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Employee Concerns offer Opportunities to Improve

For the most part, I believe organizational leaders want to do the right thing for their employees and organizations. Unfortunately, there are times when we get so caught up in our habits that we don’t think about how they can affect others. It’s easy to put blinders on and not see things from different perspectives.

Have you had an employee complain about an issue at work, either something about a policy or some action taken by a manager or others? Two or more employees making similar complaints?

I was catching up on some events making the news over the last few days and saw issues across the country ranging from a case of harassment based on musical choices (the type of music played in an organization) to actions taken by managers that caused issues with their employees, to outdated policies that needed to be changed. My guess is that either management ignored complaints until employees felt they had to take legal action or management just didn’t seem to think the issues were serious enough to warrant attention or managers felt they were too busy to deal with the problem.

Listen to your employees when they’re talking to you! If they have concerns, make sure you’re hearing them and doing what you can to fix the situation. If their concern seems trivial to you, stop the judgement, and ask questions until you better understand their point of view. I’m not suggesting that any and all complaints are valid and should cause action, but complaints can be an opportunity to make improvements. Even one employee concern needs to be looked at, but if you have more than one employee voicing similar concerns, it’s likely that a change should be made.

If an employee (or employees) questions something that provides a specific business purpose, it may be an opportunity for additional education or an explanation of expectations. If it doesn’t provide a specific purpose, maybe it’s time for a change that could improve the culture or productivity.

Rethink your habits and/or the “habits” of your organization. Are they still valid? Would changes lead to improvement? And use employee feedback for constructive change.

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