Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Michael Zhou. His opinions are his own.
There is a big difference between being truly productive and just be physically present in the workplace. It reflects how much an individual’s skills are bearing fruit for the company or the organization that he/she is working for.
In today’s workplace, it is no less a challenge to maintain productivity on a continuous basis. As a matter of fact, even though there are tools, systems or productivity strategies, many people still struggle to stay on top of their commitments and priorities.
According to John C. Maxwell, an internationally recognized leadership speaker, trainer and author, if you want to create an effective team and give a sustained boost to its productivity, you need to be a truly inspiring leader in the first place. He adds, “Knowing your purpose, setting priorities, and developing efficient practices can help you make the most of your time, while the rest of the team will follow suit”.
Your employees are your greatest asset, for you can achieve any towering feat when you bring best out of them. They have the greatest potential for actually going up in value. Moreover, you don’t have to spend a fortune to do that. Just put yourself in your employee’s shoes and brainstorm the ways how you can improve the work culture so it’s more conducive to your workplace productivity.
Here are 7 effective strategies for you to boost your workplace productivity:
1. Improve employee engagement
Employee engagement is one of the key ingredients of productivity. Employees who are not engaged enough in their job become liable rather than an asset. Engaged employees, on the other hand, show up with energy, stay longer at their work, and are more productive overall.
According to a Gallup survey, only about 33% of the US workforce feels engaged. Worldwide, the figures are even more dismal, with 87% of employees disengaged at significant levels. The costs of ignoring less engaged employees, therefore, could be steep.
So how can you improve employee engagement? It all starts with building a strong work culture that will help in improving engagement in their daily routine. You need to focus on how they communicate with each other, how they should collaborate and delegate tasks between them, and what their attitudes are towards the success of other team members.
2. Improve your employees’ skills with training
With all the advancements and innovations in technology taking place, employees need to be trained (or up-skilled) from time to time. If work processes become stagnant and performances begin to drop, productivity is really hard to achieve.
Cutting out training altogether just to save company time and money could be counter-productive in the long run. An effective training program, on the other hand, helps your employees expand their skill sets, builds an advanced workforce, and increases efficiency and productivity. Training could be in any form: individual coaching, workshops, courses, seminars, shadowing or mentoring, or even just increasing their responsibilities. Providing these opportunities will put your employees in a better position to become more productive.
3. Hire employees that are a cultural fit
Employees who are a cultural fit are in congruence with your company culture, and are more capable of carrying out their work to the best of their ability. You need to first lay down your aligned values, beliefs, behaviors, and experiences that make up your organization’s environment.
Employees who fit well with their organizations, coworkers, and supervisors have greater job satisfaction and show superior job performance. So if you hire the right employees for your business who share your cultural beliefs with effective professional development, you will achieve winning results.
4. Keep their goals clear and focused
More often than not, employees only become efficient when they have a clear and focused goal to aim for. However, strategic goal setting is a key tool for increasing productivity at the workplace. Setting a goal that is achievable but difficult pushes your employees to focus their attention on the goal, minimize distractions and to look for the most efficient ways to complete their tasks.
The more clear, specific or explicit the goal is, the more precisely the performance is regulated. Hence, clear and focused goals can be your decision making framework. So just make sure your workers’ assignments are as clear, specific and narrow as possible. Let them know what impact this assignment will have on the organization’s success.
5. Measure their success but don’t micromanage
For any organization, it is important to keep track of various parameters that are crucial in achieving success. You also know the pool of your employees needs to be managed, provided direction and given assistance so that they would eventually contribute to the organizational success.
The essential success measures for your employees are: financial viability, profitability, customer satisfaction, and key operational results. However, you shouldn’t micromanage to measure these parameters. So the best way to do this is to encourage your employees to take ownership over how they manage their own time and resources. Managers who micromanage their employees’ work generally add to their stress levels on the job, causing them to make more mistakes.
6. Communicate effectively
Communicating authentically helps gain the trust of your employees so that they are inspired enough to work with you. Effective communication is AN extremely crucial element in the workplace because it allows employees to be productive and efficient. Employees feel empowered when they are allowed to establish an upward communication, in which information flows upward and usually consists of feedback and innovative ideas.
Clear-cut communication reduces ambiguity and confusion at the workplace. Technology has created many channels of communication and you should consider incorporating them to effectively communicate at the workplace. But you need to make sure that they don’t kill your staff’s time.
7. Add great perks
Employees respond to appreciation expressed through recognition of their good work because it confirms their work is valued by others. Praise and recognition are essential to an outstanding workplace. With some of the world’s most popular companies increasing useful perks for their employees, small and medium sized companies have also started to realize that it’s an area that needs attention. This way, every employee will stay motivated as well as happy to give their best performance, and become highly productive.
A workplace however big or small should be driven by proven strategies to achieve tangible results in terms of productivity. The above tips will hopefully help you ensure that your employees don’t fall behind and put that extra hour to good, productive use. Put in some time and effort utilizing these given strategies, and you’ll start to see employee productivity on the rise.