How to Increase Productivity at Work
You’ve hired the best employees you could find, and now you’re wondering why they’re not more productive. They seemed to have so much promise, but their performance is suffering. As a manager or small business owner, you can take steps to increase your employee productivity so your business benefits.
- Set realistic goals with measurable outcomes. Goals that aren’t realistic discourage employees from trying to get the job done. By making sure you can measure whether the goal was reached, you can avoid office politics if their efforts fall short and figure out how to do better next time.
- Provide encouragement and recognition to your workforce. An employee who feels valued is more likely to strive harder for his employer.
- Make goals visible. A whiteboard that tracks progress toward sales goals serves as both encouragement and a reminder to stay on task.
- Ask questions. A white board is a useful tool, but by showing interest in your employees’ performances, you’ll demonstrate that their efforts will be noted.
- Reward performers for achieving the company’s goals, and avoid rewarding under-performance. Hold employees responsible for poor performance through verbal or written counseling, or other disciplinary measures if necessary.
- Foster teamwork. Working with others ensures peer accountability and allows creative problem solving to emerge.
- Conduct regular performance reviews to provide formal feedback about an employee’s ability to work independently, follow directions, reach goals, and supervise others.
Reward and Recognize
- Assign specialized tasks to the person best able to achieve them.
- Once you’ve handed a goal or task to your employees, avoid stepping into the process unnecessarily. Show interest and hold them accountable, but let them determine the best way to get the job done. Avoid micro-managing if you want their enthusiasm and motivation to remain high.
Provide Tools for the Job
- Make individual recognition a part of your interactions with every employee. When he or she feels as if their boss cares, they’ll care, too.
- Provide rewards for reaching specific goals. A reward may be a gift, a thank you note, or words of praise. It may single out an individual or be provided for an entire team.
- Individual performance recognition is also important. Reward outstanding performance with certificates, gifts, or pay raises on a regular basis, such as during an annual or semi-annual performance review period.
- Take time to listen. Managers often discard new ideas without giving them much thought simply because they don’t appear immediately relevant. By giving an employee your full attention for an extra minute or two, you may learn that their idea has potential you didn’t consider initially. Even if you do not adopt the idea, by showing your employee that you paid attention and thanking them for looking out for your company’s best interests, they’ll feel valued and continue to strive to do their best.
- You may be able to “get by” without the best tools, but if you don’t have the right kind of tools, productivity will suffer. Employees who scurry about trying to find office supplies aren’t at their most productive. Consider what kinds of tools can boost your employees’ success and eliminate time-wasting problems.
- Education is another tool, and it may be overlooked by management. Supporting education for employees is cost-effective and induces loyalty.
If you provide your employees with the tools they need, give them reasons to want to perform well, and hold them accountable for reaching goals, your business will become a happy, profitable place to work.