How to Increase Employee Productivity at the Workplace?
As employees are the most valuable resource available to any organisation, they are crucial for effective functioning and profit-making. Managing inventory and machinery is less complicated as compared to managing employees. Striking the right chord with your workforce is necessary to achieve your organisational goals.
When you attain optimum employee productivity in your business enterprise, you start earning maximum revenue. The productivity of an employee is a metric that shows the output of the activities carried out by them. It’s quite natural for many to get confused between terms like ‘efficiency’, ‘productivity’, and ‘effectiveness’. Each of them has a different definition and purpose.
But the one that we are going to discuss in this blog post is productivity. This concept refers to the amount of work completed by an employee. For example, the number of cakes decorated by X worker in a cake factory in a single day is his productivity. Let’s say X can decorate 50 cakes in eight hours and each of the cakes is decorated uniquely.
So, worker X has put an excellent effort into his job. Here, the effectiveness of X is also high just like his productivity. Now, let’s say that the Y worker can also decorate 50 cakes in eight hours, but most of the cakes are decorated in a similar style. Here, Y has the same productivity as X but his effectiveness is definitely less than X.
Coming to the efficiency concept, it usually means being productive by investing as little time as possible. Let’s assume there is a worker Z who just like X can decorate all 50 cakes uniquely but he takes only 6 hours for this task. Here, Z is being productive (as he can decorate 50 cakes), effective (as decorates every cake differently), and efficient (as he takes less time per each cake).
How to Measure Employee Productivity?
It’s important to shed some light here on the topic of tracking employee productivity as you might have gotten confused after reading the above paragraph. After reading the aforementioned example, a question might have arisen in your mind about why and how decorating 50 cakes is considered to be productive in the first place. This question is bound to arise as after all both effectiveness and efficiency are calculated on the basis of productivity.
Well, this is where the whole concept of measuring the productivity of individual employees, and thereby, the productivity of the entire workforce comes into the picture. Organisations have to decide upon a method or way that the managers will use to assess the productivity of staff.
In the above example, it’s clear that the owner or the top executive of the cake factory has set the parameter of decorating 50 cakes to conclude that an employee is productive. Depending on the type and scale of business activities as well the skills and experience of staff members, a method to monitor employee productivity is finalised. Owners, managers, supervisors, HR executives, and top executives of a business firm utilise this method.
They even use the necessary tools and software, if required, to calculate productivity and other metrics accurately. Organisations may even maintain a physical or an online employee productivity tracker. At times, tracking productivity can become more difficult than anticipated due to the nature of the work involved.
For example, in creative professions like graphic designing or content writing, the organisation might find it hard to pick a way for measuring employee productivity. In order to find out the scope and techniques for increasing productivity in the workplace, organisations must have in place a system for gauging productivity. Factors like speed, quality, and quantity are taken into account for creating such a system.
How to Improve Employee Productivity?
Once an organisation figures out how to define employee productivity, it should ascertain whether the productivity score obtained by its workforce is ideal or not. In simple words, an organisation has to find out whether the current productivity score of its employees is the maximum that they achieve or can they give more output in their jobs.
Now, the tricky part here is that if a business enterprise is at the stage of defining and tracking employee productivity, there are huge chances that its staff members might not be working to their full potential. The reason behind this is that no organisation is perfect. There are always physical and non-physical elements that affect the productivity of employees.
Unless the owners, managers, or other senior executives don’t put deliberate effort into monitoring and improving employee productivity, one or more such elements are bound to remain present. They can be eliminated only after they get identified.
So, the journey or process of increasing employee productivity starts from setting parameters and methods for calculating productivity and then finding the scope and areas for improvement. Experts suggest various tips and ideas for reaching the desired level of workforce productivity.
However, every organisation has to make this decision as per their own specific needs and expectations. A tactic that works well for one business enterprise might not work well for another business enterprise. Senior executives and HR professionals working in the organisation should devise a strategy to achieve the optimum level of employee productivity.
Well-Proven Ways to Increase Employee Productivity
Here, we have listed down some of the well-proven or tried-and-tested ways using which you can improve the productivity of your workforce. But before we dive into the details, let us tell you that you should begin this process by understanding a simple point or a fact, which is that “Employees are the backbone of an organisation”.
- Assign Clear, Attainable, and Measurable Goals
- Create Various Reward and Appreciation Programs
- Trust Your Employees to Make Better Decisions
- Provide the Best Infrastructure and Technology
- Adopt Remote Working to Allow Flexibility
- Offer Training and Tuition Fees on a Periodic Basis
- Build a Friendly Organisational Culture
- Ensure Flawless and Speedy Communication
As we have explained earlier in this blog post, you need to select the parameters for assessing the productivity of your employees. For example, the number of cakes decorated, the number of parts assembled, the number of customers attended, and so on. These parameters are nothing else but the goals that you assign to your staff.
When your employees have clarity regarding the goals that they have to accomplish in a particular duration of time (i.e., a day, a week, a month, etc.), they will know the direction in which they have to work. Along with being clear to understand, the goals should also be attainable. This attainability or achievability of a goal can vary from one employee to another.
If you are giving a senior sales representative a goal of closing three sales in a day, you cannot give the same goal to a sales representative who is relatively less experienced. Now, taking the same example, we will also discuss the measurability of goals.
Let’s say, employee A makes three sales with the total revenue amount generated from these sales being X. But employee B, who is in the same position as employee A, makes one sale with the revenue generated from this single sale being 2X. So, here employees should be given proper instructions on the number of sales as well as the amount of revenue expected from them. Any sort of confusion can lead to problems.
While assigning goals helps your employees to pay focused attention for delivering incredible performance, rewards push them towards showing consistency in this attempt. Inconsistency is one of the major issues that organisations of all sizes across different industries face.
A large number of employees perform well when they join an organisation, but slowly their performance starts declining. To motivate your employees so that they continue producing the same results or enhance their performance, you should recognise their efforts whenever possible. The human resource team in your organisation can come up with ideas or plans for appreciation and reward programs.
You should fix a day in a week or in a month for congratulating employees who achieve or surpass their targets. You can recognise the accomplishments of employees on other days as well if they have made extraordinary progress. Employee productivity and motivation are closely related to one another.
Rewards like gift coupons, discount coupons, and meal coupons can make the day for your employees. You can even opt for monetary rewards in the form of an incentive or a bonus. Along with rewards, you can also give your employees a readymade or a handmade card that they can always keep as proof of their remarkable performance and your appreciation.
One of the biggest obstacles any growing business enterprise faces is the transfer of responsibilities and authority. Experienced executives and team leaders often hesitate to delegate tasks to others. They do want to remove some responsibilities from their job to be able to accept higher responsibilities and critical tasks.
But they just can’t do it because of the fear that their subordinates will not be able to rise to the occasion. As a result, the growth of employees at various positions becomes stagnant. You need to understand that delegation is an important part of any organisation.
When you assign new tasks to your employees, their confidence gets a significant boost. They start improving not just their job-related skills but also their soft skills. You should make sure not to commit the mistake that most executives make while delegating the responsibilities. This mistake is nothing else but micromanagement.
Trusting your employees to make the right and timely decisions is what increases employee productivity. When the employees feel that they are not micromanaged or supervised every second, they tend to work to the best of their abilities.
The answer to the question “How to improve employee productivity in the workplace” is incomplete without mentioning the infrastructure and technology available to the employees. The conditions within the premises of an organisation should be proper.
Various elements like temperature, lighting, noise, furniture, walls, ambience, and facilities have to be perfect to create favourable working conditions. Too much heat, too much cold, poor lighting, absence or lack of natural lighting, excessive noise, non-ergonomic furniture, chipped paint on walls, absence of pantry or canteen, dull ambience, and other factors can make your employees feel disinterested in their job.
In today’s tech-oriented world, new technologies are developed with every passing day. You should provide your workforce with the latest and premium version of all the software, equipment, programs, and devices that they need for carrying out their professional duties. Employee productivity and work environment are directly related.
One of the main reasons why many employees start finding their job unpleasant over time is that they feel that their life has become monotonous. The same routine of commuting to the office, completing tasks, and returning home makes employees demotivated. Most employees resign from their jobs frequently due to this reason.
Allowing your employees enough flexibility in terms of workplace and work timings is the key to retaining your employees for a long time. When employees receive permission to work remotely (i.e., from their house or any other place), they experience a new zest in their job. They also develop a sense of gratitude and loyalty towards their organisation.
Various studies have shown employee productivity and remote working to be closely linked to each other. A lot of employees prefer working remotely for at least some time of the year as it saves time that is spent in commuting. Employees who have huge responsibilities in personal life, like taking care of a child benefit tremendously from such an arrangement.
An organisation hires employees by considering their educational qualifications or level of experience. By utilising their knowledge and skills, employees strive hard to deliver great performance. With the help of techniques like ‘shadowing’ and ‘on-the-job training’, they even understand the specific ways, methods, procedures, and tools used in the organisation.
But if they have to go out of their comfort zone and reach new heights, it’s necessary that you offer training to them. Many employees wish to pursue higher education or advanced courses for expanding their knowledge and skill-set. Some companies refrain from arranging training programs or sessions for their workforce to avoid spending money.
A large number of companies don’t think that the higher education of their employees is a matter of their concern. However, funds invested in training and tuition fees yield impeccable returns in the form of improved employee performance. Those who monitor staff performance are well aware of this fact.
You should hire professionals or experts who can conduct training sessions for your employees on a periodic basis. You can also hire in-house trainers. Giving your employees a chance to complete their education is not only a corporate benefit but also a noble deed.
Just like the culture of a country guides citizens in how they should lead their life to get prosperity, peace of mind, and soul nourishment, the culture of a company guides employees in how they should perceive their job to get satisfaction, rewards, and growth.
As employee productivity and organisational culture share a relationship that cannot be ignored, it’s in the best interest of business enterprises to build a culture that can help their employees. A nice and friendly culture is what all employees expect at their workplace. They want their accomplishments to be rewarded in front of the team, whereas their mistakes to be pointed out in private.
All employees, irrespective of their position in the organisation, want to be treated equally and respectfully. You should give your employees access to not only the essential resources (like Internet connection and stationery) but also senior executives.
So, whenever an employee feels an urgent need to talk to a manager, team leader, or any other top-level executive for getting a resolution to their problem or sharing their grievances, they should be able to do so. You should keep your staff well informed about your policies regarding performance metrics, reward programs, workplace rules, holidays, and other aspects.
Often, organisations implement communication procedures and protocols that consume a vast amount of time and energy of all the employees. It’s no longer a secret that employees don’t prefer continuous emails and meetings for understanding their goals, targets, and assignments. Attending regular meetings or sending continuous emails lead to a lot of time wastage.
Therefore, you should ensure that every conversation or interaction, whether it’s oral, written, or both, is to the point and speedy. Organisations use readily-available online chat platforms like Skype or Google Hangouts or customised applications for facilitating employee communication.
Employees prefer short and crisp messages for the purpose of resolving queries, discussing goals, delegating tasks, and more. You should take care that no senior employee conducts any work-related conversation with subordinates late at night as it can hamper the work-life balance of subordinates. The way your employees communicate affects a lot of aspects, such as work-life balance, employee engagement, and trust-building.
Before discarding any of the methods explained above, you should be clear about your reason for discarding. If you encounter any hindrance, you can always look for an effective and affordable solution. For example, if you feel that remote worker management is troublesome, and hence, you don’t want your employees to work remotely, you should consider finding suitable software to track employee productivity.
To get the most accurate answer on how to increase employee productivity in your workplace, you should talk to your employees. No one can give a better solution or answer than your employees on what can push them to raise their productivity levels. You should engage in a candid conversation with each of their employees to understand their pain points and motivational factors.
The most important point about increasing employee productivity is to be genuine in your efforts. While dealing with your employees, your priority should be to not only maximise the profit of your business but also the job satisfaction of your employees.
You can take extra steps like conducting workshops to educate your employees on how to live a stress-free life, how to manage time effectively, how to live a healthy life and other topics that are not necessarily related to your business. Such kinds of activities can make your employees respect even more.
While using employee productivity monitoring software or tools, you should ensure that your employees are being supervised or watched every moment. You can improve employee productivity only when you accept the realistic standards for maximum productivity that your employees can show in a specific duration of time. Most importantly, you should never forget that your employees are human beings. So, you need to treat them like humans and not just assets.
We hope that we would have found this blog post useful. If you feel that you can add some tips to the list that we have created, please feel free to mention them in the comment box below.