Independent Workers: Teach Them Problem Solving

By: Express Employment Professionals

 As companies evolve and grow, there’s no question that problems will sometimes arise. It’s a natural part of the business process. And if these problems are not addressed, they can multiply, fester and possibly have a negative impact on a company’s bottom line and competitive edge.

The most successful businesses have strong cultures that encourage workers to identify issues and help find solutions. In today’s extended workplace, it’s essential to make sure independent workers feel equally empowered as problem solvers for your company.

A Critical Skill Set

A recent article in Forbes identified the top 10 skills employers are looking for in 2015 graduates. According to the national study, the top skills employers want in new hires are people who can work well on teams and decisively solve problems.

In fact, a separate national study by The Association of American Colleges and Universities shows that 93 percent of business leaders care more about a job candidate’s ability to think critically, communicate clearly and solve complex problems than they do about the candidate’s undergraduate major.

Establish a Strategy

Although this skill set is in high demand, employers find that it is often in short supply. According to The Journal, this is a particularly tough challenge for today’s millennial generation of American workers, who scored significantly lower than their international peers in problem solving and critical thinking.

 So it’s important to develop and communicate a problem-solving strategy for employees and independent workers alike. Some workplaces use specific methodologies, such as Kaizen or Six Sigma, but experts say you can get effective results by training workers to focus on these four abilities:

  • Identifying problems
  • Proposing solutions
  • Evaluating options
  • Implementing solutions

For independent workers, one of the chief stumbling blocks may be navigating organizational silos within a company. Business Insider suggests that leaders be mindful of these silos and other potential roadblocks, so you can pave the way for your team to implement smart solutions.

 Leverage Fresh Ideas

When it comes to problem solving, independent workers often bring with them an objective view of your business operations that is not filtered by internal politics. They bring fresh eyes to what has become a common everyday landscape for established employees. This can give you valuable insight and trigger new ideas to improve processes and fuel innovation.

Working together, your employees and independent contractors can fine tune their problem-solving strategies for the benefit of your company and the bottom line.