Improving Employee Productivity
Improving productivity helps you meet your business goals and enhances your bottom line. It’s not a simple thing, but doesn’t need to be over-complicated either. Basically, improving employee productivity means improving your work environment and culture.
When employees have a positive, open work environment, they respond by becoming more productive.
One of the first things to implement, if you don’t already, is effective communication. How can your employees help you meet your project goals if they don’t know what they are? Share the big picture with them. Share all the “small” pictures with them as well. Let them know the game plan. “Here’s where we want to go, folks…” and invite them to help you get there. We’ve mentioned before in these electronic musings, when your employees feel a part of and buy into your program, they will go to the moon for you.
Speaking of goals, make sure they’re realistic and attainable. A goal of “making us the best in the Midwest” is just wonderful, but what does that mean? Make goals specific and reachable, and thank employees each time they help you reach one.
Make sure they have the proper training to do the job. Are you expecting your employees to just figure out “as they go” how to perform a specific task? Probably not efficient. Taking a little extra time to tell them exactly what’s expected of them and how to get there, will pay for itself many times over.
Take this further by providing opportunities for employee development: outside classes or seminars, in-house training days, giving someone additional responsibility. Employees will appreciate the fact that you’re interested enough in them to help them grow in their job.
Make sure they have the equipment they need. Sounds like a no-brainer, but make sure they have the equipment or software, or whatever it is they need to do the job efficiently.
Give lots of feedback. We’ve also talked about this before. Let your employees know how they’re doing – both positive and negative. Do both in a thoughtful, kind manner. Minor course corrections along the way will increase their productivity.
Celebrate small victories. Yes, everyone likes to receive a nice raise or bonus at the end of the year, but take the time to celebrate the milestones that have been achieved as they happen. Some public recognition, an award, or a small gift card will go a long way to let employees know you appreciate them at little cost to the company.
Foster teamwork and social connections. We spend a lot of our time at work. Foster an environment that promotes appropriate relationships within the workplace. Take the team out for a meal or bowling or any activity that gets them away from the job and encourages social interaction. It’s more fun when you work with people you know and care about.
Be flexible. Employees will appreciate having the option of working from home occasionally. Maybe they need to be there for the cable guy, but it doesn’t mean they need to miss a day of work. Employers used to worry about employees being unproductive and distracted if working from home, but all recent studies point to the opposite. People enjoy having the flexibility and respond by being more productive. There’s also a “trust” factor there that comes into play. Yes, I trust and believe in you enough to know you will perform your job whether anyone’s watching or not!
All of these things help to foster a sense of “ownership” in your company. Funny how it happens, but if you actually treat your employees as if they are an important part of your company, your team, they will respond positively and act like it, which increases their productivity. And since your employees are part of your team, everyone benefits!