Company leaders are in a place of great influence and responsibility, so if they lack training and knowledge in how to manage their own workflow, problems can spread quickly throughout an organization.

Dr. Cubie King, a business professor at National University in San Diego, believes most employees desire to be the best for their company: “Underneath that suit of clothes beats the heart of a real person who, more often than not, truly wants to do a great job for your company or organization.” But, to be able to do their best for their company, employees need the right tools and training to help ensure success.

In a recent Hiring Trends survey conducted by Express Employment Professionals of companies, 55 percent of respondents said they do not train their leaders on how to handle an increased workload. This lack of training becomes apparent most often when deadlines need to be met and the pressure to reach goals is at its highest. So what can employees do to avoid letting the organization down when the demand is high?

Make sure employees are fully aware of job expectations so they can focus on growing the company. Fifty-four percent of business leaders who took the Express survey say they lose up to six hours a week because they are busy being reactive instead of proactive. Oftentimes, the employees in an organization begin working within the parameters of their position, and down the road take on tasks they should delegate to others. Training every person in the organization will help them know their responsibilities and what is expected of them.

If it becomes clear that employees are struggling to keep up with their workloads, consider offering company-sponsored training classes on how to utilize technology, deal with time management and improve workflow processes. You can also save money by utilizing people within your own company to teach the classes. Talk with your human resources and information technology teams to see if they would be willing to offer their perspective on the topic of time management.

For example, Maryville College in Tennessee utilizes its staff members by having them lead different employee workshops. This easy solution to a training problem is cost-effective and offers employees more time in their familiar office setting. The trainers may also have information to offer on time management or project management software that could bring an added benefit to the training.

It’s also important to ensure that leaders know the value of showing appreciation for their team’s accomplishments. If a complicated, quick turnaround order gets shipped out on time, employees love hearing a “congratulations” or “nice work” from their supervisor. Big parties and free food are great, but they don’t need to be a weekly occurrence. So often, it’s the small thank-you cards or emails and handshakes that can keep an employee motivated to continue working hard.

Finally, make sure the next person you hire understands the demands of the job. For instance, ask how he or she handles high-pressure situations, working under deadlines that can quickly change and working with teammates to reach goals. A mentoring system is also important, so that new employees can have someone in place to help them during the first few critical months.

Heather Brighton of The Brighton Group, a strategic management and consulting firm, believes this is an overlooked but very successful tactic. “By introducing recruits to the office culture immediately, mentors make them feel important and necessary to the company’s success,” she said.

Untrained leaders and employees do not need to be the status quo of your business. Simple changes will help make sure your organization has the best trained and prepared leaders who can improve productivity and employee engagement.

— Karen Dwyer is owner of Express Employment Professionals, 1025 Chapala St., Suite 206, in Santa Barbara. Click here to contact her or call 805.965.6900.