Where are You Stretched Thin?

Financial losses are not the only downside during economic struggles. There is a much wider reaching domino effect that takes place. With every employee that gets laid off, or for every company that sees “cutbacks,” there are workers left behind picking up the rear. Oftentimes these employees are working harder, longer, and feeling overworked and under appreciated. Interestingly, productivity over the last year has climbed 2.3% according to the Federal Bureau of Labor and Statistics.


Why the increase? Because there are fewer employees working more hours and taking on bigger work loads. While this may be good news for CEOs and presidents, it comes at a cost. As the leader in an organization, it is your responsibility to identify where you and your team are “stretched to thin.”


Identify Employee Behavior.
There are two types of behaviors that identify your employees are stretched thin. First is the employee that shows low engagement, passively waits for assignments, has a declining percentage of completed assignments, and does not participate in “team building exercises.” Second is the employee that takes on impossible workloads, has trouble saying “no” to requests, and works late almost daily. In both these cases, you have identified employees who are stretched to thin. The first employee is disengaging due to stress, or a sense that things will never get better so “why bother.” The second employee is overcompensating out of fear of losing their own job, or feels they have no choice but to do more because you are understaffed.    

Behavior is Identified, Now What?
Now that you’ve identified that your team is overworked or understaffed, you need to stop the bleeding. It is your job to delegate responsibility. Start by reviewing current workloads and each of your employee’s strengths. Identify areas for individuals to develop new skills or apply existing skills in new ways. Identify tasks that have become routine, and decide whether they can be utilized in a different way or if they are needed at all based on your current business strategy. If capable, reassign tasks to new people and allow them input as to how the tasks may be done. Taking these steps shows your team that you have identified the problem and that you empathize with how they might feel. It will also reinvigorate your team; shaking things up in a positive way.


Show Your Team that You Support Them.
When there’s a shortage, it becomes everyone’s job to “get it done.” This includes leaders who take on burdens employees may not see. You are stretched just as thin as your employees. The best way you can help yourself is by helping your team, and letting your team help you. If you identify an employee that shows leadership capabilities, give them some leadership projects. This will help you with your own workload; while at the same time show your employee(s) that you have confidence in their abilities. By reassigning work loads, or developing new skills, you’re showing your employees that you see what’s going on and are trying to make it easier on them. Communicate often; let your employees talk about stressors, and communicate changes you are making that will help them.


PrideStaff Financial understands how important it is to have your team running at 100% efficiency. Let our caring staff help get your team back to optimal capacity. Contact one of our highly skilled financial recruiters today!