Your Employees’ Biggest Frustrations and How to Deal With Them

September 6, 2016, 12:00 AM UTC
A business man tearing his hair out in frustration, 24 November 2000. AFR GENER
(AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND OUT) A business man tearing his hair out in frustration, 24 November 2000. AFR GENERIC Picture by GABRIELE CHAROTTE. (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
Fairfax Media Fairfax Media via Getty Images

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Everyone wants to believe their employees are happy, productive and well-equipped in the workplace, but there could be unseen employee frustrations. Acknowledging and addressing these frustrations gives the opportunity for greater employee happiness and gained productivity.

A June Oxford Economics study found a gap between how employers and employees view their workplace experience — 63 percent of the 600 executives surveyed think their employees have the tools needed to filter out distractions, whereas only 41 percent of the 600 employees surveyed think those tools are provided.

A disconnect between employers and employees leads to a heightened number of frustrations, for both employee and employer. Lack of communication increases the amount of turnovers, decreases quality, and slows production. To increase productivity and employee happiness, employers need to know the biggest frustrations employees are dealing with on a day-to-day basis.

Here is a peek into the unseen world of employee frustrations:

1. Tech integration.

Technology is inescapable in the workplace which can be a major issue. A June study by Staples (SPLS) found 89 percent of 3,105 employees surveyed said they aren’t provided with the latest technology. Also, the aforementioned Oxford Economics survey found that 39 percent of employees are frustrated with work technology.

Employees want better integration and the latest technology to enhance their job performance.

Make investing in newer technology a priority to avoid major tech hurdles, increase productivity, create job satisfaction and improve engagement. How can employees be held to the highest set of standards if computers are crashing and out-of-date technology is bringing their day to a halt?

Find out what common tech issues employees are dealing with, then set a tech standard for the company and make a budgeted plan to integrate tech upgrades. Including educational opportunities will help employees stay up-to-date and decrease frustrations with attempting to figure out new software.

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2. Office distractions.

The previously mentioned Oxford Economics study found only 41 percent of employees feel they have the tools needed to filter out distractions. The best way to determine what’s distracting employees is simply to ask.

Listening to what employees are saying and making necessary suggestions or modifications helps defeat unproductive habits. If it’s noisy, encourage headphones. If email alerts are being checked the second they arrive, suggest dedicating a specific time to them. If another employee is the distraction, address the situation to better the work environment.

Most importantly, ask each person what frustrations they have specifically. Services like ClanBeat facilitate discussions between employers and employees, promoting the tie between communication and productivity.

3. Busy work.

Creating prospect lists, tracking sales calls, outlining ideas; every business has tasks employees consider meaningless. It’s frustrating when employees can’t see the goal behind completing certain duties, which leads to reduced quality in this type of work. Employers assign these tasks for specific reasons, but most employees have never seen what happens to the information once it’s been submitted.

Giving an employee the opportunity to be in the manager’s shoes presents a moment of bonding and understanding. When asking for the completion of a prospect list, explain to the team why it’s necessary to continue filling it out, the process that happens once it’s been handed in, how long the process takes, and how these lists have helped generate business in the past.

Seeing the entire picture enhances the scope of possibilities for an employee to create connections between tasks, boosts productivity and forges a better bond between employee and employer.

Read more from Fortune: Here’s the Secret to How the Best Employers Inspire Workers

4. Work-life boundaries.

An employee’s overall happiness greatly affects frustrations at work, so it’s important not to ignore work-life balance issues. The Oxford Economics study found while 52 percent of employees say their work-life balance is very important, only 34 percent of executives say their employees value balance. This disconnect interferes with the well-being of employees and creates distress within the company.

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Show employee balance matters by setting email curfews, and respect their time out of the office. When an employer lets employees know they care about their life outside of work, a sense of trust and balance is gained.

Establishing an open door policy will enhance this trust and balance. Give employees the opportunity and comfortability to speak on any topic to promote work-life balance while in the office.