Did you know that employees in the UK are wasting more than half of their working year on repetitive, administrative tasks? Further research also indicates that this kind of unproductive working and lost time adds up to a whopping average cost of £411.4 billion for the service industry alone.
To ensure that your company is not functioning at a loss, you might want to rope your HR department in and make sure that employee productivity becomes one of their top priorities. When workers are productive, you can cut time-wasting, improve communication, encourage engagement, and increase drive and motivation across your company or organization. Overall, you will be left with lower costs and higher profits.
The great news is that there’s a host of tools out there that, when used properly, can help to improve employee productivity.
Here are 7 proven strategies you can implement to get the most out of your workforce:
Start by Employing the Right people
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that productivity starts at the recruitment stage. While training helps to motivate and inspire employees, an individual who is not internally driven is likely to maintain a negative attitude irrespective of your efforts to create a conducive environment. In fact, one rotten apple could possibly spoil the entire bushel.
This means that apart from having an applicable professional background, the individuals you hire should also carry the right attitude, especially when it comes to their opinion on work. For example, an unproductive employee is likely to see performance reviews as a method of policing while driven and hardworking employees will see them as an excellent opportunity to enhance productivity just so that they can get the positive feedback they’d hoped for.
Communicate Across Multiple Platforms
As the saying goes, communication is key. Luckily for us, HR software offers a multitude of different ways to talk to employees and engage with them. From social media platforms to online HR systems, communication can be quick, fun, and thorough. HR software is especially good at conveying and recording messages to ensure that there is no miscommunication between managers and their teams. This way, if an employee hasn’t completed tasks efficiently, you can track the instructions that were given and investigate to see where the problem lies (sometimes upper management are the ones at fault).
Technology can also help to break down barriers and make information instantly accessible to all. Employees do not need to wait for their manager to return before they have the answers they need. Instead, a well-integrated HR system can provide a central repository of information where workers can go to get just-in-time answers to their questions.
Inspire and Motivate
To keep a well-oiled engine running, you need to remember to add the oil! In this instance, the oil refers to motivation and room for inspiration. While we allude to machinery, it’s vital to remember, however, that employees are not robots and should never be treated as such. In fact, we do not want robots on our team. Robots do only as you tell them and lack the creativity and innovation that makes an average workforce a brilliant one.
Instead, you want employees who feed off of motivation so that they can share their own inspiration, ensuring that the ball of productivity keeps on rolling. We suggest that you find out what makes your people tick and then use your discovery to keep an atmosphere of enthusiasm. Team building activities are excellent, and department “challenges” often work too. Let your employees in on how much their productivity is affecting the company and remember to thank them for their hard work, unique ideas, and their personal touch.
Be the Example
HR departments, along with managers and key stakeholders, represent an organization and are seen by employees as leaders. While it’s great to have this authority status it does come with a lot of responsibility. As a leader, for instance, it’s important that one sets the correct example so that the workforce will follow suit. This means that if you want your team to up their productivity, you need to show them how hard work is done.
While out-of-office lunch meetings and long friendly chats with other department managers is work in itself, your employees might not view it as such. What they see is free-time that includes good food on the company’s account and frivolous socializing. Our advice, therefore, is to keep out-of-office meetings minimal and phone calls short. Go as far as sharing your calendar with your department so that they can see how busy you are and that you too are putting every effort in to help meet targets. Essentially, you need to be a role model who employees feel obliged to mimic.
Develop Clear Job Descriptions
One of the biggest mistakes that managers often make is to not form a clear enough description of an employee’s duties. This mostly occurs with new recruitments, but many workers can go weeks, if not months, without really knowing what is expected of them. They’re either left to figure it out themselves, or they learn “how to” when they are reprimanded for not doing something.
This not only creates an air of negativity and confusion, but you lose endless hours of productivity too. New employees should receive sufficient training as they are appointed and reminders of what duties entail can also be discussed during performance reviews. A person who knows where they are going is more likely to move in that direction than one who is left cluelessly chasing their tail.
Reward Employees on the Basis of Performance
A reward system is definitely not a new concept, but it has stuck around over the decades because of one good reason – it works!
You can either remunerate your workers on the basis of seniority or performance. We prefer the latter. Human Resources should base salary increments and promotions on performance instead of seniority. This will encourage employees to work hard because they will know that they stand to benefit. They will also feel more motivated because rewards come periodically after shorter periods of time, instead of only receiving them at retirement or when they leave the company.
Apart from rewarding with performance bonuses and salary increases, you can also reward teams and individuals with fun – like with cake, if they meet smaller goals or a voucher for the first employee to make a sale. Every little bit helps and one should never underestimate the power of simply acknowledging hard work. Sometimes just a “thank you” can keep a person driven and in good spirits.
Ensure That Management Stays Consistent
Last, but not least, be transparent and remain consistent. Set goals, work with your team and discuss ways to achieve these goals – and then work consistently to achieve them. Sticking to your guns and following through is probably one of the biggest contributors to high productivity within an organization. Why? Because your employees will know that you’re serious about what needs to be attained and that repercussions will follow if targets are not met.
Being consistent is a mixture of all the points we have discussed above. It means that you need to follow certain procedures while still making room for innovation and employee creativity. It means you need to reward productivity and be stern when tasks have not been done efficiently.
While the role of HR and upper management comes with tons of responsibility and productivity sits heavy on the shoulders of these leaders, with the help of performance management software and support from the key stakeholders, it’s by far one of the most rewarding careers too!