Increasing productivity in the workplace can make a noticeable difference in business efficiency. Many owners have added cost and time-saving measures to their business. Beyond these efforts, it is also important to make sure the current staff is productive. Here are seven ways to boost employee productivity with three additional ideas following:
Relieve Layoff Pressure
Remaining employees who have witnessed a round of layoffs – and even those who haven’t – are under a lot of stress. According to Christine Probett, human resources professor at San Diego State University, they are concerned they may get cut and, on top of that, they have more work. Christine points out that when employees are insecure about their jobs, productivity is decreased as more time is spent speculating their jobs. Getting rid of those fears can eliminate a lot of lost time.
Even when companies may need to demand more from their workers, the support should never end, says Jay Weiss, a consultant at JGI. This could mean doing away with a few less useful tasks or just allowing employees to prioritize their own work.
Employers can create productivity standards that employees should strive to meet. Managers should talk to employees and gauge their workloads, says Paul J. Rauseo, the manager of a small-business management firm called George S. May. For example, if a firm employs bricklayers, it should measure the number of bricks its best worker is able to cement in one hour’s time. If there are impediments for performing better, the firm should try to eliminate them, he says.
Retrain or Cross-Train Workers
For vital tasks, business owners should consider cross-training other employees to pitch in. As Skolnik found at his shop, having employees fulfill multiple tasks helps to boost productivity; it also reduces the incidence of paying workers for downtime. For employees who perform less profitable tasks, managers should consider retraining them to perform more valuable duties instead, says Roauseo. They can wear two hats, instead of one, and eliminate the need to hire another person.
Include Workers in Leadership
For a real lift in productivity, business owners can give workers leadership roles, says Rauseo. Not only will employees stay better attuned to organizational goals, but they’ll also gain a sense of ownership. “When employees take on more responsibility, they become more accountable, and thus, more productive,” he says.
Business owners should also consider allowing rank-and-file workers to get involved with the company’s social agenda, Rauseo says. Many employees are already on Facebook and Twitter. Allowing them to tweet about the company conveys empathy. It can also provide a marketing boost, he says.
Introduce Time-Saving Technology
When Skolnik wanted his workers to perform more efficiently, he realized he’d need more efficient equipment. He installed 11 new computers that have Internet access. “If I’m on the phone, we can clear all of our credit cards through a clearing house network,” he says, “It’s a big time saver.”
Weiss from JGI also suggests looking to hosted software programs like contact managers and customer-relationship-management systems to reduce time spent on administrative and marketing tasks.
Crafted Closely After a Publication
By DIANA Ransom
Wall Street Journal
HR Service, Inc. Message
Remember to show gratitude and appreciation to employees. This does not mean you have to give them money or expensive gifts. Find some way to express heartfelt thanks or to be of service. We heard of one organization where the executives rented a high-pressure washer and washed employees’ cars. Showing gratitude will go a long way in building loyalty and unity.
When reflecting, pay attention to what went well, what can be celebrated, where improvement is needed, who takes ownership of which projects, and what feedback will you present your employees with? Remember, employees want to know the score. They want to know how the business is doing and how you perceive their impact.
Create strategic business plans. Break out priorities, initiatives, objectives, and action items for the business, each team, and each employee. We recommend requiring an employee to complete a 90-day business plan every quarter to align their priorities, objectives, and actions with overall business strategy.
By Ken Spencer, President & SR Consultant
HR Service, Inc., (801) 685-8400, Ken@HRServiceInc.com
Contact HR Service, Inc. for assistance with business planning, goal setting, assigning key performance indicators to employees or help with any HR challenge or function at: (801) 685-8400.