9 Vital Areas of Improvement for Employees

Mike Kulakov, October 14, 2020
Areas of Improvement

One of the most effective ways to spur a company’s growth and enhance brand recognition is investing in your team’s growth. In this article, we’ll explore:

✅ Why you should focus on training your staff;
✅ What are some areas of improvement to focus on;
✅ What are the examples of areas of improvement at work.

Areas of Improvement at Work – Why Bother?

By investing in developing your workers’ skill sets and knowledge, businesses nurture unique and experienced specialists. In turn, these specialists improve company performance with their talents and efficiency, making enterprises thrive. 

Another great benefit that companies get when focusing on employees’ areas of improvement is employee retention. This way, the workers realize that their companies care about their development and promotion, making them stay at their positions longer. 

Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don’t want to.

Richard Branson

What Kinds of Opportunities for Improvement Are There?

Before getting to the top 9 list of areas of improvement for your employees, let’s identify what areas of improvement are.

Areas of improvement represent a variety of skills and qualities that employees can develop or improve whether on their own or with the help of their managers. Each worker is an individual. They need their own set of areas of development at work. This means that a manager and an employee can define areas of improvement on a personal level. This helps workers understand what skills they might lack in their positions and align their development goals with the company’s objectives. 

Along with businesses, employees also benefit from areas of improvement. As staff take up opportunities for improvement and start developing their skills, they quickly improve their productivity and may take on new responsibilities. 

Although each staff member’s skill set may need upgrading individually, there are some common areas of improvement for employees in every company that stand the test of time. These include:

  • Time management skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Communication skills
  • Cooperation skills
  • Active listening
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Flexibility
  • Leadership

Top 9 List of Areas of Improvement for Your Employees

Let’s have a closer look at each area of improvement. Find out why they are important and how to level up successfully.

Time management 🕒

Time management is an essential skill for employees in any workplace. When workers manage their time wisely, they reduce their stress levels, avoid chronic fatigue syndrome, and get things done for your business.

👉 Why is time management important? Employees should know how to effectively schedule their tasks, create timelines, and estimate their task length. The better your employees are organized, the more activities they can do throughout the day. Therefore, it’s essential to teach your workers and team how to manage their time.

👉 How can your employees level up their skills? There are lots of activities and strategies you can take for time management. These are some of our favorites: 

  • Keep a to-do list with tasks and deadlines;
  • Avoid distractions such as social networking or unmuted messages;
  • Track clock in/out time, which is especially true for hourly-paid specialists;
  • Use the Pomodoro technique to avoid work overload.
everhour
All-in-one time management system for your team

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Organizational skills 📝

Organizational skills and time management are closely linked. When organizing tasks, employees need to assign deadlines based on how much work can reasonably be done in one day. Overestimate, and people are left disappointed. Underestimate, and productivity suffers.

👉 Why are organizational skills important? Organizational skills help workers stay more focused on the most essential tasks and better prioritize them. It can be done in a form of simple to-do lists, scheduling in calendars and on kanban boards. 

👉 How can your employees level up this skill? There is a wide range of techniques that can help your employees train their organizational skills. They can learn how to:

  • Avoid multitasking; prioritize tasks and accomplish them one at a time;
  • Use time-blocking technique, to-do lists, and kanban boards to make daily, weekly, and monthly working schedules;
  • Organize properly their working space by removing clutter and keeping only the needed things around;
  • Switch to digital time tracking apps. With these apps, your employees can easily prioritize tasks, establish their dependencies, and follow them in sequence, define project milestones, and all that can be accessed on a mobile phone online.

Using time tracking apps encourages your employees to organize their tasks better and track them in a project. They also help your workers worry less on their rest days as they can check their timetables away from work at any time.

Communication 💬

Another one of the key areas of improvement at work for an employee is expressing themselves clearly. Both written and verbal forms of communication are equally essential due to the increasing need for soft skills and the ability to use modern technologies such as messengers.

👉 Why is communication important? It shows others how professional an employee is and how well they know their work. Besides that, communication helps to avoid any conflicts and confrontations at work. 

👉 How can your employees level up this skill? Verbal communication requires a lot of practice. But you’re employees can level up their skills with: 

  • Frequent public speeches and company meetings. Public speaking is hard, especially for introverts, as they usually feel worried and uneasy. But this feeling can be overcome with good preparation. For example, employees can use Monroe’s motivated sequence outline when preparing presentations for the next meeting to feel prepared and in control. 
  • Team communication. One more great way to develop verbal communication is to organize team-building games. This way employees can lower their social anxiety levels. It becomes easier for them to express themselves as they get to know their colleagues better and are less likely to be worried when communicating.
team management games
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Cooperation 🤝

Cooperation helps idea-sharing, meaning you can uncover some great, creative solutions to problems. But to get these insights your employees should know how to work in a team effectively. That means that they need to learn how to listen to their colleagues, solve project problems with others, resolve interpersonal conflicts, and more.

👉 Why is cooperation important? Cooperation is a skill that moves projects. As almost every project is done in a team, your employees need to cooperate to achieve results. 

👉 How can your employees level up this skill? Your employees can learn how to cooperate through:

  • Team building activities that help your employees unite and get to know each other better
  • Adoption of a collaborative policy applicable to every worker in the company. It helps to ensure that your employees aren’t afraid to express themselves and that even the most outrageous business idea will be heard and evaluated.
why is collaboration important
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Listening 👂

This is an integral skill that is a must-include in the communication and cooperation areas of improvement. While being able to talk well is great, being able to listen to others and actually hear what they’re saying is an art.

👉 Why is listening important? Active listening is an essential skill that helps understand what others say, give considered responses, and remember the necessary information for later. It requires lots of concentration and switching off the auto mode our brain loves so much.

👉 How can your employees level up this skill? For anyone who wants to improve active listening skills, they can:

  • Minimize distractions. By putting away all the gadgets when talking to others, appoint a time for especially important conversations, and avoid noisy colleagues.
  • Use non-verbal communication cues. Look into people’s eyes during a conversation, use gestures and positive body language, ask questions to find out more information, and reformulate sentences in case you don’t understand something. 

These golden rules can significantly enhance comprehension when listening to others. And it’s a good practice that could be established at all levels in your company. 

Professional development 👨‍💼

Continued training and non-stop self-development is becoming the new norm today. The professionals who want to meet labor market demand have to study new things throughout their careers.

👉 Why is the employees’ professional development important for your company? Self-motivation to study is a distinct sign that an employee is strongly interested in their work. 

👉 How can your employees level up this skill? As a business owner, you could help your employees to learn something new by:

  • Establishing extra courses outside working hours
  • Sending your employees to study related to their work subjects 
  • Relocating workers to other company teams or company’s subsidiaries. This cross-cutting exchange would broaden your workers’ experiences as well as motivate the newcomers to get to this level.

Giving and receiving feedback 📢

This is an integral part of any workplace improvement. It helps workers and teams see the mistakes they make at work and encourages them to find new ways to resolve them. 

👉 Why is giving and receiving feedback important? The purpose of giving feedback is simple. It aims at improving employee’s performance. Although, not every employer can give quality feedback to their employees. It’s a very subtle thing that requires mastering if you don’t intend to offend your employees.

👉 How can you and your employees level up this skill? Make sure it isn’t ‘personal.’ Being able to give a receive feedback is a true soft skill. Try these techniques to help both you and your team get it right:

  • Assign a mentor to a struggling employee to help them improve
  • Create a performance improvement plan so that your team member can improve their work step by step
  • Make sure, when feedback is delivered it isn’t personal and seeks to solve concrete issues, not personal problems 
performance improvement plan
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These techniques help to minimize possible negative emotions while encouraging an employee to learn and do better next time.

Flexibility 👌

To run a business smoothly, you’ll need your team to be ready to adapt quickly. Flexibility isn’t just about multitasking when one employee is responsible for multiple duties. It’s more about the willingness to learn new things and see how to resolve an issue in many ways. Improving flexibility might be stressful, but it’s an essential skill to be able to work in any circumstances.

👉 Why is flexibility important? Flexibility helps your workers adapt quickly to any working conditions, whether it’s a new schedule, people, or a workplace. It’s part of stress resistance and helps your team solve problems if something goes wrong.

👉 How can your employees level up this skill? Being more flexible, within reason, take time and energy to master. To target this key area of improvement for employees, you can try these techniques:

  • Help your employees master the art of changing from one task to another
  • Remind them that flexibility is a good thing in personal and professional life, you can do this by running stress training and other activities
  • Encourage your employees’ creative problem-solving. For example, you can do it by arranging strategic games or business case training

Leadership 👑

Why do we talk about leadership as an essential skill for any employee – not only a manager? Well, because, arguably, we need to learn leading ourselves in order to be able to lead others:

Among all the improvement areas above leadership is the most versatile. It involves set of qualities starting from great communication ending to encouraging cooperation and effective issue handling. That’s why practicing leadership involves the development of all the skills listed above.

👉 Why is leadership important? Encouraging individual and independent problem-solving is as important as promoting cooperation among your employees. When your team consists of cooperative individuals who are ready to take up a leadership position any minute, you form a decentralized cooperation system in your company. This means that each employee can handle issues on their own while being able to easily switch to working in a team.

👉 How can your employees level up this skill? You can develop leadership in your employees by:

  • Arranging team building events where employees need to take charge and solve issues within a team
  • Encouraging your workers to participate in nonprofit organizations, do fundraising, or enroll in leadership courses after work.

Areas of Improvement: Wrap Up

Employees are the most valuable asset of any company. They are the ones that represent your business on the market and use their time and energy to make your business work to perfection. That’s why it’s not only important to invest in employee improvement areas. It’s a must! 

By putting time, effort, and finances into employees’ improvement, companies are investing in the future of their business.

Mike Kulakov

IT entrepreneur, executive and a former engineer. Responsible for company growth as well as the team’s motivation. Big fan of playing tennis, snowboarding, traveling, reading books, and (of course) I live and breathe our product.