Every manager wants to have efficient, productive employees, but it’s not a simple task. Employees have different work ethics and oftentimes, companies can get so busy that can be difficult to monitor every employee’s productivity.
However, there are steps that can be taken to improve your employees’ productivity and once you have encouraged them to develop good habits, the rest lies in the maintenance. By following the steps below, you can build up a very powerful, productive, team-focused group of employees that really pay off for your company.
- Lead by example: Employees have varied motivators, but for most, a manager who does not carry his or her weight is very demotivational. Don’t hold your employees accountable for working harder than you do and commend those who do. Instead, set an example of the ideal employee to demonstrate what is expected and to share your standards with your employees.
- Communicate regularly and effectively: It is vital to understand your employees’ workloads so do this through regular communication. Set a time weekly to review all of your employees’ projects, set goals and determine a plan of action with them. If you are aware of what your employees are doing on a daily basis, you are more likely to get better results and hold them more accountable for their work.
- Quantify workloads: Managers are there to manage employees and may not understand the realm of completing employee projects. Because of this, it can be complicated to understand how busy employees really are. Have them calculate how much time each project takes to complete and build a schedule together. You may quickly realize an employee working 40 hours a week has 60 hours of work, so a shift in responsibilities may be needed to even out workloads. This is also very useful for task delegation, so you understand which employees are able to take on more work.
- Illustrate the big picture: It is very motivating to employees to understand how they fit into a company and how their performance can lead to the company’s success or failure. When you illustrate how each employee’s contributions fit into the company, they can work better as a team because they know how processes are connected.
- Reward periodically: In busy companies with high stress levels, employees may begin to feel that they only receive feedback when they make mistakes. If they receive enough of that type of feedback, they can tend to dismiss any positive feedback because they feel overwhelmed by the negative. Make an effort to commend employees on a job well done and to let them feel good about their work. When they can maintain a positive attitude about their workplace, they are more likely to perform better, provide higher quality output and make fewer mistakes.
- Minimize distractions: According to this article, employees spend an average of 2.1 hours per day being interrupted and refocusing. That’s a quarter of a work day! Allow your employees to work with as few distractions as possible by scheduling times to discuss tasks, encouraging a quiet workplace and keeping any interruptions to a minimum. Managers are interrupted once every 8 minutes on average, so by minimizing your interruptions to your employees, encourage them to return the courtesy to you as well so you can all be productive.
As with any process, it is important to revisit procedures on a regular basis to ensure all processes are progressing smoothly. Following these steps once will not solve productivity programs for good, your program needs to evolve for continual improvement. However, once you have set the initial steps in motion, the follow-up will be much easier and you will find that your employees appreciate the structure and communication.