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Startup Employee Retention: Are you Overworking your Employees?

By Guest Author On June 5, 2011 Under Personal Development, Success Secrets

As an expansion stage company you should get the most out of your employees so you can succeed, but are your management teams  giving rewards and incentives to employees for overworking?

Based on a study by the New York-based Families and Work Institute, overworked employees are more likely to show anxiety, make blunders on the job, harbor indignant emotions toward their employers for expecting them to be on the job for long hours, and resent co-workers who don’t pull what they think is their share of the load.

The study also observed that almost half of employees who feel overworked also noted they were in very poor health, and virtually one-quarter (21 percent) of those overworked encounter symptoms of clinical depression, compared to 8 percent of those who are not overworked.  I came across a wonderful article on HR Executives Online which outlines ideas on how managers can help their employees experience less overwhelm and at the same time see them end their tasks in a given day.  Part of your startup employee retention strategy should contain ensuring your employees are not overworked.

In order to help your employees feel less overwhelmed on the job:

  1. Provide training for time-management principles. Everyone can use a refresher course in time management skills!
  2. Insist employees use up their vacation time. Ending the year without using a vacation day, or only taking a few, is not something to reward. Taking time off from work will enable your employees to come to work refreshed.
  3. Permit flexible work hours when appropriate. 
  4. Discourage eating through lunch or taking breaks at their desks.
  5. Encourage non-interrupt zones during the day so your employees can better focus on their duties. 
  6. Help them to become more effective. 

In order to be efficient, you must first be effective.  

To encourage efficiency and effectiveness, managers can:

  1. Implement clearly stated goals with built-in deadlines.
  2. Insist employees assemble a daily “to do” list.
  3. Make certain employees notify them or IT if their equipment is not working properly.
  4. Supply the necessary materials for job completion.
  5. Train employees on software packages that will allow for more efficient work.

For more information on how to more effectively handle your expansion stage company teams for high efficiency, check out the Scrum Alliance and the Lean Enterprise Institute.

Diana Winings Martz is a Recruiting Analyst at OpenView Labs, where she is responsible for recruitment for the firm and its portfolio companies.

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