Productive employees are a necessary ingredient for growing a company’s revenue. It’s the reason companies hire employees to begin with.
If productive employees create revenue, then unproductive employees decrease it.
So how can small businesses get the most productivity out of their employees?
Increase Employee Engagement
Engaged employees are motivated employees, productive employees who are emotionally invested in the relationship with their employer. Employees are engaged in their work when they are appreciated, rewarded, and respected. Most importantly, they are engaged when they see the link between their personal contributions and the mission and direction of the company they work for.
Establishing employee engagement can be particularly challenging with non-managerial employees, who feel a level removed from any ability to positively impact or influence the business. Some ways to promote employee engagement at all levels are:
- Create and articulate a company mission statement that employees can rally around
- Ensure that this mission statement is the driving force behind business and HR decisions
- Promote from within whenever possible
- Invest in employee training and development
- Maintain moral through recognition and rewards
- Treat employees with respect and tact
Eliminate Workplace Chaos
A productive work environment means different things to different people, but a chaotic work place that’s ripe with interruptions is always problematic.
- Reconsider the Open Work Space trend, instead providing spaces for employees to work with limited interruptions
- Limit employee access to Internet content that distracts and decreases their focus
- Eliminate unnecessary meetings and prohibit the use of mobile devices during meetings
- Encourage employees to turn off audio alerts so they aren’t constantly pulled out of a task to check email
- Hire remote workers. Multiple studies show that remote workers are more productive than their office-based colleagues. Allowing employees to work remotely even a few days a week not only increases their productivity, but also increases their overall job satisfaction and improves retention.
Embrace Human Limitations
Thankfully, technology’s not yet at a place where we can all be replaced by robots. This does mean that certainly human limitations need to be considered in the workplace. This can be done quite simply by:
- Ensuring employees take regular breaks from their work and work space.
- Promoting mindfulness over multi-tasking. The phrase multi-tasking may give employers the warm fuzzies – when was the last time you saw a job posting that didn’t include it? – but doing three things at once usually leads to one burnout employee submitting three projects not completed to their potential.
- Encouraging the use of paid time off and fully disconnecting while away from work. It’s important that top management sets the example on this, or lower-level employees may worry that disconnecting from work in the evenings or on vacations will hurt their career aspirations.
Interestingly, at many of the most sought-after employers, these limitations aren’t grumbled over. They are celebrated and embraced. Which leads to an interesting question,
CAN THE PURSUIT OF INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY MAKE A COMPANY AN EMPLOYER OF CHOICE?
It can, and it has. Small employers may roll their eyes when they hear the phrase work/life balance, assuming it’s a perk only possible for larger employers with more employees to lean on and deeper pockets to draw from. Let’s not forget, however, that we remain at or near historically low unemployment rates, and its simply smart business for all employers – regardless of size – to strive toward becoming an employer of choice in their industry.
Although on-site yoga studios and conference rooms full of bean bags and ping-pong tables are offered by some monied Silicon Valley companies, they rank pretty low on the employee list of wants. What they do want are things that cost little to nothing.
Providing meaningful work, respectful treatment, and – yes – work/life balance may require some changes to current company culture. The good news is that implementing them rarely costs a thing – and having them can lead to increased productivity and profit.