Effective Strategies for Increasing Employee Productivity
In many cases, employee productivity can be the difference between a successful business and one that fails. Simply put, it is an assessment of the efficiency of an individual or group of workers, and can be evaluated in terms of output over a specific time period. With employee wages making up a large part of a company’s expenditure, it is important that the highest value possible is derived from each individual, and this is done by creating as productive a workforce as possible.
That being said, ensuring that each employee’s output is greater than the company’s input and therefore consistently achieving a high level of employee productivity, is much harder than it seems. Poor training, low motivation, and lack of engagement can all adversely affect productivity, leading to inevitably negative consequences for a business. However, there are a number of strategies for boosting employee output which, if followed, will help maintain success and lead to a thriving workplace.
Equipping your team with the right set of skills for the job will not only improve their level of job satisfaction, it will also inspire confidence in the idea that the tasks they are carrying out are being done correctly. In a study of more than 3,000 workplaces conducted by the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce, if there is an increase in workforce training by just 10%, it will lead to an 8.6% rise in overall productivity.
The provision of training imparts a sense of career development on employees, making them feel more valued by a company that has evidently deemed it worthwhile to invest in them. The existence of an intrinsic link between job satisfaction and productivity means that any action that results in a happier workforce will, in turn, produce higher output per worker. While it may not be the cheapest option available, the long term benefits of teaching new skills to employees far outweigh the costs.
Give constructive feedback
Employee engagement refers to an individual’s commitment to the goals of an organization and their motivation to contribute to its long term success. Rather than turning up to work simply to earn a wage, an engaged employee genuinely cares about the business and its values, resulting in higher standards of work, surpassing of basic expectations and a greater number of valuable contributions. According to Inpulse.com, multiple studies have shown that employees who feel invested in their work have a much higher productivity rate, and a key method of achieving this is by providing constructive feedback.
This can take a variety of different forms, including the following:
- Letting individuals know that you value both them and their input
- Setting and explaining standards regarding behavior and performance
- Guiding people back onto the right track when they have misunderstood a goal or task
- Motivating employees by offering recognition when they exceed expectations
- Fostering trust by opening up an honest and informal dialogue
Applying these measures in the day-to-day running of a workplace will help build effective working relationships, as well as improve levels of employee engagement, two key ingredients for maximizing overall productivity.
One of the most detrimental impacts on employee productivity stems from a lack of freedom and autonomy within the workplace. Micromanagement indicates the attempt by senior figures to control every aspect of an organization, preventing employees from making their own decisions and being free to carry out a task in their own way. Not only does it annoy people, but it can also seriously damage of levels of trust as it makes employees feel as though their every move is being carefully scrutinized.
Rather than micromanaging, encouraging workers to take ownership over how they manage time and resources is an effective way of increasing productivity. While the idea of less management may appear counter-intuitive, psychological studies suggest that people will respond more positively to being offered greater freedom than they will to financial rewards. Those who are allowed to work from home and are not tied down to a strict working schedule are shown to take fewer breaks and submit work more quickly.
Setting clear goals
There is nothing worse than spending time delegating tasks only for your employees to come back to you an hour later saying they have not fully understood what they must do. However, frequently, the root cause of this is not on the employee, but rather on the delegator themselves. Setting clear goals will help reduce the risk of confusion and, therefore, improve productivity by allowing people to go straight ahead and complete tasks to the correct standard within the allotted time frame.
When thinking about how to make aims as clear as possible, it is a good idea to refer to ‘SMART’, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound. This will help prevent any ambiguity arising and ensure the task that needs completing has been effectively communicated to employees.
Incentive plans that offer rewards to employees are valuable ways of providing encouragement and improving levels of job satisfaction. While employee engagement should be the number one priority, allowing people to work towards something immediate and tangible will almost certainly help increase overall productivity. Incentives can arrive in a variety of forms, including cash bonuses, extra paid vacation days or gift items of non-monetary value. In an age in which the average time any one employee stays with a company is less than four years, offering incentives can also be a highly effectual way of encouraging loyalty to a company.
Overall, it is clear that there are a number of effective strategies for substantially boosting employee productivity. As a key component of business performance, taking the right steps to ensure that the workforce is operating at the maximum output can ultimately make or break a company. While incentives and training require financial investment, there are also a number of very simple ways, such as improving communication and building positive relationships that will lead to an immediate change within an organization.