Productivity, “the measure of the efficiency of a person, machine, factory, system etc., in converting inputs into useful outputs” (from the Business dictionary). So how does this translate tangibly into the working world? Well, behind every piece of equipment, strategy and sale lies some type of human involvement. So in essence, productivity rests on your company’s workforce, and is therefore the first place to look if we want to enhance it.
Employers can be preoccupied with the stresses of increasing profitability, keeping ahead of the competition and boosting production that they sometimes fail to notice that their most valuable assets are demotivated, and more importantly, how this demotivation is negatively impacting the success of the organization.
Enhancing your employees’ productivity shouldn’t be seen as an added stressor, but an added awareness. Here are some things to consider.
Regular follow-ups and feedback
Although managers are typically dealing with more senior-level targets, it is also important to keep track of what’s happening on the floor (the operations) to ensure the engagement of their employees.
Weekly or bi-weekly meetings to discuss progress and hurdles can help your workforce stay on track and receive a much needed refresher before embarking on a project (especially if it’s a long-term project). So make a point to check-in! If not for your own peace of mind, but for the support of your team.
Make attainable goals clear
Sometimes, organizational objectives are not communicated clearly, which can leave employees feeling unsure as to where they stand or how they contribute to this ultimate goal. Explaining in a more concrete way how the company’s concepts and visions are transferable to the field (and reality!) will decrease ambiguity among your workforce.
What does this desired outcome look like, how is it quantifiable and qualifiable, how will we know when we get there? These are things employers should communicate tangibly so that employees have clear, realistic targets to aim for. Paint them a picture of what success looks like so they can envision it. Give them a reason to be productive!
Show them the meaning of prioritizing
"Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important."
– Stephen R. Covey
Sometimes, we tend to spend too much mental energy on certain aspects of our work that are not as beneficial in the end. We get caught up with putting out fires, unpredictable setbacks or having to tackle a pile of accumulated filing we postponed for far too long.
Helping your workforce regularly adopt a full picture of their tasks and responsibilities and prioritize them according to importance and urgency will help enhance your employees’ productivity. Whether they want to use a calendar or prefer writing a list, the key thing is knowing what lies ahead and how much time they will need to achieve their goals.
Then, they can begin to prepare, delegate and/or allocate an appropriate amount of time for each, as opposed to being bombarded with several urgent tasks that may or may not be important to begin with.
Motivated employees are productive employees
It goes without saying that a motivated person is likely to work harder, be happier and persevere more than someone who is demotivated in their work. But before you can motivate your employees, you need to know WHO needs WHAT, and HOW.
Assuming that everyone can be motivated by the same things is the first mistake. Understanding what type of encouragement will boost your employees’ productivity, whether it be monetary, recognition or a simple pat on the back, is imperative and mustn’t be overlooked. Learn how to assess motivation within your organization!
Opportunity to grow
The world is forever changing. Trends are redefined, new technologies are invented and employees are expected to “get with the times” in order to succeed. At some point, productive employees want to self-actualize and not rest on their laurels. Offering them the tools to grow, such as the latest applications and software, gadgets like smartphones and laptops, as well as other means to develop their expertise, like courses and training programs, are ways to ensure that they stay productive.
Creating a developmental plan as part of their career profile also lets employees know that they are important and worth the investment.
Strengths aligned with tasks = productivity
When tasks and responsibilities are aligned with an employee’s strengths, great things can happen! For one, they are more efficient because what is asked of them is coming from a very natural place. Secondly, they themselves feel more motivated because they are good at what they do. Lastly, there is less chance for high stress levels or burnouts because they are doing something that is more natural to them on a regular basis.
Knowing the innate potential of your workforce is a great way to enhance your employees’ productivity because happy workers are productive workers. Read more on how you can improve the working environment by understanding natural reflexes.
Keep the communication alive
Employees’ productivity can also be influenced by how we exchange or express our ideas, thoughts and feelings with one another. When communication is very closed, there can be a lot of he-said/she-said, drama and misinterpretations among teams, which can then create a very tense and confusing working environment.
So speak up and clear the air when you’re having a problem, when you need some assistance, or when you’re feeling overloaded! Don’t accumulate frustrations or make too many concessions because this will only hinder your productivity in the end.
And don’t forget to mention the good! Let someone know when they’ve done a good job, congratulate them, and express your appreciation for them. Sometimes, we tend to only communicate the bad, which may cause someone to be less motivated to work for or around you. As a result, employees’ productivity declines.
So there you have it. The enhancement of your employees’ productivity rests in your ability to schedule regular follow-ups, set an example for good and clear communication, motivate your workforce and show them the meaning of effective prioritizing. Make sure you know how your employees are built and where their strengths are most beneficial, as well as give them the opportunity to grow and self-actualize.
Remember that a lot of employees start off productive…but it’s maintaining their productivity that requires more effort. Find out how now!