Problem solving in the office


What do you do when problems arise in the workplace? HR specialist Lizanne de Jong talks about the best ways to 'fix' lingering problems.

When we have a problem our typical reaction is to try and solve it immediately says de Jong.

However, she explains that problem analysis is a necessary step in resolving issues. This means going deeper in order to discern where the problem lies, when it happens and who is involved.

It's only a symptom

She says poor attitudes and destructive behaviours are often symptoms of a bigger organisational problem. Like pain in the body, these outbursts indicate that something is very wrong and that it needs attention.

Going deeper

Unfortunately the way we tackle problems in the workplace is often influenced by organisational cultures, personality differences, previous experiences or fear and anxiety.

For example employees that have previously experienced retrenchment might have a knee-jerk reaction to downsizing by becoming despondent and divisive.

Instead of punishing employees for negative behaviours it is important to identify whether the problem is internal or external.

So how can we identify the problem?

Always ask why

Lizanne says companies should break down the problem by asking why.

She explains that an unproductive employee might cause frustration on the surface while the real problem is rooted in poor recruitment and selection procedures.

In cases like these, addressing the surface issue will do nothing to eliminate the real problem.

She advises companies to look at four areas of business to identify the problem. This includes procedures, people, technology and policies. By reviewing these four areas companies can accurately determine where the problem lies and what to do about it.

For more insights join the multi-CPD-accredited People Management Skills courses facilitated by Lizanne de Jong through Alusani Skills & Training Network®. Please contact Faith on +27 11 447 7470, email – [email protected] and visit their website