees. It helps the employees stay ahead and well-informed about industry trends. This also broadens their areas of opportunity and areas of improvement at the organization.

Assess the employees’ skills, track their progress at the firm, and initiate an open dialogue about the importance of learning relevant skills. Accordingly, provide resources and opportunities to the employees to learn and grow.

Flexibility

A flexible approach is another essential trait for employees. Excelling as a narrow specialist in a subject matter does not add much value to the employee’s worth at the organization. A flexible approach helps employees quickly adapt and settle in with any change in the functional requirements. It boosts the cognitive abilities of the employees and provides them with experiences different from their daily routine. Different experiences also open the mind to see new areas of opportunity for the employees.

Train your employees to become more flexible at their work. Job rotation can be a viable option. You can also run training programs where you introduce the workforce to different scenarios and encourage them to come up with creative problem-solving solutions to such problems. 

Engage with the Surroundings

A clean and well-organized desk would uplift positivity and save time and the stress caused by messy and disorganized desks. This will eventually reduce the optimal productivity level of the employees. Ask them to remove the clutter and properly organize their working desk by keeping only the required things around. This shall also reduce distraction and confine their attention to the crucial tasks of the day. Help the employees in creating a motivating environment by designing their workspace accordingly.

Dispute Resolution

Resolving any dispute between employees is necessary to remove any negativity that might creep into the working environment. Unresolved conflicts rob the employees of concentration. No one benefits from disorderly conduct, and teams start losing respect for one another. Dispute resolution should not be taken in a lighter vein in any manner, and steps must be taken to regulate the behavior of employees at the workplace.

Attempt initiating a dialogue between the two parties. Allow them to present their case and discuss the issues face-to-face to avoid any further confusion. Identify the main issue and reach a conclusion between the two conflicting parties.

Be Vocal about Requirements

Advocating about basic and standard requirements to complete the project should be no less of a cakewalk. Employees should feel comfortable enough to communicate their essential needs. Set this up as a healthy practice for the employees to come forward with any issues they might face that disrupts their productivity and concentration.

Establish an open route channel for communicating any grievances that a team faces while working on any projects, including lack of resources, budget, tools, or proper guidance. The authorities should provide a hospitable environment to the employees to communicate their issues, and duly address them. Let your employees know that it is alright to say “no” to an additional task if they are at capacity with other tasks.

Avoid Unnecessary Drama and Gossips

Working on your communication skills and building relations does not mean indulging in unwanted discussions. Such activities can seriously undermine the overall performance at work and waste time. Try not to engage in such communications and work your way around such discussions without disrupting your professional relations with employees. Becoming a part of unwanted politics and gossip can quickly shift the focus of employees from their work. Counter any such conversation at the earliest.

Try to include basic principles of life such as trust and honesty into the functioning of the organization. If every tier of the firm has the utmost trust in their colleagues, the work environment would be flourishing with positivity and an attitude of collective teamwork.

Comprehending Future Desires

After a point of time, the employee needs to see their role and contributions to the organization in retrospect. If they are not moving forward or cannot keep up with the advancement as the rest of the team, they need to assess their role in the profession.

Assist your employees in discovering their future expectations, and suggest how they can shift their approach to enjoy what they do. This could act as a building block to achieve their aligned interest in the organization.

Mental Health Awareness

Lastly and most importantly, mental health should always remain the topmost priority. Organizations with active mental health awareness experience better results from their workforce. As per existing research in this field, mental health issues cause increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, and cost employers. Look out for your employees and support them if they are struggling with mental health issues.

Key Takeaways on Areas of Opportunity and Improvement for Employees

If an individual or team’s quality of work has taken a hit, allow them a break for themselves. Encourage them to maintain their physical health by engaging in different physical exercises, drinking sufficient water, and having at least 8 hours of sleep. Productivity is directly proportional to the ability to relax. Engaging in mental health awareness promotes positivity and increased productivity in your workplace.

There are numerous areas where the management can improve the performance of their employees. Areas for improvement on job reference are a significant aspect of this. Prioritize your employees’ intellectual and professional development so that they share a credible relationship with your organization in the future as well.

Employees are the biggest assets of any organization. They push your business towards profitability and utilize their physical and intellectual labor to provide efficiency and perfection to your business. Investing in the areas of growth and development of your employees is not an unworthy investment; instead, it will provide you with remarkable results at every step of your business journey.

Eventually, an investment in your employees is an investment for securing a bright future for your business.

Reading Suggestions 

You can also circulate some bestsellers among your employees to motivate them for improved productivity and efficiency. Check it out below:

  • Getting Things Done by David Allen: Available on Amazon | Goodreads
  • Rework by Jason Fried: Available on Amazon
  • Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg: Available on Amazon | Goodreads
  • Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charle Duhigg: Available on Amazon
  • Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Available on Amazon