Employee productivity is important to every organisation, no matter how big or small. In basic terms, it is the measure of an employee's output. Employees are a company's biggest asset, so when they are thriving, so too will the business. When your teams are able to make substantial gains and improvements in a short space of time, it will ultimately impact the business's bottom-line as well as improve their morale and motivation levels. It's a win-win for both parties.
It's important to note that there is a difference between productivity and effectiveness. Productivity refers to the amount of work completed, whereas effectiveness refers to the amount of effort put into that work. Emphasis needs to be put on both aspects in order to ensure that that the maximum effort is put into completing as much work in as short of a time as possible. This will benefit the company by being more profitable, meeting consumer demands and ultimately remaining competitive.
There are many ways in which you can increase employee productivity, some are easy things to implement, whereas others come with time and resource.
Employees have different times in their days where they are at their prime, so often, a 9-5 schedule may not bring out optimum productivity. As people's schedules differ, offering flexibility will ease the pressure off them so for example, they can take their children to school or they can miss rush hour traffic and so on. There are so many ways to offer this type of flexibility, be it coming in an hour earlier and leaving earlier, working from home one day a week or doing shorter hours. Whichever arrangement works best for the business as a whole will be meaningful and valuable for each and every member of the workforce. According to a study by Workplace Trends, 75% of employees rated flexibility as their most important workplace benefit. This flexi-working will also prevent employees from calling in sick or using other such excuses to avoid coming in.
In the same measure as offering this flexibility, organisations need to reassure all their employees that flexibility is allowed as long as the tasks get done. Employees should not feel judged for taking advantage of flexible working, but rather feel comforted knowing they are supported which will result in productivity. Productivity improves by 20-25% in organisations with connected employees who are engaged with their work and how they are treated, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.
Stop micromanaging, start trusting
Micromanagement is one of the most widely condemned managerial sins as well as one of the most common employee complaints which hinders productivity and engagement. This can contribute to inefficiency, low morale, instability and high employee turnover. According to Gallup, disengaged workers had 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and 60% more errors and defects Nobody likes having their manager hovering over their shoulder watching their every move. In order to increase employee productivity, managers should delegate tasks to their teams and have enough trust that they will get the job done efficiently and effectively. Make it clear to your employees that you’re confident with them and they will be motivated to work harder and smarter. 85% of employees feel demoralized by micromanagement according to the book, My Way or the Highway by Harry Chambers. Empowerment breeds performance and productivity. Employees crave freedom and autonomy, it's an expression of their identity and highlights a freedom of creative exploration.
Offer Employee Training
Training and development opportunities will help improve your teams' knowledge and skills, and by extension their work performance and productivity levels. Management can enroll their employees on courses which they can do at their own pace or within a dedicated period. Some training programmes offer analytics and bespoke reporting options so you can track the progress of your employees and see their growth. Hands-on training is another very valuable developmental tool in order for your team to gain real experience while learning at the same time. The more skilled people are, the more productive and smarter they can work.
Improving workplace conditions
This sounds simple, but ensuring your employees' workstations are designed and set-up in an optimum way, can most certainly contribute to their levels of productivity. This may be harder to control when your employees are still working from home, especially during the pandemic. You can create a set of recommendations which can be distributed with top ways to improve the working environment.
Encourage self-care and wellbeing
A healthy employee is a happier employee, and a happier employee is more productive. There are so many avenues management can use to encourage this healthier way of life and wellbeing. Organisations can offer different employee benefit packages which include things such as discounted gym memberships, online yoga classes and offers with mindful apps, such as HeadSpace and Calm. Employees can also be signed up to stress-release classes teaching them the necessary skills to take care of themselves when needed. HR can allocate time slots where employees can take an hour off a week to focus on something which calms them and brings back their Zen. When employees feel looked after and taken care of, and that the business cares about their holistic wellbeing, they are more likely to give back in abundance to their roles, teams and larger organisation.
Show appreciation and give recognition
One of the most simplistic, yet much needed, human necessities is to feel appreciated, recognised and acknowledged. A lack of recognition and appreciation has serious negative consequences and can create a wave of disengagement, disloyalty and decreased productivity levels. Employees are craving this encouragement and acknowledgment especially while trying to work in a normal capacity, while the external world is so uncertain. So, whether it's informal recognition such as taking the time to say a simple "thank you" or "well done" via a Zoom call with the team, or a short video which can be emailed out, or a formal reward and recognition programme, they both can do wonders. Employees will feel motivated and passionate and their drive to do more and more will duplicate. Showing this simple appreciation will harness a great sense of warmth and passion which will be injected back into the business. Invest the time and effort, as the rewards speak for themselves.
In conclusion, the more engaged and productive your employees are, the more they will contribute to the business and the more your business will flourish. Without a proper HR plan for productivity management and improvements, companies may struggle with the lack of unproductive teams, whereas by having some measures in place in order to motivate and ensure employee happiness, there is greater potential for overall success.
Employee recognition can help boost employee productivity, engagement and business success. Download our free e-book to find out more.