You’ve got deadlines to meet and targets to reach – motivated employees can help you achieve just that. Employee productivity is at the heart of efficient business. But what are some ways you can increase employee productivity?
You don’t necessarily need to award huge bonuses and have elaborate award ceremonies as part of your employee reward program to motivate employees. There are ways to increase employee productivity that will serve as an investment and improve your whole company.
The importance of employee productivity
Better employee productivity often means workers can put out more work in less time. When this is the case, employees can enjoy the benefits of efficiency, while still maintaining a balance between work and break times.
Measuring employee productivity on an individual scale can also identify some key players in each department of a company. Often times, there are some great employees who do double the work they’re expected, but this isn’t sustainable and can lead to burnout.
Monitoring productivity on an individual basis can ease the workload off overworked employees and reassign tasks to employees with more time available.
But there’s more to employee productivity than getting stuff done. The most productive employees are often the most motivated. Employees who deliver good work and focus on customer satisfaction are valuable assets to any company.
Reward your best employees
Unfortunately, the best employees in a company often go unnoticed. Not getting recognition for hard work takes a toll on even the most faithful employees. Try to set up some basic productivity tracking systems to avoid a situation where you don’t know which employees are performing well in your company.
Your system could be as simple as a weekly meeting where employees discuss what they’ve accomplished in the past week, or it could be more complex.
Also make sure you know what’s happening in your company. There’s no need to micro-manage, but being present on the floor at unexpected times could help you get a better sense of who’s really putting in the most work to grow your business.
Speak to customers about their experience with your business. Ask them about their best experiences and their worst, as well as which employees they dealt with on these separate occasions.
When you put some effort into learning who your best employees really are, you might be surprised at what you learn. Be sure to reward your best employees by letting them know you appreciate their hard work and sacrifice.
Make sure the work environment is efficient
The last thing you want is for your employee productivity to suffer because of a bad workplace environment. If your workers are wasting time waiting in queues at a printer, you’ve got to fix things.
Make sure you know what’s happening on the floor of your company. Don’t allow your employees to lose time because of lack of resources or broken equipment. Make sure there are enough resources to go around.
Planning a productive work environment often means looking at every detail of how your company operates.
How many bathrooms are available on your premises? If workers must walk 5 minutes to the nearest bathroom, you’ll be losing at least 15 minutes of work time for every bathroom break. The same applies to your coffee stations, water coolers and kitchens. All amenities your employees access throughout the day must be within easy reach.
Also don’t overlook the importance of maintenance on your equipment. If your company operates a fleet of vehicles, or any essential equipment that requires maintenance, these things are necessary tools your employees need to stay productive.
Maintenance is often the first thing companies cut on to reduce expenses, but the inevitable repair costs on poorly-maintained equipment means there aren’t any long-term savings. Only less productive employees and increased costs on repairing or replacing broken equipment later on.
Implement systems for better efficiency
A lot of companies lose out on employee productivity because of poor systems. The same work often has to be passed through multiple departments more than once.
To avoid this conundrum, make sure your company has effective systems in place to prevent a project from drifting between departments. Make sure that every department in your company is well-equipped with the necessary knowledge and people who can streamline the workflow.
In some cases, outsourcing work to independent contractors outside your company is also a way to bypass complex internal systems. But optimizing your internal systems and workflow for better productivity is still the best way to increase employee productivity.
Teach soft skills
You can have to most brilliant team of employees, but if they don’t know how to manage their time and work in a team, it won’t help much.
Don’t ignore the value of teaching your employees soft skills. It’s always good if your employees are well-versed in things like time-management, teamwork, customer engagement and critical thinking.
Implement a strategy to teach soft skills to all your new employees. This could be as simple as having them run an online course (often available for free on websites that host courses), or you could even send them on special training.
Focus on employee satisfaction
Dissatisfied employees are unlikely to produce good work. There are some key things to focus on if you want to keep your employees happy.
First, make sure the work environment is clean, aesthetically pleasing and positive. There are few things as unpleasant as a dirty, dull workspace.
Next, be sure to offer growth opportunities to employees that perform well. Make sure employees that are putting in effort to grow are rewarded with promotions and increases.
Lastly, offer you employees as much flexibility as possible. This can mean allowing employees to leave work early if they clock in before a certain time.
It also means you shouldn’t be micromanaging employees who are already productive. Don’t be too quick to criticise an employee for taking 30 minutes extra on their lunch break if they often skip lunch altogether.
There’s nothing worse than a work environment where shortcomings are emphasised while strengths are ignored.
Offer ongoing education
Sending your employees for ongoing education helps them to stay up-to-date in your industry. Employees that get educational value out of your company will feel much more satisfied in their work.
Regular education also ensures that employees have the knowledge necessary to work efficiently.
Consider education programs to teach employees how to operate different software you use in your company. Even if your employees already know the basics of using a certain software, there are often useful software features that might go largely unnoticed without training.
Also, equip all your new employees with the necessary skillsets they need by allowing them to learn from experienced workers.
Using trained workers to teach new employees can be especially useful if you are replacing a staff member. Allow new staff members to learn how to fill a position from the employees they’re replacing. Doing so will make the transition into a new position easier and ensure workload is still being handled effectively.
When looking at ways to increase employee productivity in the workplace, the main focus is involvement and genuine interest in the company and its employees. If you aren’t dedicated to growing your company, your employees won’t be either.
Lead by example and recognise that employees are also people with hopes and dreams. If your employees believe that working for you is helping them achieve their goals, you’ll have productive workers and a better company culture.
Invest in improving your employees and company. Whether employees are working entry-level jobs, or doing skilled work that’s highly sought after, be sure your company offers growth opportunities.
A productive work environment with happy workers means you’ll have better employee retention. In turn, this helps to further improve productivity and save costs on hiring and training new employees.
About the Author
Rozanne is a freelance writer and content strategist. She specialises in marketing and business topics such as online marketing, business, startups and personal growth as an entrepreneur.