News: One-third of employees left guessing priorities in the workplace, survey reveals

Leadership

One-third of employees left guessing priorities in the workplace, survey reveals

While employers gravitate towards regular check-ins to supervise progress and encourage productivity, employees voice a requirement for more defined priorities.
One-third of employees left guessing priorities in the workplace, survey reveals

Many workers are left to navigate their daily tasks through guesswork, lacking clear directives on what should take precedence.

Slingshot, the data-driven work management platform by Infragistics, unveiled the second segment of insights from its 2023 Digital Work Trends Report. The findings expose a discrepancy between the work standards anticipated by leaders and what employees require for productivity and optimal performance. 

Despite employers leaning towards frequent check-ins to monitor progress and foster productivity, employees express a need for clearer priorities (42%) and defined deadlines (30%) to enhance their productivity.

The Digital Work Trends Report by Slingshot delves into the correlation between employee productivity and managerial approaches. It sheds light on how leaders' decisions regarding priorities, deadlines, and workload significantly influence employee productivity and performance. Additionally, the report unveils a generational contrast in how employees navigate work and take up leadership roles.

Dean Guida, the founder of Slingshot, remarks, "Employees often feel overwhelmed, uncertain about priorities and deadlines, and hesitant to decline additional work, even when their workload is already excessive. Consequently, leaders find themselves scrambling when employees lose focus on high-value tasks or miss deadlines due to excessive commitments. These issues arise due to inadequate visibility and alignment across teams."

The key findings are summarised below:

Employees feel overloaded and directionless, leading them to lose half of their workday. They cite a negative impact on productivity due to excessive projects and tasks (37%), lack of clarity on priorities (25%), and absence of defined deadlines (17%). 

A significant number of employees (64%) admit to losing at least one or two productive hours daily in the absence of deadlines, with 22% reporting a loss of three to four hours per day. Similarly, managing numerous projects results in 62% of employees losing at least one or two productive hours daily, with 20% losing three or more hours.

Increased meetings do not equate to enhanced productivity. While over half of leaders feel compelled to supervise closely in cases of subpar work (69%) or missed deadlines (52%), employees perceive excessive supervision (45%) or unnecessary status meetings (43%) as micromanagement. Additionally, 25% of employees consider work meetings the most disruptive interruption during their workday.

Different generations and genders adopt distinct approaches to setting priorities at work. Nearly half (49%) of millennial workers resort to guesswork in the absence of clear priorities, while 33% of baby boomers and 35% of Gen X workers independently make choices. Gen Z employees (55%) primarily communicate with colleagues to determine priorities. Similarly, there's a discrepancy between males (45%) and females (43%) in how they approach priority determination.

Guida emphasised, "Where employees allocate their time often indicates their priorities, but this doesn't always align with the goals of leaders or the company. Achieving alignment on objectives ensures clarity for employees regarding priorities and expected outcomes. This alignment enables leaders to trust that the right tasks are being accomplished promptly, ultimately driving business success."

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Topics: Leadership, Employment Landscape, #HRTech, #HRCommunity

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