Communication is the Key with Overworked Staff

Posted: 10.16.2015
An Article By: Colleen Clarke, Corporate Trainer and Career Specialist

The downsizing of the 90’s has resulted in too few people doing too much work. Now in 2006, retention is a key concern to busy workplaces. If you want to keep your staff, and make them feel appreciated, you may want to follow some of these guidelines.
  • Be the one to bring it up. Verbally acknowledge your people for their hard work, extra hours and diligence and tell them there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Take a breath at the end of each day and THINK for one minute who you might congratulate or heap accolades upon. Not acknowledging contributions may lead to resentment.
  • Explain the reasons behind the heavy workload. Tell what you know about the work crunch and how long you believe it will last. Don’t under play time frames to look like the good guy. Let staff know what the situation is and what options, if any, they have to work within.
  • Ask for their input. Encourage ownership of the work by soliciting ideas for helping make it through this difficult time. Those in the trenches know more about the situation then those outside looking in. When you can get people to take ownership for their assignments and responsibilities chances are there will be less complaining and higher productivity.
  • Provide them with extra resources. Supply the correct and necessary equipment that is needed to get the work done as quickly and professionally as possible. It takes a lot longer to sweep the floor with a toothbrush than with a broom. Encourage internal and external networking to ensure the best resources are at hand and on your side when needed. Build a Community of Practice group within the organization
  • Offer to help and do your best to pitch in. Be a hands-on member of the team, stay late, buy pizza, staple and collate along with those working over time. There is no “I” in the word team or team leader.
  • Be the first to offer to drop low-priority projects. Cut as much of the routine work as possible so everyone can concentrate on the high priority jobs until they are done. Assess the importance of routine job deadlines to see if they really need to be done at all and as regularly as programmed.
  • Turn it into a game. Play rock and roll music; have time trials to see who can do xxx the fastest or most accurately, then award a prize. Incorporate some humor into the tone of your voice, maybe some sarcastic quips about toil and drudgery, tongue in cheek of course, and the odd rubber chicken hidden throughout the office is always good for a yelp or two!
  • Incorporate an Award program. Have an Employee of the Week or Month award, give out movie passes, restaurant certificates, days off on birthdays, offer time in lieu, telecommuting, cross training and telecommuting.

When it is all over, acknowledge, praise and provide rewards to people for pulling the department through.
Colleen Clarke, Corporate Trainer and Career Specialist
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