Organizational Wellness

9 Common Organizational Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Dec 6, 2022
Last Updated Feb 22, 2024

Organizational development is all the rage these days, but to actually take advantage of them, you have to look deep at your organization and see what’s going on. And when you take a good look at the inner workings of your organization, you might find there are a few organizational challenges in there. 

Don’t worry; it’s super common. Basically any company that’s growing, shifting, or adapting probably has at least one organizational challenge going on. And since most companies are always changing, most organizations need to be on top of their game to root out these problems and overcome them. 

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If you’re not overcoming your challenges, they can become real-embedded problems. Organizational challenges can lead to some pretty nasty outcomes if you’re not careful. We’re talking about a lack of employee engagement (aka a big problem since highly engaged employees lead to 23% higher profits), lower employee productivity (uh oh, another metric that can affect your profitability), and ultimately a lack of growth. Yeah, those are some pretty bad problems to run into. 

Luckily, that’s what we’re here to talk about today: organizational challenges and how to overcome them. We’ll walk you through 9 common organizational challenges (aka the ones you’re most likely to run into at your own company) and then how to overcome them, so you can stay on top of your organizational development. 

9 Common Organizational Challenges 

Let’s walk through 9 common challenges, so you can get a good idea of what problems your own organization faces. 

  1. Poor communication

Ah, communication. Isn’t poor communication the root cause of most kinds of problems? This holds true in the workplace. Communication is the foundation of success. Workplace communication is all about the way you speak, the body language involved, written communication, and any other way people reach each other in your organization. 

But not everyone is communicating effectively. In fact, poor communication is one of the most common challenges. Here’s some organizational problems examples that are communication based: Yelling, “making an example,” unclear written instructions, confusing body language, and just a general lack of communication with remote workers are all common ways poor communication manifests. Poor communication also means that your management teams are failing to communicate expectations, changes, and goals. And with communication being a key for collaboration, it’s not a challenge you want to persist. 

  1. Lack of awareness

Your leadership and management teams are where some problems start, and that’s especially true for a lack of awareness. If your leadership can’t see what’s going on at your company and with each team, you could be facing a challenge of awareness. But also, when there’s a lack of awareness, your leadership team can’t see the big picture for your company, and that’s when things will start going wrong big time. A lack of awareness can be on a smaller level too. You might have your teams working too individually and without awareness of each other—a big blow against collaboration. Whatever it looks like, a lack of awareness isn’t doing anybody any favors. 

  1. No personal development opportunities

Fourty-two percent of employees who have left their jobs and started looking for new opportunities do so because their employers didn’t take full advantage of their skills. Basically, if employees don’t get the opportunity to develop, they leave. There are also some really positive benefits of good development: more motivation, more knowledge, and improved skill sets. 

A big problem is when your workplace doesn’t have those opportunities. That’s going to bite at your retention and keep you from getting the good benefits too. 

  1. Lack of cohesion

Cohesion is the glue that holds your teams together. When your teams can work together and individually all at the same time, you’ve got a sweet balance going. But a lack of cohesion is a challenge to overcome. You might have this organizational challenge if you have all your teams operating in silos, without cohesion with the other teams. Teams that are working too individually and not communicating with each other gives you a cohesion challenge. 

  1. Not enough feedback

Feedback, the secret sauce for boosting performance and motivation. A challenge your organization could have is not having enough feedback going around to help people improve their performances and to help improve your organization as a whole. This feedback includes feedback from supervisors to their team members, feedback from employees to the leadership team, feedback from all of the employees to the HR team, and more. 

  1. Lack of accountability

Accountability is knowing who’s responsible for what and then taking ownership of what you are responsible for. A lack of accountability could mean that it’s unclear who is responsible for what, and the expectations for individuals aren’t clear from the start. It could also mean that even when directions are clear, people don’t want to be accountable for what went wrong. Neither one is great. 

  1. Lack of innovation

Innovation does more than you might think: boosts company competitiveness in the industry, helps you keep up with changes, increases retention, and brings in more customers. So a lack of innovation… well, you might find that’s having the opposite effect. Innovation can be the lifeblood of your company if you let it, and holding people back from creativity can be a challenge that needs to be overcome. 

  1. Lack of trust

Trust is the foundation of literally every relationship. And you do have a relationship with your employees. So to have a good relationship with your employees, you need a solid amount of trust in place. A lack of trust keeps everyone on edge. Management doesn’t trust teams to get work done and starts to micromanage. The teams don’t trust management to know what’s best, and they might resist changes. All of that can be a problem if you don’t address trust. 

  1. Lack of training

Training is where your employees learn valuable information and how you can communicate key ideas and skills with them. A lack of training is a lack of opportunity for communication and a lack of opportunity for development. 

How to Overcome Organizational Challenges

Your organization likely faces at least one common challenge. So you’re likely invested in knowing how to overcome these challenges you face and getting back on the top of your game. So, without further ado, here are just a few approaches to overcoming organization challenges. 

  • Lack of trust and accountability: Fix two birds with one stone by cultivating a positive company culture. A culture that’s focused on the values of trust and accountability can help make these clearer and help your organization leap over these challenges and onto bigger and better things. The first step is to make sure everyone’s roles and responsibilities are defined and to communicate that clearly. Once responsibilities are delegated, then you can work on including accountability in your company culture.
  • Lack of communication and cohesion: Start at the top with leadership communication. Make sure the top level is communicating with the whole organization. But don’t stop there. Find ways to make sure that teams are communicating with each other as they work. Maybe it’s quick weekly check-ins. Maybe it’s meetings with all the team leaders. However it looks, communication and cohesion are things your company can grow. 
  • Lack of feedback and communication: Set up regular reviews with your employees to make sure they’re giving you feedback you need to develop the organization as a whole. 
  • Lack of innovation: Encourage creativity by getting creative! Have brainstorming sessions, idea contests, rewards for big ideas. Make sure you’re cultivating an atmosphere where risk taking is encouraged, so your team members feel accepted when being innovative. 
  • Lack of training: Set up a standard for skills and abilities, so your employees know what they’re trying to reach. Then set up a way for them to have resources to train. It could be training sessions; it could be compiled resources. Whatever it looks like, communicate how employees can go about training to grow and develop. 
  • Lack of awareness: Ensure management is properly trained and well integrated into organizational culture and processes. Start at the top and watch the magic happen as more and more levels of your organization gain an awareness of how they work in the organization as a whole. 

The Bottom Line

Overall, organizational challenges are common and plague most companies. But what is currently a challenge doesn’t have to stay a challenge. Overcoming these common organizational challenges is possible, and it can benefit your organization. Luckily, you don’t have to go solo while working through your organizational challenges. Talk to a wellbeing specialist to get support with creating a positive company culture and providing key benefits for your employees. 

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References 


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Gympass Editorial Team

The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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