In light of today’s economic landscape, a successful business doesn’t only mean paying attention to customer satisfaction, but also making sure your employees are well taken care of. An efficient business understands the value of productivity in the workplace.
According to research, productive employees boost the core values of a firm while unproductive employees simply drag your business down as a whole and can have a much further impact than simply having an employee that’s getting paid for doing a crappy job.
A study called “The Impact of Empowered Employees on Corporate Value,” disclosed that businesses with employee empowerment achieve better economic results than companies that overlook this aspect. Empowering employees to learn and improve themselves faster will result in a truly sustainable advantage over your competitors.
Employees are expected to create worth for their company that surpasses the cost of keeping them on the payroll. You, as a manager, often need to understand how productivity works and try to inspire your employees to be the best version of themselves.
While there is no guaranteed method to becoming the best company in your niche, there are actionable methods that will foster a culture of engagement and boost your net business output.
Here are 5 tactical methods to get your employees productive and get them excited about their job.
1. Get to Know Them
Your employees are more than just a resume. Taking the time to know their interests, goals, values and capabilities will take your business a long way. When an employee knows that their boss is taking a genuine interest in their person, they can feel an improved responsibility towards driving the core values of the company forward.
You need to keep in mind that there’s a thin line between creating a personal relationship and maintaining a healthy relationship. Going too far can wreak havoc on your employee’s engagement levels.
With this connection, you can discover untapped skills and abilities. Demonstrating a genuine care for your employees seems to build a stronger connection throughout the whole team. Employees like feeling that they’re a part of something bigger and that their work can really make a difference. And I believe there’s nothing wrong in letting your employees know that you truly care for them.
You want them to contribute their best? First, make them feel valued and try to position yourself so that you give them their best chance to achieve their five year goal.
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2. Clear and Open Communication Channels
Saying you have an open door policy won’t work if you do not demonstrate this through actions. Having a clear communication channel and ensuring that your employee doesn’t have to go through 4 levels of management before being able to ask you a simple question will go a long way.
For example, you have created a new Facebook promotion strategy for your company and you haven’t informed or clearly communicated this to your employees. The new tasks and goals of this strategy are not clear to those who should keep tabs on it. Wouldn’t this probably end up in a mess?
I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but this happens much more than you would imagine. The biggest problem though is not that they wouldn’t know what to do, but that this would cause loads of frustration and eventually employees would stop being innovative and wait for you to micromanage them.
Sure, rules at different moments in the life of a business can be extremely different to these, but when starting up you absolutely need to make sure that you nurture a healthy company culture.
Being able to communicate with all 150+ employees is obviously impossible, but nurturing the first 15-20 is an absolute must. This way you can make sure that your business’ core values get passed through the ranks.
3. Employ the Right Task Management Structure
Unless the work demands it urgently, make email tasks a priority in the afternoon. Your employees should do the vital, creative work early in the morning and the mundane tasks later in the day.
Another factor that will help productivity, as well as the security of your business, is to install some sort of spam filtering solution. Spam is a great excuse for the minds of your employees to wander off, providing a huge distraction. Do whatever you can to eliminate that.
Task management software like Asana or Jira are a must, but don’t let that be the primary measure of productivity. A lot of times the quantity of tasks completed does not directly indicate the actual value created inside your business.
Instead, try to measure something that matters for the business as a whole, like sales volume, average response time to support tickets, or lead generation. This will keep you focused on what matters most for your business.
4. Train and Retain
Cutting off on training might sound like a good option to save the company’s time and money but this could massively backfire. Training isn’t just important, it’s vital. Trained employees are able to perform better. This doesn’t only give an employee a better understanding of their responsibilities but also improves their confidence.
A strong and successful training plan builds your employer brand, ultimately making the company more pleasing to potential new recruits who desire to enhance their skills or explore new opportunities.
Here are some example of resources you can offer to your employees:
- On-the-job learning
- Management-specific activities
- Mentoring schemes
- In-house training
- Individual study
- Remember, there’s nothing worse than having to perform in a workplace that doesn’t give you the right tools to do so.
5. Feedback and Questions
Listen, listen, listen! I know it’s sometimes extremely hard as a small business owner to think that somebody can know better than you, but they most probably DO! Make them feel appreciated and valuable.
Most importantly, they should feel that their contribution, especially when it comes to creative or critical thinking matters to you as a manager and the business as a whole. You won’t believe how much amount of value you can bring by saying a simple “good job” to someone after a long week’s work. Valued employees are happy and productive.
Never tell your employees to not question you. I would actually recommend the exact opposite. The mind works in mysterious ways and you have to be aware that when ideas are not rewarded, when creativity is not accepted and praised, it will fade away and you can end up with unhappy employees that produce little on their own and simply wait for direct instructions.
Answering questions in a timely and clear manner will keep the productivity going.
This is so simple but often overlooked.
Another very important, but often overlooked, piece of advice is “Surround yourself with top niche experts.”
Stop looking for people who do a bit of everything! You’ll be much better off with employees that do very specific micro-niche tasks than having people that can do a little bit of everything. Their productivity will be much higher, and so will yours when you stop giving out so many directives.
6. Set Clear and Focused Goals
Give your employees multiple simple and smart goals that will eventually keep them excited about the work they’re doing. These are great especially at the start of the day, giving often needed morning boosts of productivity.
These goals should be defined so that there are no vague descriptions requiring a lot of mental power or creativity to get done.
Their sole purpose is to get something done and get the ball rolling. It is important to stress however, this does not mean you should be micromanaging your employees!
Give them full responsibility for what they do, but also, try to keep goals specific.
For example, a great executable goal would be:
- Call 3 businesses in the San Francisco area and offer them client support services. You can use Google Local Businesses for contact information.
A vague and bad goal would be:
- Call people and offer them services.
“Connect the dots between individual roles and the goals of the organization. When people see that connection, they get a lot of energy out of work. They feel the importance, dignity and meaning of their job.” – Ken Blanchard and Scott Blanchard, Co-author of The One Minute Manager and EVP of Client Solutions for The Ken Blanchard Companies
In a nutshell, keeping people focused, hiring experts and setting smart goals should keep you on a healthy path. As Peter Drucker famously said, “What gets measured gets accomplished.” Still, always keep in mind that numerical representation of someone’s contribution to the business is often an essential part of the picture, but it’s up to you to interpret the whole picture and react accordingly.
There is no need to spend thousands of dollars on high end perks. Just put yourself in the employee’s shoes and focus on engagement and communication. Productivity will follow naturally.
Author: Alexandra Marin
Alexandra’s input as far as design goes is priceless and her love for pixel perfect designs is inspiring. She comes up with awesome designs and creatives, keeping the BigBangThemes online presence looking fresh and professional.