In your business, you are the boss and the team leader. You are in charge of your business and all its operations. And, the success of your business operations lies in the productivity of your employees.
Most bosses think that their employees’ productivity lies solely in the employees’ hands but that’s not how it’s supposed to be. Both the employer and the employee have a role to play to ensure employee productivity.
Productivity is simply characterized by efficiency. In business, efficiency ensures business growth and productive employees make a business grow and succeed.
Experts say, a business with effective and productive employees becomes more profitable, meets consumer demands, and stays relevant to the market.
Strategies to Increase employee productivity.
Being in charge of your business, there are several strategies you can put into consideration that could help you increase your employee productivity.
Emphasize Quality work over quantity.
Help your employees understand that what they accomplish when they are working is more important than the time they spend getting the work done.
An employee may take a lot of time to accomplish a task but that does not equate to the quality of the work they do. Some employees spend the whole day at the office but get so little done in terms of the value of their work.
It’s easy for a boss to measure their employee’s productivity by idealizing the perfect worker as the one who comes spends a lot of time in the office. This perfect worker comes to the office before everyone else and leaves after everyone else. This is not an exclusive or effective way to measure employee productivity.
In 2014, researchers at Stanford discovered a “productivity cliff”. From the “productivity cliff”, the researchers found that workers who put in 70 hours a week produced less than workers who work 55 hours doing similar work. Working longer hours does not really guarantee better results.
To ensure quality work, allow your employees to take necessary breaks during the workday as this allows them to recharge. You could also consider having a shorter workday and encourage your employees to not carry work home so they can be able to also focus on their personal lives too. This also allows them to relax and have a work-life balance reducing their stress levels and in turn increase their productivity.
Work with set goals and analyze performance.
Setting goals is a good strategy and an easy one to measure and analyze.
As the business team leader, come up with clear and achievable goals. This helps your team stay focused as they have something they are aiming for.
If it’s increasing sales by 15% annually or quarterly, your team knows what they are aiming for and this guides them and increases their productivity.
Goals that are not clear do not boost motivation and productivity.
Set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) goals with your team and have clear and specific assignments for each employee. Let them understand the importance of their role and the impact of their assignment. Remember to match tasks and assignments with skills and experience. This helps your employees stay focused on the goals and stay efficient.
Come up with ways to analyze and measure the main goals and to measure individual performance through their individual assignments towards the main goals.
Come up with flexible schedules.
It’s obvious that people have different productivity clocks during the day. Some are more productive in the earlier morning hours while others work best in the afternoons.
Create work schedules that accommodate both and help employees be productive. That means if you have a strict 9-5 schedule, you might have to loosen it.
Allow your employees to have work time blocks and have breaks between the work blocks. You can allow your employees 2 hours break clock to do something away from work then finish their workday later in the day. Such a break gives your employees time to regain their energy.
Consider allowing your employees to work remotely. Studies show that 65% of employees feel more productive when working away from the office. Figure out which positions are eligible to work away from the office and work out availability and determine the response time and login times.
Ensure employee engagement to boost productivity
“A highly engaged workforce can outperform a company experiencing low employee engagement by 202%.” – Barasha Medhi at Vantage Circle
Employees are more productive when they are happy at work, motivated, and engaged in what they do, and engaged with their colleagues.
Engaged employees create a good and a healthy working environment.
When your employees feel appreciated they are more engaged and this increases their productivity. Learn to give feedback to your employees and frequently reward them for their quality work.
Let your employees know that their opinions matter and involve them in decision-making processes that affect them.
Ensure better employee training and development.
Experts say employees feel lost and frustrated when they don’t know what to do and how to do it.
Train your employees so that they get to understand what to do and how to do it. This boosts their confidence and makes them more efficient at work.
Employees in small businesses tend to have many responsibilities that cut across different areas. With the many hats these employees wear, training them and equipping them with needed skills to perform in different positions increases their efficiency.
Ensure Effective communication.
When you communicate clearly and effectively with your team, they will understand your expectations of them. Help them know and understand your company’s mission, visions, and goals.
Ensure regular interactions between, your senior team, and your junior staff. This gives employees the chance to brainstorm with their seniors, come up with solutions as a team. It also helps employees understand their individual roles affect the business.
Lack of clarity in expectations and roles can cause confusion among the employees and also widen the gap between supervisors or seniors and the juniors.
With so many communication tools available, determine which one works best for your team. Most companies use emails, however, a study by McKinsey shows that emails take 28% of employees’ time. It was considered as the second most time-consuming activity and it takes time for employees to adjust back to work after checking emails.
You don’t have to solely use email and when you do, make them as short as possible. You can consider using other communication tools that are faster to use and do not consume your employees’ time.
Allow two way feedback.
Improving the feedback culture in your business will help improve your employee productivity.
Obviously, you have individuals who are very efficient and others who are not. Let the productive and efficient individuals know they are doing well and that you recognize their effort and their work.
On the other hand, the individuals who are not productive probably don’t even know they are not. Therefore, you need to let them know they are not being efficient at their work and the areas they need to work on.
Practice holding individual meetings with your employees and discuss their performance reviews with them. Let them know they can get better and show them that you are willing to help them improve their performance. Let them ‘review’ your performance too as increasing their efficiency lies in your hands as the business owner too. Ask them where you could change and do better as their leader that would in turn help them to be more productive and efficient at their work.
Alexander Hicks at Workest says that asking for feedback from your team helps you know how you can help your employees and importantly encourages open dialogue. An open dialogue culture between you and your team fuels your team’s and company’s growth.
Delegate and stop micromanaging.
As a team leader, learn to delegate tasks as much as you can.
First, let each employee know their roles and responsibilities in your business. Defining these roles helps employees be more productive as they know what they are expected to do.
Clearly defined roles help you delegate tasks better as you know who can do what task.
As an entrepreneur, your business means a lot to you and it’s natural to feel the need and the pressure to have everything your way. You want to have a direct and an upper hand to everything and everyone in your business. However, this type of attitude will unnoticeably affect your team’s productivity. This makes your team feel inadequate and that you can’t trust them to get work done without you checking over every tiny detail. You will be wasting your time and your team’s time.
Research shows that micromanagement demoralizes 85% of employees and endless supervision makes them doubt their abilities.
Share responsibilities among your team matching the responsibility with the right skills and experience. Trust your employees to do well without having to be under their nose all the time.
Delegating these tasks, even those that appear big help your employees gain experience, expand their skill sets and this benefits your business as it benefits them.
When you understand the crucial role of employee productivity in your business, you will value employee productivity.
Figure out ways to increase your employee productivity by understanding what is important to your business in general and to your employees.
To increase your employee productivity, learn how to engage with your team. Improve your communication, give and ask for feedback, and avoid micromanaging your team. Cross-train your employees to boost their confidence and also allow flexible schedules.