There are a variety of issues both managers and employees encounter in the workplace. Some are ethical issues, while others are more technical in nature. Some issues are much more mundane, such as offending odors in the office. While it is the responsibility of management to take steps to combat workplace issues, employees also have a responsibility to speak up when they recognize issues that contribute to or may eventually lead to problems.
Common issues such as conflict in the workplace can have a significant impact on the bottom line. Workers who consistently face conflict or other obstacles in their day-to-day activities experience low levels of job satisfaction. This has a negative impact on productivity and performance, which also affects the bottom line. High turnover is yet another costly byproduct of unmanaged or mismanaged workplace issues. Employees who experience frequent frustrations in the workplace over long periods of time with no hope for change may eventually leave the organization.
The variety of workplace issues that may negatively impact the organization can be difficult to manage. Ethical issues in the workplace include sexual harassment and discrimination as well as theft and fraud. Poor communication, a lack of training and the lack of the proper tools needed to get the job done are also common issues. Workplace relations, including managers favoring particular workers, office romances and workplace bullying can all have an impact on the success of the organization as a whole.
If you are a manager who is looking for ways to counter your most common workplace issues, it is essential to take responsibility for your own role in each situation. For example, in 2004 the National Bureau of Economic Research released a report finding that "bad attitudes" exhibited by employees are often the result of poor management communications. In fact, the study found that workers who enter a workplace with a "good attitude" were continually tainted by the poor attitudes around them. A manager who complains constantly about the attitudes of her workers should examine her own role in creating those attitudes.
Many workplace issues are interrelated and can be countered by developing a positive organizational culture. For example, if there is a major gap between the espoused culture and the actual culture of the organization, this will lead to a workplace environment of fear and mistrust. It is important for managers to lead by example, open the lines of communication and take steps to ensure workers have everything they need to complete their work on a day-to-day basis. This can be achieved by conducting a cultural analysis and developing a strategic plan to close the cultural gap.
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