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Problem Solving Skills in the Workplace – How to Improve

Shani Logan
03 March, 2020

Problem solving skills are a critical part of life, both in the personal and professional spheres. Today’s
fast-changing global economic landscape requires quick and resolute decision-making from employers if
their company is to survive crises and thrive even in the most challenging markets.

For employees, problem-solving skills are necessary for them to come up with practical and creative
solutions to everyday problems. Moreover, it is through problem-solving that employees can exhibit
critical thinking, independence, and initiative.

4 Ways to Improve Problem Solving Skills in the Workplace

Efficient problem-solving skills are essential for people to analyse problems, assess its severity or
complexity, and deliberate upon the impact of alternative solutions. In workplace settings, employees
who can easily adjust to shifting situations, innovative, resilient, and proactive are needed. Following are
significant ways in developing a workforce equipped to handle and embrace changes, lifelong learning
and problem solving:

1. Hire people who are unafraid to take on challenges or take risks.

To be able to identify prospective employees who have clear objectives of growing in their career and
continuously learning and are unafraid to take on new challenges, you need to refine the interview

  • Ask the right questions to see what their career goals are and whether they intend to pursue
    further education.
  • You also need to probe for their experience with business risk, lateral promotion, and in
    contributing to process improvement.

2. Focus on hiring staff with diverse backgrounds.

Having employees coming from different backgrounds, including age, gender, work experience,
education, socioeconomic class, geographic location, and ethnicity, you can be sure of having a team of
people with a broader set of experiences. This way, they can complement each other and supplement
one another’s interpretations of problems encountered along the way.

3. Provide your employees with training and educational opportunities.

Most companies give employees educational opportunities and training to help them acquire and
develop new skill sets, as well as expand their knowledge. Aside from learning new computer programs,
and undergoing business and management training, staff can also benefit from problem-solving courses,
as well as customer service and conflict resolution in the workplace training.

Moreover, prioritise training opportunities that focus on developing creativity and innovation as these
can challenge employees to adopt new and meaningful ways of thinking and generating novel ideas.

4. Challenge your employees with difficult tasks or problems.

Check if you can provide your employees with opportunities to grow or be challenged by inquiring about
their career goals from time to time. Allow them to experience handling a task or answering a problem
that’s out of their comfort zone.

One way of doing this is through lateral promotions or by directing
them to spearhead projects such as promoting eco-friendly practises or improving customer service
processes. Whatever the task, it can prove to be a defining moment in an employee’s career or reveal
leadership abilities you never knew existed.

Problem solving skills—a prerequisite to staff resilience.

Developing a company culture that is resilient or equipped to handle crises, and all types of challenges
and problems take time. Therefore, employers must focus on providing their employees with various
opportunities to develop adaptability and complex problem-solving skills, including creative problem-
solving training, career development courses, and workplace conflict training.

Our P3™ Training Courses teaches planning, problem-solving and decision-making, which are essential
to foster a culture of excellence and drive high-performance teams in your organisation. Click here to
learn more.