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Organizations have long struggled to maintain the productivity of their workforce.
Managing what employees accomplish on any given day impacts their productivity, which is critical to meeting corporate objectives.
Employees admit to wasting an average of 2.9 hours per 8-hour workday doing non-work activities.
These activities include surfing the internet, social media, personal phone calls, and email.
This wasted time is costing employers billions of dollars every year.
Employers need to learn how to increase employee productivity by fostering a positive work environment and providing the tools for employees to work efficiently and focused.
13 Tips to Increase Employee Productivity
1. Hire the Right People
Hiring decisions should be based on identifying the right person for the job. Personal interviews can be one way to identify the right candidate.
This can be done by asking job candidates about their work accomplishments during the interview process.
You should also ask for copies of performance appraisals from former employers to see what their prior bosses have documented about their work history.
2. Provide Essential Training
Trained employees perform at higher levels. Invest the time and money into training that will enhance employee skills and speed.
If your business uses industry-specific software, ensure employees take the necessary classes to quickly get them up to speed.
Offer the help of a coworker who can help tutor or answer questions that might slow an employee down. Or create a program for project-based learning to increase employee skills.
3. Set Employee Goals
Set goals for employees that are tied to organizational goals.
It is important to always try to include the employee in the goal planning process so they understand why the goals are written and the expectation of achieving them.
This should include establishing a timeline for completing goals and understanding the consequences if the employee misses the deadline.
4. Manage Distractions
Distractions at work rob your business of productive hours every day.
Whether it is the chatty cubemate, Internet news stories, or text messaging – employee distraction is a real issue.
Managing distractions can be sensitive, but if done well can help the employee feel like they have choices while holding them accountable for tasks.
The best way to manage an employee’s non-productive tasks is to allow time in the day for them to socialize, text friends, check Facebook, or cruise the news headlines.
The reality is that most employees will do it anyway, so managing when they do it communicates to the employee that you recognize the importance of these activities, so they don’t feel the need to hide it.
5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Employees benefit from communication.
Create processes for communicating with employees by sharing information in team meetings or using software to keep information flowing.
This steady stream of information flow will help employees understand what needs to be done and will foster collaboration with coworkers.
6. Empower Employees
Employees who feel empowered and autonomous in their work will perform at higher levels and will ultimately get more done!
Empower your employees to make decisions. This will show them that you trust them, resulting in them taking ownership of their job.
7. Manage Employee Performance
Employees need to be held accountable for job responsibilities.
It is the department manager’s responsibility to manage employee performance and make sure employees are meeting job requirements.
This is done by setting and communicating clear expectations so employees understand what it is they will be held accountable for.
Many time management software available can help with this, which can be particularly helpful with employees who work offsite or from home.
8. Challenge Employees
Most employees can learn job requirements and increase their speed of completing tasks.
The manager should focus on developing and challenging them to take on more duties as their capacity increases.
Tip: Keep goals and job descriptions current so they reflect changing responsibilities.
9. Foster Engagement
Engaged employees are more likely to be productive than employees who are just watching the clock.
Create systems and processes to support a strong culture of engagement which will help maximize employee efforts.
10. Provide Ongoing Feedback
Employees want to know that they are doing a good job. Take the time to provide ongoing feedback so staff know how you think they are performing.
If there are issues with their performance, point them out and encourage employees to make course corrections.
This ongoing feedback is invaluable when it is time for a performance appraisal because any work issues have already been discussed and addressed.
Employees appreciate that.
11. Encourage Work-life Balance
Employees need to feel safe prioritizing home responsibilities.
Foster a work-life balance culture by communicating its importance from the top down.
Provide adequate Paid Time Off benefits and flexible schedules, and remote work options when possible.
One way to emphasize the importance of work-life balance is to lead by example.
Do this by taking time for personal activities and showing employees that your personal life is important and theirs should also be.
Cross-train employees so that your top performers will not struggle with returning to a mounting workload after taking time off.
12. Reward Good Performance
It is important to have a good reward system for meeting objectives and going above and beyond the call of duty.
When you reward good performance, you are actually giving your employees an incentive to increase their productivity.
13. Make the Tough Call
Unfortunately, some employees will only do the bare minimum and rarely go above and beyond. This is a mindset that can be difficult to change.
For instance, if you hire a relative and they are not meeting expectations, you need to make the tough call to correct the situation.
At times, it may become necessary to make the difficult decision of terminating an employee.
It is important to do this quickly because unproductive employees tend to impact the morale of other employees who are pushing their productivity limits.
Employees Want to Do A Good Job
Finally, it is important to remember that most employees come to work with the intent of doing a good job.
Establishing efficient systems and processes can have a significant impact on an organization’s productivity. While managing these processes may require time and effort, the benefits are well worth it.
How productive are your employees?