There is a direct link between productivity and economic growth. Businesses that can maximize their employee’s productivity enjoy increased output, better morale, improved customer experience and an overall higher economic outlook. While most businesses understand the importance of productivity, many don’t know where to start when it comes to encouraging it.
Here are six steps business owners and managers can take to boost productivity in the workplace.
1. Down With Distractions.
Not surprising, cellphones hit the top of the list when it comes to distractions that kill workplace productivity. Whether your people are on social media, games or texting, the cell phone is a serious hindrance to efficiency. Having a cell phone policy can help employees stay focused. Let them know personal cell phone use is only acceptable during breaks and lunches. If they know they “can’t” use it, hopefully, they will leave it in their pocket or purse where they won’t be disturbed or distracted by constant updates, alerts and notifications.
2. Micro-Manage The Right Way.
Workforce management systems are the type of micro-managing your employees will welcome. From staff scheduling, time and tracking and compliance tools to benefits and payroll management, the advantages are endless. When a company implements a solid workforce management system they are automating multiple functions making it easier and less time consuming for employees to stay updated and compliant with policies and procedures. Simplified processes mean less wasted time and more time for your employees to focus on their jobs.
3. Keep Training Them.
Don’t have meetings just to have meetings, but keep your people up to date. Train them on new updates, releases and features and don’t forget to go over the basics. The more educated and “in the know” they feel the more confident they are in their roles. Confidence leads to performance and performance leads to productivity. It’s a continuous cycle, so never stop the training process.
4. Offer Incentives.
Friendly competition never hurt anyone. In fact, it can be a big motivator. Whether the prize is a free lunch, some PTO or a gift card, you will see your people rise to the occasion. It mixes things up and gives them all a common goal to work toward. It’s positive peer pressure at its finest and it increases overall productivity as they race for the finish line.
5. Listen and Validate.
Employees need to feel heard. Companies with management that is approachable see higher overall morale and employee performance goes up. Why? Because people innately want to feel valued and validated. You don’t have to agree with their complaint or criticism, but you need to acknowledge their concerns and let them know you hear what they are saying. Don’t discount what they say, even if you don’t think there is merit. Write it down and share it with the rest of the executive team.
6. Don’t Play Favorites.
There’s no greater workplace buzz-kill than favoritism. Employees have to feel like there is an even playing field. If they feel like there is no way to crack the inner circle, then why try? You’ll see a real sense of apathy take over if you allow favoritism to go unchecked.
If increased productivity is your goal, take the time to check yourself on the above points. Evaluate where you think your company is currently and which areas you need to improve in. Put some actionable steps in place and record what works and what doesn’t. Depending on your company’s size and structure some of these tips may be more relevant than others. If you want to really know what your employees think, form a focus group made up of your employees from different departments or send out a company-wide survey. Let them answer questions anonymously and you’ll get some solid feedback. Be prepared with some thick skin. You never know what you might learn.