6 simple but effective steps to improve employee productivity 1

Employee engagement may be the buzzword of the day in the business world, particularly as we search for ways to enhance employee efficiency. What about employee performance, though?

These ideas aren’t really interchangeable.

It’s possible to have a group of happy, committed workers who enjoy their work but aren’t particularly productive or hardworking. It’s also possible to be surrounded by active yet disengaged workers. So, how do you ensure that your highly engaged workforce is also highly productive?

Despite popular belief, increasing employee productivity does not always necessitate pay increases, extravagant presents, or a commitment to work from home. Many times, going back to the fundamentals of good people management is all that is needed to boost the workforce’s productivity.

Here are some of the fundamentals that will help you lay the groundwork for increased employee productivity.

1. Establish values

Core principles aid in hiring, defining how and why you do business, and identifying who your customers are. Values communicate to the outside world and to your employees what to expect from your business. Employees should be able to easily convert the company’s ideals into behavior. What constitutes good output will be determined by values.After all, ideals that aren’t backed up by a straightforward picture of what productivity looks like aren’t going to be very useful.

An orderly’s good customer service can include walking a patient to the location of their next treatment rather than simply giving them directions. For an accounts payable manager, demonstrating caring customer service may include assisting a patient in resolving a billing mistake that would have resulted in a much higher out-of-pocket expense.

Different functions often necessitate varying applications of core values. But, at the end of the day, it should all lead to the organization’s ideals being expressed and maintained.

2. Communicate clear goals and instructions

Simple blocking and tackling will help the workers understand their work better and be more effective. To begin with, a well-written job description clarifies a position’s duties and assists managers and employees in setting simple, specific performance targets.

Then there’s daily contact with their direct boss, which has been shown to increase employee productivity. That’s because their boss should be assisting them in resolving roadblocks, brainstorming ideas, and better understanding how their individual tasks contribute to the overall organization.

Employees may become confused, bored, or resentful if a manager’s priorities are unclear, and they will be more concerned with their own survival than with helping the company succeed.

3. Keep deadlines realistic

Before you set a deadline for your workers to achieve deadlines or complete tasks, you must first determine:

  • What benchmarks will be used to monitor progress?
  • What steps must be taken to achieve the goal?
  • How long does it take you to complete the task?
  • Is our deadline a stretch, but doable?
  • Is this person’s or team’s overall workload reasonable? What other tasks are they working on?

Make a list of the milestones that will be used to determine progress. Don’t make it difficult for the staff to figure out what those milestones are. Confusion or a lack of clear path leads to irritation, which wastes time and adds to stress levels.

Some managers believe that putting pressure on their employees would increase productivity. When you don’t give workers enough flexibility to reach deadlines, they’re more likely to feel overworked and irritated. Employees are more likely to disengage rather than work together for a shared goal when tempers flare.

4. Don’t micro-manage

As a business leader, your role is to be the coach on the sidelines, ready to answer questions and make suggestions. On the field, a micromanager duplicates or undermines their team’s attempts to perform at their best.

It can be one of the hardest lessons for a manager to learn, but setting clear expectations, providing training and direction, and then letting employees do their job is a manager’s job.

In a healthy management style, you check to see if goals are being reached, but you don’t expect to be involved in every detail of the project.

Having some flexibility is important for people to be satisfied and efficient. They will excel if they have any control and versatility to assist the clients or see a project through to completion.

5. Celebrate success

When employees contribute to the success of your company, they want and deserve to be recognized, so find ways to celebrate both individual and company achievements. Make time to compliment them on the good work they’re doing and the accomplishments they’ve made.

While monetary incentives are often welcome, they are rarely what inspire workers to work harder. Since it recognizes work well done and promotes repeat results, a plain, sincere “thank you” goes a long way toward improving employee morale.

For example, you might hold a contest and reward workers who come up with creative revenue-generating, cost-cutting, safety-improvement, or customer-satisfaction-improving ideas. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant; it’s just about the concept of being acknowledged and valued.

There are several low- or no-cost ways to reward your workers, including gift cards, pop-up coffee shops, team T-shirts, and a variety of other affordable tokens of appreciation.

Never forget that a lack of recognition will cause your best employees to look for jobs where they will be appreciated.

6. Train, retrain and promote

To keep workers productive, don’t put so much emphasis on the immediate needs of your business that you neglect training and growth. You’ll cultivate loyalty to your organization and create a bench of potential leaders if you invest in employee skills.

Also keep in mind that what workers want in terms of job advancement shifts as they progress through life.

Employees fresh out of college may pursue the experience required for promotion, while those in mid-career may seek new challenges by lateraling into a different department. Rather than being qualified to handle people, a subject-matter specialist might want to take lessons on a new technology.

Create workforce development plans that detail how the workers can gain the skills they need, whether by formal or on-the-job preparation, coaching, or mentoring. You’ll need to follow up the training with scenarios that encourage them to apply what they’ve learned to keep them motivated and efficient.

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