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7 workplace challenges and how to overcome them

By Fi Darby | 02 November 2021

All businesses face workplace problems. Whichever industry you work in, your organisation is a complicated entity influenced by external pressures, as well as issues in the workplace. 

Learning how to overcome challenges at work can make the difference between an effective high-performance business and a problem low-productivity one. 

We take a look at seven common workplace problems and give you some top tips on how to focus on, and ultimately find solutions to them.

What are some common workplace challenges?

1. Problems with communication and relationships.

Just as in any other aspect of life, strong working relationships really matter. Not only do they help overcome stress and improve mental health in the workplace, they also contribute to a professional workplace environment and underpin positive employee behaviour. 

In other words, healthy working relationships and strong communication skills result in improved focus and productivity.

2. Executive uncertainty in a changing world.

If the last couple of years have taught us anything, it's how unpredictable the world of business can be. From global to hyper-local, challenges related to change are all around us. The professional workplace you need today might look very different to the one you valued so much yesterday.  

From business leader to supervisor to employee, this level of uncertainty can cause a range of employer problems if you don't plan for it.

3. Concerns about technology and innovation.

business world concept

Keeping up with technological advancement can cause work issues at any level of an organisation. Executive fears about competitive advantage can sometimes result in additional employee pressure. 

This often leads to office conflict and is ultimately detrimental to productivity. A workforce that is unable to keep up with technological change is never going to be as effective as one that is supported through regular training programs.

4. Workplace environment issues.

Both the physical and the emotional environment of a workplace are important to job satisfaction and employee motivation. Feeling physically uncomfortable or mentally unsupported can be a huge obstacle at work to any member of a workforce. It's particularly important to remember this if your business includes employees who work in a virtual environment, for example at home.

5. Challenges related to employee motivation.

An energised and motivated workforce has to be any employer's goal. Let's face it, we all work harder when we feel switched on by what we're  doing and by the people around us. 

A 2020 HR survey by Gartner, found that nearly a quarter of all Australian employees are actively looking for new career opportunities. This suggests a level of job dissatisfaction that may well be detrimental to business right across Australia.

6. Worries about job security and career growth.

If you're worried about future-proofing your career, you're not alone. According to the Australia Talks National Survey 2021, 27% of Australians are somewhat or very concerned they might lose their jobs in the next 12 months. Whilst job prospects are positive in some high demand jobs, other employment areas - particularly those related to travel - are struggling. Job security is vital to company success because of the training and efficiency issues created by high hiring rates.

7. Training methods that don’t meet workforce needs.

Fail to train your workforce properly and you risk most of the workplace challenges listed above. Effective training is easier to achieve than you might think. As the pace of digitalisation and the advancement of collaborative technologies increase, effective real-time upskilling becomes more and more important. Workforce competence training in new technologies needs to go hand-in-hand with training in leadership and other human skills.

How to deal with challenges in the workplace

The complicated and fluctuating nature of the workplace problems listed above only adds to the difficulty of dealing with them. How can business leaders plan effectively to overcome challenges? 

1. Keep ahead of the curve.

If your policy is to keep up with change, you'll always be running one step behind. For a successful career you need to step ahead of change and embrace all it brings. One of the best ways to do this is to be ready to learn. Read journals, join networking groups, hire experts, get some training and of course, keep a close eye on your competitors.

2. Encourage collaboration.

team collaboration concept

Collaboration is a million times easier if the whole workforce understands your organisation's values and mission. Once you've established this, make sure your ethos and systems reward collaboration over individual success. 

The balance between highlighting individual strengths and encouraging teamwork is tricky to find but it does exist. If you're struggling in your workplace, make sure you find a way to voice your concerns. Positive collaboration starts with tactful honesty.

3. Improve training opportunities.

No matter what their role, your whole workforce deserves relevant and regular training. If you're a manager, don't assume you know best, survey your employees to find out where they feel their training gaps are. 

Once you've analysed the results, ensure that training opportunities align well with your business goals. By developing a company culture of life-long training and development, you'll improve employee retention and find yourself with an up-to-date and a motivated workforce.

With The Great Resignation becoming a phenomenon in the next six months, employers wanting to improve retention will need to offer attractive prospects of professional development and be prepared in offering salary raises once employees broaden their skills and knowledge. 

Iron out workplace challenges with targeted online training

Online training offers a level of flexibility that other courses just can't match. If you're looking to gain new skills yourself or want to implement a training program for your workplace, you've come to the right place. 

Upskilled offers nationally recognised online courses across a wide range of industries and qualification levels. Talk to our experts today to find out how we can help you meet the workplace challenges ahead.
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