Productive workers are essential to your business and commercial success. Without productive workers, you spent a lot on rehiring, training and recruiting and you continue the cycle of being constantly behind. You have no room to innovate because you are barely meeting deadlines. The workplace environment gets more stressful, which leads to even less productivity. The cycle is endless.
On the other hand, when people are at their peak work efforts, things move along well. Even when there are challenges, they can be worked through quickly and efficiently. People do not feel so bogged down. Employees who are surrounded by other productive employees tend to be fairly autonomous and can work without much oversight. This frees up management and leaders to create new business opportunities and consider innovative ways to keep businesses successful.
A Gallup poll let American bosses know that only about 33 percent of employees felt engaged. Disengaged employees are absent more often, less productive and more likely to leave the company. Here is how to keep employees engaged and working hard.
1. Change Your Hiring Practices
You want your employees to be engaged from their very first day on the job. That means you need to go back even further and look at your hiring and recruitment processes. Your employees should be screened for how well they fit into your company culture. If an employee starts out and immediately feels disengaged or uninterested in how the business functions or how teams work together, they will likely be unproductive in the near future.
In addition, if an employee’s personality or learning style does not fit with your training process, they may quickly become discouraged. Save time and money down the road by improving your hiring and recruiting practices.
2. Ensure That Employees Learn New Things
Hiring the right people is not enough to ensure productivity. People need to feel like they are valued members of the team in order to want to work hard for that team. Training is a crucial part of that process. Early on, employees want to be on-boarded quickly and learn the ropes so that they do not feel like they are constantly behind.
Once they are well-established in their roles or even at mid-career, employees want to continue learning new things. Try putting employees to tasks that are outside of their job descriptions with the explanation that you are trying to help them discover new talents and possible new interests. You can even have employees pair up with someone to shadow to find out what and how their work impacts the rest of the company.
3. Have Clear Methos of Accountability
Nobody likes to be micromanaged, but, at the same time, people do need feedback and direction. A manager who is completely hands-off may think that they are giving their employees autonomy and independence. However, if an employee feels like they are not being managed at all, they will lose productivity.
This may happen because they do not know what else to do with their project or they may lose productivity because they do not have any means of accountability. No one is checking in to see where they are at or what they are working on. So they feel like they have more time than they do. Having daily stand-ups, solid due dates and frequent employee check-ins help to keep accountability on the table without it feeling like over management.
4. Communicate Clearly and Keep the Lines Open
Sometimes the lack of productivity is due to poor communication. When a manager is unclear about what they expect, an employee may not feel empowered to discuss what needs to be done. Instead, they wait for the manager to come to them with new directives or a line of next steps. However, if you ensure that your communication and directions are clear, have the employee repeat back to you what they need to do and then check in that is what they are doing on a frequent basis, you will find that productivity improves.
5. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements
Sometimes the lack of productivity comes from issues in an employee’s life outside of the job. Employees may have children or they may be caretakers of their parents and they are stretched thin with time. When they are at the office, their minds are elsewhere. Offering flexible work arrangements may help employees stay focused on their jobs and help them save time.
For example, maybe an employee has to take a parent to a regular doctor’s appointment. On those days, the employee could work from home in order to save on commute time. In addition, some employees are night owls and their working schedules might be shifted to accommodate that. By being flexible with employee working arrangements, you can help them focus on work when it is time to work.
To learn more about how Grand Canyon University’s Colangelo College of Business provides leaders with the best ideas about how to best support their employees, visit our website or click the Request More Information Button on this page.