Diagnosing Human Resource Problems in Your Organization

In order for an organization of any size to function successfully, adequate attention needs to be paid to the human resources effort. The healthy condition of the status of human resources is as important as all other organizational considerations such as product/service development, marketing, technology, etc.

The organization’s human resource function can maintain its health with regular evaluation of four major potential problem areas:

Individual Members

Most organizations have defined, in various degrees, what are individual performance expectations for jobs. The have also defined behavioral expectations usually through a disciplinary policy.

It goes without saying that when member performance or discipline problems go unchallenged over the course of time, a number of outcomes emerge. Work does not get completed properly. Some members wonder why they have to meet performance and discipline standards while others do not, and are not challenged. Guilty member is done a disservice by the organization because they think their actions are acceptable in a work environment.

The organization should ask itself whether there are members in the organization who are regularly not performing or regularly engaged in disciplinary conduct that is not acceptable. What is being done about it? How widespread in the organization is it? Why are the management leaders not challenging these situations? Is adequate training, development and coaching occurring? Is termination of a member who is a chronically poor performer, or constantly engaging in discipline related problems, a reality in the organization?

Corporate Climate

As this is written, disturbing weather and climate changes are occurring on our planet. The debate ranges about what is really causing these changes and what to do about it. Yet, we cannot deny they are happening.

It is no different for an organization’s climate. Left unattended to go wherever it will, a negative climate can easily develop in an organization.

Some questions to ask include: How positive is the overall climate of the organization? Are the members generally satisfied with the environment of the workplace and how does this translate into positive morale? Does the organization regularly assess the organization’s climate and seek to improve what may not be so positive? Do the members believe the organization really cares about their interests?

Management Attitude

Needless to say, leadership and management attitude have a great impact on the human side of the enterprise. Sometimes attitudes develop that are not positive. In orchestrating the members’ work in the organization, management must be aware of how its actions affect the work positively and negatively. So: what is management’s overall attitude about how the work is done in the organization? Is there an attitude that production numbers must be met regardless of the impact on working members? (perhaps there is excessive overtime, work load or weekend work) Do the leaders in the organization believe in the importance of balance between work and the lives of the organization’s members? Does the perception of negative management attitude seem to relate to a few of management’s members, or is it negative with regard to all of management? Do members sense that management cares about their work effort and their lives in general?

Employee Member Support

You can visit organizations and by observation see how much employee member support exists. In addition to proper training and development in doing a job, employee support includes a whole host of considerations that impact productivity and affect the work climate. These include proper tools, materials, well running and maintained machines, safety, etc.

Support will depend on what kind of product or service the employee is working on. The following questions apply:

Are the tools and equipment the employee uses in good working condition and regularly maintained and updated? Are materials to do the job readily available? Is the importance of safety regularly addressed? Have the members been taught the best safety practices for their work? Have dangerous working conditions been properly addressed and safeguards applied? Do employee members feel they are supported by the compensation and benefits the organization offers? Do employees feel supported when the areas addressed earlier, individual, corporate climate and management attitude are addressed and improved on an on-going basis?

Vigilance regarding potential and actual human resource problems in the organization is paramount if the organization is to function successfully over the long term. It does require effort on the part of those responsible for the human resource process, as well as overall management.

One way to progress is to engage in an across the organization assessment of the issues described above. The list of questions asked in each section above should not be seen as exhaustive and the organization should fell free to add considerations it feels are important. Conducting an across the organization assessment is a great way to let the members of the organization know that they and their effort is appreciated. Of course, the problems the assessment may uncover need to be addressed. The payoff is in maintaining a positive and productive workforce and avoiding the human resources problems discussed above.