Tough times are here to stay. Stressful work environment, economic meltdown, lack of work continuity, and many other factors make the operating conditions even more difficult. At such a time, businesses big or small have only one solution in their hands that could help them out of many of their problems - "do more with less." This could be done by boosting the productivity of your employees. Here are the top 10 ways to help you do so:
1. Make the right people do the right work - It is the job of the manager to recruit the right person for the right job and make sure that ample support/training is offered to help that person perform in the best manner possible. Productively is seriously affected when people are doing jobs that are of least interest to them. Clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of each employee is extremely important in maintaining a higher level of productivity.
2. Have predefined procedures wherever possible - When people know what they are supposed to do and in what way, they can do it faster and better. By having pre-defined work protocols, systems, ways of handling projects and issues, and day-to-day best practices in place - you can help your employees meet expectations.
3. Enable efficient collaboration - Many organizations feel that a lot of valuable time is wasted in sending emails back-and-forth, and often there is a loss of information in the process. Web-based collaboration tools can solve this problem. Multiple projects can be managed simultaneously, documents could be co-edited in real-time, tasks can be assigned, milestones can be tracked, and automated reminders could be sent, along with a host of other features. Productivity can be improved hugely with the use of such tools.
4. Implement the right technology/tools - Just like you cannot trim grass with a spade, your employees cannot give their best unless they have the right tools. Armed with the correct technology, people can deliver more as they do not have to waste time in figuring out how to use the wrong tool, or in doing the work manually.
5. Ensure skill development - The right skills are as important as the right tools. You cannot expect your employees to swim across the deep-end without teaching them how to swim. Business activity related training as well as soft-skill training should be offered to the employees from time to time. Specific professional training could be conducted for employees so that they see a career growth in your organization.
6. Remove distractions - Popular researches show that unwanted distractions are the major cause of productivity loss in an organization. Distractions could be mental or physical. By removing distractions, you can ensure that your employees can focus well on the tasks. Distractions could be stress, noise in the office, use of personal email/social network in office, family problems, uncomfortable workstation, and so on.
7. Encourage time management - Help your employees in managing their time well and creating a work-life balance. Maintaining and sharing time-sheet/calendar, planning for the next day/week, setting reminders, prioritizing, and other such tasks can be done to ensure optimum use of time.
8. Measure the things you wish to improve - If you do not keep track, you would never know the scope of improvement. Maintain an online document to track employee productivity in terms of time spent on various activities, tasks/milestones accomplished, key performance indicators, and what could be done to improve productivity. Keep in mind that you cannot measure productivity in absolute numbers.
9. Attach incentives/benefits with higher productivity - It is simple to do in a sales job, but in all other jobs too recognition and rewards are very important. A happy person makes a good employee. If your employees feel that whether they work less or more, they will still get the same salary at the end of the day, then your organization cannot grow. Attaching rewards with productivity will ensure that your employees give their best.
10. Don't forget the fun - Informal outings, occasional gifts, office parties, social media interaction, and day-to-day water cooler moments of fun can help in building a personal attachment of the employees with their co-workers and with the organization. This sense of belonging will help boost productivity.
Remember that how your employees perform is in your hands. The people you select, the work environment you create, and the opportunities you offer will all decide how productive your organization is.