It’s no secret that productive employees are a tremendous asset to the companies they work for. A study proving the worth of employees (as a company asset) was officially confirmed by Gallup’s 2017 State of the Global Workplace Report, which stated: Companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share. Here are five actionable strategies for boosting employee productivity.
The Gallup report also explains that only 15% of the global workforce is actively engaged in their work. The other 85% of professionals, on the other hand, do not work to their full potential.
Companies with unproductive and disengaged employees pay a heavy price — but you can boost your employees’ productivity.
Such companies, according to the report, have:
- Higher employee turnover
- More quality-related incidents
- Lower customer satisfaction rates
You’d want to do everything you can to keep employees productive. This post describes five actionable strategies you can use today to boost your employees’ productivity.
1. Give them the right tools (and support).
A great way to help your employees be more productive is by equipping them with the right tools – to ensure that they can go about doing their jobs effectively.
Here are some tools you absolutely must provide to your employees:
It’s always a good idea to invest in high-quality communication tools that help streamline communication within and among teams. Here are a few good ones:
- Slack: Great for team chats. You can use it for one-on-one and group conversations.
- Skype for Business: With the business version of Skype, you can share large files and conferences with up to 250 people simultaneously.
- Zoom: For small teams, Zoom is the perfect video conferencing tool.
- Hangouts Chat: This is Google’s messaging application that also supports basic audio/video calls.
You’d also want your teams to work together better on projects and tasks. Here are a few tools that foster teamwork:
- Hiver: For teams looking to collaborate on managing emails, for support or anything else, Hiver is the ideal solution.
- Basecamp: This app helps you manage your company’s projects across all departments.
- Asana: Asana is a to-do app that helps you manage small tasks.
- Trello: It lets you create Kanban boards for virtually any project. And each board can be shared with an entire team.
- Jira: For teams who work using the Agile methodology, Jira is a great project management tool.
In addition to the right tools, you’d also want to give prompt support to employees when things don’t function the way they’re supposed to. The faster you solve their problems, the more productive they will be.
2. Harness the power of refresher training.
“Three-quarters of UK workers (74%) believe they are not achieving their potential at work and want to be given more training on the job.”
There are many resources available at your disposal to train your current employees. The most effective resource, however, is a competent employee who is already good at their job.
Since a finely tuned, competent employee already know exactly how to work on projects in your company — they can guide the employees who require more training. Of course, to make sure that your employees are motivated to do this, you can tie this task to monetary incentives.
You can offer each employee who successful trains another one a small bonus.
Here are a few other ways to train your employees:
- An on-site trainer: You can hire a trainer and ask them to host educational or skill-based workshops for your employees.
- A high-quality online course: There are many companies and professionals offering courses and consultation services online. You can buy these for your employees to help them improve their knowledge and skillset. Websites like Udemy Coursera are a good place to begin.
Tie these training activities to performance reviews and promotions. This will make sure all your employees will willingly and enthusiastically participate in the required training sessions.
With enough training, employees will become more competent and skillful, which will result in them becoming more productive in the work they do.
3. Build a workplace culture that fosters innovation.
To make your employees more productive, you have to create a workplace culture that accelerates productive thinking, instead of one that stifles it. Here’s how:
Empower your employees to play a more active part in your company.
In some organizations, employees have zero say about the tasks they will work on. As a result, ideas don’t spread. They stagnate.
Do the opposite — and instead, allow your employees the privilege to give feedback and make suggestions to decision-makers within your organization. This will enable a culture where ideas will flourish, and out-of-the-box solutions will emerge.
Create a relaxed work environment.
33% of workers report that they often or nearly always’ feel burned out at work.
To increase their productivity, you should allow your employees to relax and take breaks.
A few unconventional relaxation strategies that studies show improve productivity are:
- Allow occasional web surfing: Employees who occasionally distract themselves from work and surf the web are 9% more productive.
- Encourage micro-breaks of up to 5 minutes. This increases productivity by 11.5%.
- Motivate employees to take short walks every day: A Stanford study concluded that walking improved creative output by up to 60%.
4. Use goal-setting to boost productivity in your employees
To boost your employees’ productivity, you should adopt the practice of ‘goal-setting’ in your company. By setting goals, employees’ performance improves by 12-15%, even without financial incentives.
For optimal results, start by implementing: Big Hairy Audacious Goals.
Here’s what it means according to Jim Collins and Jerry Poras, who coined this term:
BHAGs are bold, falling in the gray area where reason and prudence might say “This is unreasonable,” but the drive for progress says, “We believe we can do it nonetheless.” Again, these aren’t just “goals”; these are Big Hairy Audacious Goals.”
For example, Microsoft’s original BHAG was to put a computer in every home. Similarly, you should also define what your company’s ultimate goal is – that you want to achieve in four, six, or even ten years.
After you define your BHAG, align all your employees’ short, medium, and long-term goals towards achieving this goal. You will need to include the steps to achieving and reaching this goal, as a BHAG on its own is not enough.
Once you’ve defined the goal and written out the steps to get there — start measuring which employees consistently hit their daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual goals.
Identify those employees who aren’t hitting their goals as efficiently as other employees.
- Help these employees. You need not have anything negative actions attached. Your employees want to do this.
- Remove any roadblocks in the way of their performance.
- Give employees the required training and flexibility to do their work.
You’ll see that your employees’ productivity levels will rise.
- Employees become driven by the urgency to hit their short, mid, and long-term goals.
- Ultimately, you will see, employees will love your company’s Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
5. Boost your employees’ morale.
In 85% of companies, morale declines sharply after just six months. As a result, employees become disengaged, and their productivity levels take a hit.
To boost morale in your employees:
- Start by making sure they have a work-life balance.
- Create employee-friendly policies that encourage your employees not to constantly check their work emails outside work hours.
- Encourage employees not to spend too much time in the office.
- Create and support initiatives that increase your employees’ wellness. And such initiatives don’t even have to be high-cost. It can be something as simple as providing better coffee — or allowing video games and exercise breaks (both of which, incidentally, help increase productivity!).
Lastly, you can boost employee productivity simply by asking them what positive changes they want to see in your company.
Employees have opinions about your company and how to improve it. Conduct simple stay interviews — in which you ask your top employees questions such as:
- What about this company makes you want to stay.
- What about this company makes you want to leave.
- What can we do to make work-life here more satisfactory?
Merely asking these questions helps build trust. The result of asking will boost your employees’ morale.
In addition, because you asked — you’ve gained valuable insight on what your employees require from your company to do their best work. If you implement a few suggestions, it will lead to higher productivity and performance.