A global employee survey found that 75% of participants expressed satisfaction with their companies' reskilling or upskilling training. This shows that personal improvement is not only necessary for your business's success, but it’s also a source of satisfaction for your employees.
In this article, we explore 19 essential areas of improvement at work, with insights on nurturing your existing skills for a more successful professional journey.
19 areas of improvement at work examples
Attention to detail
Attention to detail minimizes mistakes, shows professionalism, and improves customer satisfaction. You can improve it by:
- Double-checking your work
- Minimizing distractions
- Documenting important information
- Reducing screen time to enhance concentration
- Training your focus, e.g., with memory games
- Practicing mindfulness
Image source: LinkedIn
Creativity allows you to approach problems from different perspectives and drive innovation. To unlock the creative potential of each team member, you can:
- Encourage work-life balance so employees can function at their highest capacity
- Organize judgment-free brainstorming sessions to find more creative solutions
- Start a book club to inspire more reading
- Encourage employees to exchange ideas and provide feedback
- Use mind maps to visualize ideas
Time management skills
Image source: Pinterest
Effective time management helps reduce stress and improve focus, productivity, and motivation. Here’s what you can do to improve it:
- Eat that frog – Brian Tracy suggests “eating the ugliest frog first”, meaning finishing the most challenging task first, which makes you much more motivated
- Create to-do lists and checklists for a greater sense of accomplishment
- Use calendars and time management tools
- Learn to prioritize tasks, e.g., by using the Eisenhower Matrix
- Set realistic deadlines
- Group similar tasks and complete them in one go
- Employ the Pomodoro technique (working for 25 minutes, resting for five minutes)
- Delegate and don't overwhelm yourself with tasks
Psychologist Dr. Scott Bea says, “Existing in a cluttered environment taxes our brains because the cluttering objects compete for our attention.”. Many experts agree that mess causes increased stress levels, difficulty focusing, and procrastination.
To combat this, take 15 minutes at the end of each workday to clean up your desk and another 15 minutes the next morning to plan and prioritize what needs to be done. This will clear your head and help you stay focused throughout the workday.
Chief culture and transformation officer at NorQuest College, Lorne Rubis, says, “The most dangerous organization is a silent one.”. The lack of communication means employees don’t feel safe enough to discuss their concerns.
To encourage a better flow of ideas, you can:
- Practice active listening skills without interruptions or distractions
- Show open, positive body language
- Rephrase what you hear to show you’re listening
- Determine a workplace communication strategy and choose tools that will streamline the flow of information
- Be empathetic, clear, and concise with both verbal and written communication
Proactivity is all about curiosity and strategy. Avery Blank, Senior Contributor at Forbes, mentions these five skills of thinking ahead:
- Be open to new information and always keep learning
- Get to know people of different backgrounds and expertise
- Ask questions, listen to concerns, and gather suggestions for improvement
- Make logical connections between current information and future possibilities
- Respond to upcoming change by testing your conjectures in practice
Why not add regular team-building exercises to your daily or weekly meetings? Even just 20 minutes can cause an improvement in communication, innovation, and teamwork.
Here are some examples:
- Solve a puzzle or brain teaser
- Try a compliment circle
- Do a silent line-up (e.g., by height, tenure, or birthday)
- Give out blind directions to complete a task
Image source: Freepik
To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson: Your actions speak so loudly that people can’t hear what you say. Proper guidance is setting an example worth following. So, don’t just focus on giving out orders. Consider a leadership training program or self-improvement course to become a better, more empathetic mentor for others.
Out of over 900 surveyed Americans, 76% said they want to work in a company that makes work flexible – whether that’s in terms of location or schedule. Out of roughly 50% of those who want to change careers, over 40% want to leave their current job because of insufficient flexibility.
Sure, it’s important to adapt to new technologies, processes, and strategies. But have you considered implementing a 4-day workweek? Harvard Business Review has some great tips on how to improve flexibility and productivity at the same time.
Most of the tips from this list will help you improve your overall performance at work. However, according to experts from BetterUp, productivity is not just about what you implement but also about what you avoid. Distractions like office gossip, smartphones, email alerts, multitasking, and desktop clutter are killers of excellent work performance.
Customer service skills
Here are the top tips to achieve excellent customer service from Beth Worthy, President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc.:
- Be empathetic and patient
- Use clear, positive language
- Improve query resolution time
- Make sure your representatives have the knowledge and resources to be able to help
- Work on accepting feedback
- Take responsibility for errors
- Follow up after resolved issues
- Create communities
- Facilitate providing feedback
Image source: LinkedIn
Here are the INSIDEA founder’s tips for managing work stress:
- Create a culture of recognition
- Get employee satisfaction feedback with regular surveys
- Offer attractive perks and benefits
- Focus on improving employee physical and mental health
- Encourage self-management
- Resolve conflicts fairly
According to Daniel Van Epps, Healthcare Recruitment Specialist, delegation is not just about unloading work but empowering others to take on responsibility and develop new skill sets. It’s a way to improve team productivity, reduce stress, and control the workload.
Before you delegate, create a clear job description, find the right people, and train them, if necessary. Monitor their progress and provide feedback and resources so they don’t feel lost or overwhelmed.
Getting feedback is the best way to grow, but people tend to have problems using its full potential. Start with a simple “thank you”, then paraphrase what you heard. Next, figure out what you plan to change as a result and communicate it, so you’re accountable. Of course, giving constructive feedback is equally important. Keep it honest and kind.
Image source: LinkedIn
Remember, development is an ongoing process, so create a loop for regular feedback within your company.
According to experts, there are two types of conflict and different recommended approaches for each:
- The conflict resolution method for arguments involving intense emotions:
- Engage with respect
- Listen actively until you empathize with the other side
- State your feelings, views, and needs
- The collaborative problem-solving approach for resolving needs:
- Define the core aspects
- Brainstorm solutions
- Create an agenda and delegate tasks
- Implement the plan
- Reevaluate solutions if needed
Image source: Freepik
The SMART method is a popular and highly effective way of improving goal-setting. Break down your big, bold goals into actionable steps, and regularly evaluate progress to stay on track. Pair this with our organization, prioritization, and delegation tips to skyrocket your success.
77% of the most successful project managers admit that emotional intelligence in the workplace is vital and that they have used it more in their responsibilities over the last two years.
Here’s how you can work to improve your EQ and interpersonal skills:
- Focus on self-awareness (without self-criticism)
- Implement our communication improvement tips
- Practice constructive collaboration and teamwork
- Work through conflicts with empathy
- Look for solutions, not obstacles, when encountering problems
- Express your energy candidly and enthusiastically
- Try to engage, motivate, and positively influence others with your attitude
Theodore Roosevelt famously said: “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”.
The best ways to improve your decision-making skills, according to HSI, are:
- Set a time limit and prioritize with the end goal in mind
- Gather information and resolve uncertainties
- Distinguish the facts from the opinions
- Weigh the pros and cons to avoid biases
- Focus on the outcome you want to achieve
- Don’t ignore your subconscious – that “gut feeling”
- Be willing to compromise
- Attend crisis-management or decision-making training
Image source: Asana
Good prioritizing starts with identifying your company’s strategic plan and OKRs – connect every tiny task to those larger goals. You can use project management tools like ClickUp, Monday.com, Notion etc., to clearly see due dates and project correlations. A visual, color-coded workflow view will help you adjust priorities and view dependencies as you go.
Deciding to improve in your work doesn’t mean you’re admitting inadequacy. Rather, it's a sign that you strive for excellence, can see your weaknesses, and commit to growth.
By identifying areas for improvement, setting clear goals, and taking intentional steps towards development, you can enhance your professional skills, boost career growth, and contribute meaningfully to the workplace, encouraging others to do the same.
What are areas of improvement at work?
These can include skills like:
- Time management
- Interpersonal communication
- Planning and prioritizing tasks
- Goal setting
What should I write in areas of improvement?
When writing about areas of improvement at work, consider the specific skills and qualities that make up the overall employee performance. Make sure they’re relevant to their position and leave some space for praise – don’t make it all about the negatives!
What things can I improve on at work?
Ask your supervisors, teammates, or even subordinates for different perspectives on what you can work on. Consider the areas of improvement listed above.
What are good areas for professional development in performance reviews?
Select improvement areas that are relevant to your role, align with company goals, and will help you in your career advancement. We’ve included some specific aspects above.
How do you answer the areas of improvement in self-evaluation?
Be honest with yourself and identify skills or qualities you can work on. Provide examples of ways in which you have improved in the past, and determine what steps you will take in the near future to continue your growth.