When it comes to staff productivity, everyone, including management, has a role to play. By following the practices discussed in this article, you can improve staff productivity without spending too much money or pushing staff to the point of burnout.
Before you go about improving staff productivity, you need to measure where it is at and put metrics in place to monitor changes after implementing these practices.
Different companies measure productivity in different ways; product output per employee, revenue generated per employee, tasks completed or other measurable KPIs. With no system to measure, there will be no way to know if the practices implemented are yielding results.
Here we discuss six management practices businesses and organisations can employ to improve staff productivity.
Build a culture of trust
It is important for managers to trust their employees but it is also important for staff to trust each other. Trust begets trust. A culture of trust has numerous benefits: It facilitates risk taking and innovation and supports open communication.
When productivity is low it is tempting to feel like you have to be on top of employees and monitor them constantly but this will instead driver productivity further downwards. Micromanaging hurts employees’ confidence and morale too.
Instead, give your staff some room to work without extreme oversight. The extra responsibility of knowing the boss will not be there to proof their work just might help staff deliver beyond what they normally do. It will also mean that they can take full credit for the work once it is complete and this can be a great boost to morale.
In cases where employees fail and make mistakes, do not react by immediately stripping them of responsibility. Use mistakes as opportunities to teach something new.
Avail and support opportunities for growth
Top among the good management practices to increase productivity is providing opportunities for growth and learning. Trainings should be part of the package for employees. This helps them grow their skill and remain relevant in their fields.
In order to offer the right training for staff, start by assessing the skills gaps of your team. This will ensure that you invest in trainings that will actually be beneficial.
Not all trainings need to be paid for either. The organisation can provide mentorship opportunities and skill sharing programs where an employee in one department trains employees from another department. This continued learning prepares employees to take on new roles or even bring more value to their current ones.
In cases where an employee wants to pursue a course that they are able to pay for themselves, management should be flexible enough to provide study leave or change their schedules to accommodate their studies.
Reassess your communication strategy with work from home staff
Communication between employees in the workplace is a key driver for productivity. Now that working remotely has increased some workers are having to work away from the office for the first time in their lives. This, in addition to the stresses of the pandemic, can lead to a decline in communication between employees which can in turn lead to a decline in productivity.
According to research, almost 43% of respondents who were working from home for the first time agreed that the pandemic had strained their relationships with their colleagues.
Make changes to your communication strategy by implementing a virtual communication policy which details when you communicate, how (including the technologies that will be used to communicate) and why.
Be sure to include sessions where employees can just catch up about none work related topics to improve team bonding. Here are several different ways to effectively communicate with remote employees.
Give employees the right tools to do their work
In an ideal situation, every employee would be handed certain tools when they start a job and they would have those tools upgraded as time goes on. However, this isn’t always the case. It becomes very hard for employees to remain productive when they don’t have the tools necessary to do their work.
In order to avoid incomplete work, delays and work being left completely undone, employees may end up dipping into their own resources to facilitate their work. Tools necessary for work can range from software like GanttPro which helps in planning and tracking projects to machinery and vehicles.
Small businesses that do not have large budgets to invest in tech and tools can still improve staff productivity by taking advantage of cloud computing and tools like Google teams that are free to use.
Recognise and reward your staff’s efforts
Create a culture of recognising and rewarding employees who excel, both privately and in public. Showing that you notice their hard work will boost morale, which improves productivity. It will also encourage other employees to do better so that they too can get some praise.
Rewards can start from a seemingly simple ‘Thank you’, to gift certificates and cash rewards. The important thing is that the employee feels that their efforts are valued.
Set SMART goals
SMART goals should be set to help people know where they are going. Every employee should be familiar with what the organisational goals are and what their role in achieving them is.
Goals help focus people’s energies and give them a common thing to work towards. To get their buy in, share the thinking behind the goals and why the company is focusing on those specific ones at that time. For smaller teams, all members should be included in the process of determining how goals will be achieved.
Employees should be encouraged to set personal goals as these will build on the internal motivation necessary to achieve the company goals.
Good management practices to improve productivity range from the small ones like saying thank you to an employee who has done a good job to bigger ones like investing in a course to improve employees’ skills. Managers should remember to measure levels of productivity before and after implementing these practices.