Employee productivity is a measure of the product or output of employees in a business. It may be a direct measure like items produced or deals closed, or it may be done with a more general method like tracking costs and time relative to results. However, it is always worthwhile to find ways to increase the productivity of your team. The challenge for many is knowing where to start. Here are 5 ways to increase productivity in the workplace.
Eliminate the Impediments
When work comes to a stop, productivity falls. This may be due to equipment failures on the production line or uncertainty that causes people to hit pause on the project.
The solution is to remove the impediments. You might free people to work as they see fit instead of having to constantly ask for permission, since they may stop working if they can’t consult with a manager. Eliminate delays in getting needed parts to the repair shop or assembly line.
Make Your Business Processes More Efficient
You can improve existing business processes by removing delays. However, this may leave your team working 100% in an inefficient or error-prone process. If you want to know how to increase productivity dramatically, start looking for ways to streamline and speed up your current business process.
Ask your staff for ideas on how to improve performance. This could be anything from removing redundant process checks to automating certain tasks. Ensure that everyone has the tools they need to do the work, so they aren’t waiting for the right ratchet wrench or computer workstation.
Your most productive or specialized team members may benefit from delegating work that can be done by others. In other cases, your less productive team members may need training in how to do things better.
Improve Employee Engagement
Morale is a measure of how happy people are. Engagement matters more, and it has a direct impact on business metrics. For example, engaged employees are less likely to quit and have a lower rate of absenteeism.
Most businesses could take steps to improve employee engagement, since only 34% of employees surveyed say they are engaged at work.
One of the ways that you can improve engagement is to reduce distractions and interruptions. Give people regular breaks so they can check their phone or socialize. Abandon management by intimidation in favor of positive reinforcement. Give praise, and show appreciation when they go above and beyond the call of duty. Provide regular feedback so that employees know how they’re doing relative to their goals. Don’t make them wait months to find out they’re doing things wrong.
Another reason why engagement is so important is for your turnover rates. Companies with high turnover rates will eventually suffer when it comes to productivity for a number of reasons. For one, having a high turnover means that you have more people who are new or inexperienced on the floor. This is strike one against productivity. Then you have to take time from some of your most productive and experienced team members to train new hires. That’s strike two.
You also probably don’t realize how much pressure this puts on senior employees, or those who are suddenly thrust into higher pressure positions because of lack of experience in the team. You then lose the risk of losing some of these valuable players, and end up with no direction or leadership on the floor. That’s strike three.
So, if possible, try to promote stability, and listen to your people on the ground. You want as much experience on the floor as possible and people who understand the procedures and processes in your organization in and out.
Set Realistic Goals
You’ll destroy productivity if you tell everyone to aim to be number one. A few people will compete to earn that top spot, but most of the rest will give up because there is no point.
The better choice is to set realistic productivity goals. Give each person achievable goals, given their position and abilities. Set clear expectations, and give them a direct line to supervisors when they have questions or concerns. A side benefit of setting realistic goals is that people aren’t overly stressed trying to achieve unreasonable ones.
Create a Comfortable Working Environment
Don’t try to save money by letting the office get too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. This is a distraction for your employees. Poor indoor air quality can contribute to low morale and poor health. Invest in heating and air conditioning system maintenance so that people aren’t missing work due to allergies, asthma or feeling claustrophobic because the office is so stuffy.
Before you decide to hire more people or demand overtime, consider how you can improve everyone’s productivity. It has a higher return on the investment, and it may boost morale, too.
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