Every manager and business owner want their company to run as efficiently as possible and understands their role in helping their employees to make the most of their working hours. And while installing some sneaky time and productivity tracking software on your employees’ computers might seem like a good idea, showing your lack of faith in this manner can actually be counterproductive.
So how do you boost your employees’ productivity the right way? By empowering and incentivizing them to do it for themselves.
Understand what drives each individual
Yes, most of your staff would rather be sitting on a beach somewhere than compiling that spreadsheet for you, and yes, a reliable paycheck is probably their biggest reason for pitching up to work each day.
Looking beyond this, however, most people would like to be able to take pride in their work and feel that they’re making a valuable contribution. If you can align your goals as a company with their own personal goals and ambitions, you’ll find people are a lot more motivated to perform better – because it’s helping you and them.
Sit down and have a casual chat with each of your staff members to talk about their professional goals and career path. By getting to understand what drives and motivates them, you’ll be much better placed to offer the kinds of incentives that will really encourage them to improve their productivity.
Remove distractions wherever possible
Some people find it easy to focus on the task at hand regardless of what’s going on around them – phones ringing, the radio playing, colleagues chatting in the kitchen, etc. Most of us, however, do not. For your employees who have to work on tasks which require intense concentration, a noisy, bustling office environment can make trying to be productive a nightmare. If possible, offer to move their desks to a quieter area (such as away from the constant ringing of the phone at reception) or even look at allowing them to work from home.
Remember that, as the boss, you can be a distraction too! Once you’ve assigned a task to someone, try to let them finish it before setting a new one, or sending an email they’ll feel obliged to response to right away because you’re their supervisor.
Provide the tech they need (without breaking the bank!)
The latest laptops, tablets and computers don’t come cheap – but anyone who’s had to struggle along with an outdated PC, dealing with crashes and freezes, and web pages and programs that take forever to load – knows just how much longer it can take to get work done; not to mention the added frustration!
A more workable solution for many companies is to rent laptops, workstations or tablets on a contract which allows you to upgrade every few years. This is generally a whole lot more affordable than trying to purchase new tech yourself, and usually includes support and maintenance too.
Always praise a job well done
No-one is motivated to be more productive when they feel unappreciated and undervalued. When you’re managing large a team, it’s all too easy to start taking people for granted when you’ve got a lot on your own plate.
Keep a special eye out for former underachievers who are actively trying to make an improvement, and offer praise. Try to create an environment which highlights the successes and accomplishments of teams and individuals. Don’t forget to do the same with those behind-the-scenes, part-of-the-furniture employees who quietly keep things running the way they should!
Identify pain points
Do you know which aspects of a given employee’s job take the most time to complete? Could they be spending their time more productively if someone stepped in to help for an hour or two, or even better – if the process could be automated entirely? Always be on the lookout for tasks and processes which are obviously tedious and time-consuming and investigate how they could be done better. Make it clear to your staff that you’re keen to hear their ideas and suggestions too. Be approachable and commit to doing something about their concerns.
Lead by example
From the office dress code to the importance of punctuality, your employees will ultimately take their cue from you – and productivity is no exception. If you have a tendency to jump from task to task without completing them or get sidelined by lower priority issues, your staff will subconsciously get the impression that this is okay behavior for them too. Identify and work on your own weaknesses first, and then lead by example for the best results.