Disclosure: Seasoned and Growing is reader-supported. Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means I may receive a commission if clicked at no extra cost to you. The funds I make help me create more helpful content for you. I only recommend products and services I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. You can read the full disclaimer here .
The workplace has changed drastically over the years. From the way we work, to the tools we use, down to where in the world we work, we’ve stumbled upon challenges along the way. The beauty of challenges is they bring opportunities for growth and improvement, when recognized and acknowledged. As a Leadership Coach and Organizational Development Consultant, I’ve seen some of the same challenges across industries. In this article, I’m going to share the Top 13 Most Common Workplace Challenges.
As many of us know, the workplace is a delicate balance between corporate making a profit, maintaining a strong competitive brand, and keeping employees satisfied. When juggling multiple priorities things tend to slip through the cracks if the proper support systems aren’t in place. As a natural problem-solver and consultant, I’m not only going to tell you what the problems are, but I’ll also provide suggestions on steps you can take to work towards solving these challenges. So, let’s dive in!
The workplace should be “one” vs. the goals. The best organizations understand that everyone should be working together, on the same page, and collaborating to meet a common goal. Whether that’s working towards the mission, making the next big sale, or saving the world, everyone should be looking for ways to help and support each other in the work.
Unfortunately, what often ends up happening is an increased divide between management and staff. Management believes they know best and issue orders without soliciting feedback. Employees who are on the front lines often feel unheard and disregarded. They end up feeling like management doesn’t see them, hear them, or value their contribution. Once this sets in, organizations begin to notice that employees are disengaged, disgruntled, and not as productive.
Solution: You can start by equipping your management team with the tools and strategies necessary for building a positive work culture among their specific teams. This effort alone will spread throughout the organization. Some of these skills included training on emotional intelligence, communication, and relationship building. Often, managers are thrown into senior roles without continuous training and support. With the proper training, the bond between management and staff can be harmonious.
In addition to providing support to your management team, consider doing the same for staff. Equipping professionals with trainings such as workplace civility, self-advocacy, communication, and personal development can help further the relationship between management and staff.
If you’re looking for an organization to provide Leadership Development Training or Leadership Coaching, check out my other company, Chelsea Jay Consulting.
You can also find local Organizational Development Consultants in your area by researching nearby agencies or utilizing LinkedIn!
Companies that suffer from high retention, disengaged employees, and toxic workplace cultures are those that struggle with poor leadership. What is poor leadership? It depends and can look different depending on the organization. Poor leadership practices can include:
The list can go on and on. This often happens due to promoting the wrong individuals. Traditionally, most promotions are due to an individual excelling in their current role, meeting company goals, or befriending another leader with hiring authority. Then once in the role, they often aren’t provided with honest feedback, corrective behavior plans, or training support. This results in a diminishing company culture and potentially a burnt-out and resentful leader.
Solution: For most professionals, more money is the primary motivation for promotion. Instead of making management roles the only ones that include a raise, think about creating advanced roles without the people management aspect. Also, reserve management roles for staff who truly want to be in people management roles.
Again, if you’re looking for support with developing current and future leaders, reach out to me and I’d be happy to help! Keep in mind, working on leadership development allows you to overcome common workplace challenges.
Often when there’s an organization-wide problem, everyone knows it. The trouble is, the problem usually goes unaddressed and begins to fester, ultimately turning into a larger problem.
For example, I once worked in an organization with a Director that verbally abused and embarrassed her staff on a daily basis. Staff became sick, depressed, turned on each other, and started missing work. Senior leadership knew what the problem was, but never addressed it or supported employees. Seven years later, the organization has a reputation for having a toxic work culture.
Solution: Set clear standards in place regarding behavior, ethics, and cultural values. If certain individuals cannot get on board with the culture and tone you’re trying to foster, be ready to provide additional support along with implementing a corrective action plan. If the plan cannot be met, have a solid policy in place for how you will remove people from the company.
Inadequate communication among leadership staff and team members can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts, and reduced productivity. Many employers and teams find themselves in a continuous game of telephone, which can be frustrating for everyone involved. Imagine a project where team members interpret the project requirements differently due to vague communication. This leads to confusion, delays, and frustration.
Solution: The goal is to get everyone on the same page, so try by implementing open communication channels. Examples include regular team meetings, digital collaboration tools, and encouraging questions. By fostering an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas and concerns, misunderstandings can be minimized, and teamwork enhanced.
When professionals come to me looking for new opportunities, one of the common reasons is due to a lack of work-life balance. This can be caused by both sides (employer and employee). For employees, striking a balance between professional and personal life is difficult, especially with the rise of remote work. Employees often find it challenging to disconnect from work, leading to burnout and mental health issues. For employers, the supervisors are often the ones who fail to promote the importance of time off and self-care to their team.
Solution: Yes, you’ll notice that I’m a big advocate for training and professional development. Why? It truly equips employees with the tools needed to thrive in the workplace. The right training can provide employees with a mindset adjustment regarding balance and self-care as well. In the meantime, encourage employees to set boundaries, have designated work hours, and take breaks. While the world is forcing “back to the office” policies, you can stand out as an employer by continuing to implement flexible work schedules and promote mindfulness practices like meditation and yoga to manage stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
In the world of remote and hybrid work, employee engagement has become even more challenging. Building relationships and forming connections has to be intentional. Engaging employees in their work is essential for their motivation and job satisfaction. Disengaged employees can lead to decreased productivity and creativity.
If not taken seriously, the consequences can be pretty extreme. For example, an employee feeling undervalued and unrecognized for their contributions might lose interest in their work, leading to decreased productivity.
Solution: The best solution involves regular communication with your team! I always tell leaders; your employees are your greatest problem solvers when it comes to employee engagement. Talk to them and ask them what they need, want, or require in order to be more engaged. Create an engagement committee that regularly solicits feedback from staff and implements programs and practices that drive employee engagement.
Also, don’t forget to recognize and reward employees for their achievements regularly. Offer opportunities for professional development and career growth, creating a sense of purpose and motivation to excel in their roles.
The best workplaces are melting pots! With having so many different backgrounds and cultures, you’re bound to run into language differences, which can hinder effective communication and collaboration. Misinterpretation of instructions due to language differences can lead to errors in a project, causing delays and affecting overall productivity.
Solution: Chances are you also serve a diverse audience. Look into partnering with a communications firm that can create materials in different languages. Also look into providing language training sessions and cultural workshops to enhance language proficiency and understanding. Encourage the use of simple language and visual aids to bridge communication gaps. There are many organizations and apps that can aid in this as well.
Believe it or not, time management is a essential skill. It is a skill that needs to be taught, refined, and regularly encouraged. Poor time management skills can lead to missed deadlines, rushed work, and increased stress levels. For example, an employee constantly multitasking and unable to prioritize tasks might miss an important deadline, affecting the entire team’s progress, which can ultimately impact the entire organization.
Solution: You can either bring in a professional for this or find an employee who is amazing at time management. This will help you to start conducting time management workshops to teach effective planning and prioritization. Encourage the use of to-do lists, time-blocking techniques, and project management tools to enhance productivity.
This is a breeding ground for a poor work culture and toxic environment. Negative attitudes, whether from employees or leadership, can create a toxic work environment, impacting morale and productivity. There’s often a root cause for this behavior and it needs to be investigated before it spreads. For example, a team member constantly criticizing others’ ideas without offering constructive feedback creates a hostile atmosphere, stifling creativity and collaboration.
Solution: Foster a positive work environment through team-building activities and positive reinforcement. Implement conflict resolution training to address negativity constructively and promote a culture of respect and cooperation.
Most employees admit to being overworked due to juggling multiple jobs at once. As a company, you may be trying to save money and utilize internal resources, but this strategy can quickly take a toll on employees. Excessive workload and constant pressure can lead to burnout, affecting both mental and physical well-being of staff. An employee juggling multiple projects, working long hours, and skipping breaks can experience burnout, leading to exhaustion, reduced productivity, and missed days. Ultimately, it can lead to that employee going on extended sick leave or finding a new role.
Solution: Encourage your managers to promote work-life balance among their teams. In turn, you should also encourage your managers to indulge in self-care and work-life balance. Create processes that allow you to monitor workloads, encourage breaks, and offer mental health support services. Implement stress management programs and promote a culture where employees feel comfortable discussing their challenges and seeking help.
The keyword for the past few years has been diversity and inclusion. While for many, this was only an initiative, I encourage organizations to commit to this long-term and embed this standard into the culture. For long-term success, diversity is needed. Why? Diverse teams bring different perspectives, understanding and appreciating these differences can be a challenge.
Solution: Focus on creating an open environment that allows workplace diversity to shine through! Implement inclusive policies and celebrate diversity. Conduct awareness programs to educate employees about different cultures, backgrounds, and communication styles. Encourage open dialogue and create an environment where cultural differences are embraced and diverse voices are heard and valued.
There are so many ways to communicate! Phone, email, text, instant message, etc. While having different methods is great, there’s also a downside that leads to workplace problems. Employees often face an overload of information, making it difficult to focus on essential tasks. For example, an employee bombarded with emails, notifications, and messages throughout the day struggles to concentrate on their core tasks, leading to decreased productivity.
Solution: For consistency and organization, try to streamline communication channels and provide guidelines on essential communication. Offer training on information management, emphasizing the importance of filtering and focusing on relevant data. Encourage employees to prioritize tasks and allocate specific times for checking emails and messages.
Among the common workplace challenges is employee retention. Most employers struggle in this area. Retaining top talent is challenging, especially in industries where skilled professionals are in high demand. Employers experienced this, especially during the great resignation of 2020 which should have been a strong reminder of the importance of having a positive organizational culture and compensating professionals accordingly.
Solution: As a Leadership Coach, I place a heavy focus on developing leaders who create environments that professionals WANT to stay in. Aside from having strong leaders and a positive work environment, compensation plays a strong role as well. Offer competitive benefits such as healthcare, retirement plans, and professional development allowances. Employees also value professional growth so make sure to create clear pathways for career growth within the organization, providing opportunities for skill development and advancement. Provide regular opportunities for staff to provide feedback, whether it’s an annual survey or “stay interviews.” Both can help organizations understand employees’ concerns and aspirations.
I hope you’re excited to play a role in shaping the future of work. The modern workplace requires intentional work in the form of using strategies, tools, and the right guidance to create a safe, healthy, inclusive, and welcoming culture. As an organization, your competitive advantage will be placing a focus on employee experience, employee satisfaction, hiring and training good leaders, providing staff with new skills, and embracing remote working.
These solutions will work for small business owners and large companies. With a strong foundation and vision for continuous improvement, your organization CAN overcome the top 13 common workplace challenges and experience long-term organizational success!
If you need support in overcoming these common workplace challenges, do not hesitate to reach out for more information. I’d love to work with you and your team!