Why aren’t employees as productive as they could be? Some well-know reasons include stress, overwork, poor health, and an unpleasant work environment. While it isn’t up to employers to provide workers with everything they need for a happy, balanced life, some of the best ways to increase employee productivity go a long way toward addressing many of these key reasons while improving the business’s success.
Create a Positive User Experience
Many seasoned employees can remember the days when computers were mysterious, complicated creatures requiring hours of training and extensive processes for carrying out even the most basic of tasks. While consumer electronics entered the era of digital ease eons ago, workplace technology is just catching up. The modern enterprise portal eliminates the unpleasantness that comes with using clunky, complex software. Technology that simplifies workflow and delivers a positive user experience creates engaged, more productive employees.
Increase Employee Engagement
When employees don’t feel an emotional connection with the companies they work for, they are far less productive. Absenteeism is higher, workflow suffers, turnover increases, the customer service experience is dissatisfying, and profits suffer. Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report reveals a number of shocking statistics, among them the fact that only 33% of workers in the U.S. feel that all-important sense of engagement.
Many factors come into play when considering how to increase employee engagement. Chief among them:
- Trust and transparency
- Inclusion and empowerment
- Clear objectives and outcomes
- Fairness and constructive feedback
- Supportive skill building
- Opportunities for advancement
Provide Positive Reinforcement and Recognition
It’s true that most contracts stipulate a specific pay rate for the completion of a task or a certain number of hours. Remember though, a salary isn’t the only thing that matters.Humans need to feel valued for their contributions, making positive reinforcement and recognition essential: A simple “Thank You” for a job well done goes a long way toward fostering engagement and in turn increasing productivity and satisfaction alike.
Despite the well-known fact that recognition, motivation, and productivity go hand in hand, the Aberdeen Group reports that this form of incentivization is scarce.Only 14% of organizations provide their managers with the means to systematically provide workers with recognition and other meaningful rewards. Providing employees with social recognition costs very little in terms of time or money, yet it contributes greatly to productivity so long as it is implemented with fairness and timeliness in mind.Taking a team approach can help eliminate issues such as jealousy, which is one factor managers tend to cite when explaining a lack of positive reinforcement in the workplace.
Give Employees a Sense of Autonomy
Many leaders are surprised to discover that most employees perform better when managers take a hands-off approach. In an interview with Hubstaff, productivity expert Robby Slaughter of AccelaWork Business Improvement was asked how companies could enhance productivity. He replied that freedom was the way forward, stating that “The best way to encourage productivity is to encourage individuals to take ownership over how they manage their own time and resources. This is a wonderfully self-correcting process: We want people who are self-starters and are able to operate independently. Granting workers freedom over when, how, and where they work creates roof of their work ethic in a way that trying to control them cannot.”
A study conducted by Accountemps revealed the negative impact that micromanaging can have on employees: 68 percent of respondents said that their morale suffered, and an astonishing 55 percent said that excessive scrutiny contributed to reduced productivity.
Communicate Clear, Focused, Achievable Goals
Productivity is directly tied to the availability of clearly defined, tightly focused goals that come with the added advantage of being achievable. The SMART Principle makes it easy for leaders to create actionable goals. Ask the following questions while considering objectives, and your employees will find that focusing comes naturally:
- Specific: Is the goal well-defined? Will everyone involve understand its meaning?
- Measurable: What are the goal’s parameters? Is there a specific numerical target involved?
- Attainable: Is this goal within my employees’ reach? If not, what tools, strategies, or training is needed?
- Realistic: Is this goal a realistic one that makes sense to everyone involved?
- Timely: What is the deadline? What is the time and date for completing this goal?
Remember that simple goals are faster and easier to meet, and that inexperienced employees will respond better to smaller goals that feel achievable. Breaking monolithic tasks into smaller, bite-size pieces prevents employees from feeling overwhelmed and leads to enhanced productivity.
By giving workers appropriate goals, ensuring that they have the right tools for completing their jobs without frustration, using best practices for management, and creating a positive atmosphere, employee productivity will increase and your business will prosper.