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3 Ways Employee Mismanagement Can Hurt A Small Business

A company’s lifeblood, employees are a precious resource that ultimately determines whether a business will profit or fail. Unfortunately, when they are mismanaged, workers can act like anchors, towing businesses toward their demise. If you own a company, you need to know three big ways your employees could be torpedoing your enterprise.

Over staffing

Many smaller businesses waste money on employees they don’t really need. Often, they can lower their overhead by outsourcing or by getting more from fewer workers.

Many times, companies under-utilize their staff, because they don’t know enough about them. Is your office manager a published freelance writer in his or her free time? Take advantage of these talents. Does one of your customer service representatives have experience designing websites? Find out what he or she knows.

Likewise, small business owners can save a bundle by outsourcing to freelance contractors and answering services. They can also cut down on overhead by bringing their own skills to the table whenever possible.

Tolerating Mediocrity

Too many employers put up with underperforming workers, who take no active interest in a company’s success. This is especially common when companies grow to the point where they employ several workers. Pay attention to who is doing what. Know each employee’s responsibilities and monitor their performance accordingly. You can also use motivational tools, such as recognition awards for employees who put forth extra effort. This can help build healthy competition within an office. That said, occasionally, business owners need to trim the fat to send a message and ensure that their company remains lean and mean and, above all else, profitable.

Lost Productivity

According to a study out of Harvard Medical School, American businesses are losing billions of dollars each year due to worker exhaustion owed to sleep difficulties. Low productivity has caused many larger companies to take steps toward helping their employees get more sleep. According to The Wall Street Journal, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co. recently invested in programs that use everything from melatonin-regulating lighting to sleep-hygiene courses to help their workers get more rest.

Unfortunately, numerous American workers suffer from undiagnosed sleep disorders which make it impossible to sleep. According to sleep dentist Dr. Roger Roubal, many times, people suffer from sleep apnea without even realizing it.

“Sleep apnea causes breathing difficulties that result in frequent waking,” he said. “A lot of times, when people awaken to catch their breath, they are only slightly conscious. This leaves them unaware that they are waking up; however, because they are never able to attain deep, restorative REM sleep on a regular basis, they experience fatigue and drowsiness while they’re at work the next day.”

Employers can promote greater worker productivity by encouraging employees to get tested for sleep disorders; so talk with your workers to see if they show common symptoms, such as snoring, frequent waking and daytime fatigue.

Paying Attention

All too often, small business owners endure problems with employees because they’ve failed to pay attention. To prevent your company from experiencing difficulties, know each workers skills and limitations, and be aware of who is not doing enough. Once you’ve familiarize yourself with each worker, intervene when necessary by offering help, support or a pink slip.

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Ryan Lawrence writes for Off-Topic Media. Thanks to Dr. Roger Roubal for contributing his sleep expertise to this story.