I have a client who is always complaining to me about getting frustrated with a couple of his employees that seem to have focus issues. We have all worked with these kinds of people, they have trouble concentrating on one task and get really frazzled when they have too many things to do. So what are they doing wrong? What can they do to always remain focused. Here are three solid tips that helped my client and can help you too.
Tip # 1: Handle mistakes with care!
Sometimes focus issues can be linked to fear of making mistakes. More importantly, how mistakes are handled by the employer once an employee makes a mistake. Is your management style like a dog? Do you bark at your employees when they screw up? If so, you could be contributing to their focus issues. Why you ask? When employees can't keep their attention on a task, believe it or not, they are afraid of finishing something and have their boss yell at them that it is no good. Instead, they bounce around to different projects, hoping that this might impress you more. Create an environment for your employees that actually encourages healthy mistakes. Stress to them that everyone is human and mistakes are a part of life and growth. This kind of culture allows employees to take the pressure off and actually do their job.
Tip # 2: Assign workload accurately
Do you regularly give your employees more work than they can handle? If so, this could be the cause of your focus issues. Giving your employees more work will only lead to anxiety and ultimately performance issues. Are they bouncing around from one job to the next just because you are giving them too much to do? Should you hire a helper or another employee to help with the workload? Some signs that you are giving too much work are the following: regular overtime or working late, customer dissatisfaction and frequent illnesses. It might be more practical and cost effective to hire someone else to help than burdening the same employee or employees with too much work.
Tip # 3: Walk a mile in their shoe
Sometimes managers are so far removed from the jobs that their employees are performing that they can lose sight of all its nuances. Is it a stressful job? Are customers overly demanding? Are you overly demanding? Would it help the employee if you had regular conversations about their day to day demands and find out if it is the structure of the job causing focus issues. Walking a mile in the employee's shoes allows you to see first hand what they are experiencing and allows them to see that you care.
If your employee is having focus issues, don't just assume that the problem is all them. Fathom the idea that you their manager might also be at fault. Examine how you deal with them first before casting blame. Focus issues are fixable...
The days of having lifetime employees are probably a thing of the past. That concept died with the aging population. People like my mom who worked for the same company for over 25 years, even when working conditions were not so great. Employees nowadays are looking for more in their employment and are generally not settling. As an employer, it is often challenging to keep people and motivate them for years to come. So what are some of the signs of an employee looking to find another job?
Taking more days off
Are you noticing that your generally consistent employee is now taking more days off? This is a sure sign that your employee might be going on multiple job interviews elsewhere. As an employer, you should not panic! This might be an opportunity for you to have an open conversation with your employee about what their future looks like at your firm. Discuss such things as how valuable they are to the team. Give them a written plan on what opportunities if any exists for them with your firm in 6, 9 or 12 months. This might allow them to keep your employment on the list!
The Click Off
We have all done the "Click Off" at work! Browsing the internet when we should be working and hurrying to click off the browser when you see or hear your boss coming. This might be a tell tale sign that your employee is looking for work on your dime. If your company has a policy about online surfing at work, then you should have a conversation with your employee about how they are using their time at work. Help them to understand that although they are unhappy, they are still employed by your firm and as such should focus more on their tasks at hand.
The obvious signs of boredom
There comes a time when the look of boredom and lack of challenge becomes too obvious on your employee's face. Sometimes, it is just time for them to move on. If you have room within your company for growth, then use this opportunity to get your employee more excited about work and their time there. Can they be moved laterally if not up? Or can you give them more responsibilities to cure the boredom? Every job has some elements of boredom and there is nothing you can do about certain tasks, but can you make some tasks more exciting?
Remember that as an employer, you have several responsibilities to your employees. You have to balance your fiscal responsibility with their mental health. Having constant dialogue with your employees with the added element of putting yourself in their shoes is very important. Share with them often allowing them to create a vested interest in the company, this will go a long way in curving turnover. The human experience is not one dimensional and we must all navigate it together!
Many employers are still under the faulty impression that making their employees sit at a desk and put in 40 traditional hours per week equals productivity. I am here to tell you that the traditional 40 hour work is very outdated. Here are the reasons why!
It does not account for modern technology.
Having employees commute in every day and sit in traffic only to sit at a computer and do work that they could easily do from home does not make sense. With the advancement of the internet and having access to information at our fingertips, if your employee is able to work from home based on the job that they do, then let them. Commuting makes people angry especially during winter months. If your employees are angry then they are not productive...
It does not account for work-life balance
With the working family having kids and having to balance all the demands of family life and work, having employees work eight hours per day, five days per week is sometimes not the practical thing to do. What I suggest is moving towards a system that will allow them to work around their family obligations. Allow them to finish tasks at varied hours outside of the traditional 9 to 5 setup. This suggestion goes hand in hand with the use of modern technology. Again, if an employee has a position that allows flexibility in the times that the work can be done, then allow him or her to do so. Giving them the flexibility to prioritize work and family life will create happier and more productive employees.
It does not account for the learning curve
Let's face it,if your employee has been doing the same job for years, they probably can do it with their eyes closed. Why subject seasoned employees to the same learning curve hours as novices. If these employees are not promote-able meaning maybe there's no room to go up, give them another reason to enjoy doing what they do. Such as allowing them to do their work in the actual time needed to make it successful. If after years of doing their job and it only takes 32 hours for example instead of 40 hours, then make the work week 32 hours. Here's what is really happening when you force employees to work 40 hours when they only need to work 32 or 30, they spend a lot of time doing other things on your time. Things such as surfing the net or using social media just to make up the time.
It focuses too much on quantity not quality
When people are forced to work more than necessary, it creates a watch the clock system not a watch the task system. What if you could still get the same quality work from your employees in a fraction of the time. Would it not make more sense to incorporate this kind of mental of quality not quantity. For example, if you set a quota for your telemarketing department that they have to book 2 appointments per day or 10 appointments per week. What difference does it make if they accomplish this quota in 30 hours for the week as oppose to 40. Are they not accomplishing the same results in less time?
I am not saying that you should encourage employees to do less work if you ditch the traditional 40 hour work week. Nor am I encouraging cutting employee salary or pay just because they can accomplish the necessary work in less time. I am rather encouraging employers to see the traditional work week for what it is- not a one size fits all. Be flexible and incorporate ideas into your work environment that makes sense... not just follow the norm.
Dahlia Drummond is a wife and mother of three children ranging in age from 19 to 3 and another one due any day. She has a Business Management Degree from Ryerson University. Her approach in life is to keep things simple. She believes that every problem has a solution, even if the answer is to do nothing. She has been supporting small businesses for over 15 years. Click here to contact her.
Having a small business with a limited amount of employees means that everyone has to wear
many hats. It also means that you most likely have limited resources. Not every function within
your organization requires having a full-time employee dedicated to that function. Bookkeeping
is one of those functions that should in most cases be outsourced to a professional firm. Here
are four great reasons why you should outsource your Bookkeeping?
It will save you money
Outsourcing your bookkeeping to a professional firm will actually save you money in the end.
Most bookkeepers depending on their skill level and what you need them to do will costs
anywhere from $15-$25.00 per hour. Having a full-time employee doing your bookkeeping will
costs you that and all the other hidden costs associated with having an employee. Costs such as payroll remittances, vacation pay, workplace safety insurance and sick days. In most cases you are paying an employee even when they are not there.
It provides flexibility
If your business is seasonal or goes through cycles when you are more busy than other times,
having an outsourced Bookkeeper will allow your firm to adjust your costs based on your cycles.
Which means that during your months where it is slow, you would not have as much billable
hours from your bookkeeper, giving you more flexible cash flow. If you have a dedicated
employee, you will have to pay them whether your business is slow or not.
It will save on professional development
When you have employees, you as the employer is responsible for their professional
development. Courses to ensure that they have the most updated government and tax
regulations. If you hire a professional bookkeeping firm, it becomes their costs and their
responsibility to ensure that they are current. Again, another way to save.
It will save on desk space
When you use an independent bookkeeper, you most likely will not have to create a dedicated
space for him or her. With the advancement of modern technology and the use of web based
accounting softwares, most bookkeeping can be done remotely. This means your bookkeeper
will have their own dedicated office space off site, which you will not be responsible for.
Most companies struggle with the idea of outsourcing vs in house. Deciding to outsource has to
make sense. Ask yourself, will it save me money in the end?With bookkeeping it is a no brainer.
Look for a firm that is progressive and communicates well with your organization and most
importantly knows what they are doing.
Are you looking to find out if our outsourced Bookkeeping services are right for you? Contact us
here today for a free evaluation.