One of a manager’s most important duties is getting the best possible performance out of employees. In today’s highly competitive business world, staying at a mediocre level of productivity isn’t acceptable — companies that want to get ahead need each worker to be maximally productive. Don’t accept anything other than your employee’s best. Try some of the following six tips for increasing employee productivity.
1. Motivate. No worker will fulfill their potential if they are not motivated. Unmotivated staff members will lack the energy, drive, and focus necessary for top-notch work. Address the potential problem by emphasizing the importance of the work your employees are doing. For each individual, explain why they are important to the team. Make each person understand that the group wouldn’t be able to function at its best without their efforts – people are better motivated if they feel their work is valuable and their efforts appreciated.
2. Provide feedback. Employees will always be able to perform better if they know what they are doing right — or wrong. Otherwise, a worker may unknowingly continue in a practice which is harming their productivity, or may not pursue a strategy which is valuable. So, give detailed feedback to all of your employees — that way, good behaviors will be reinforced, and damaging ones discouraged. Remember, diligence alone isn’t enough for maximum productivity — employees also need to know how they should work.
3. Delegate. It’s likely that your best employees can handle more difficult tasks. Top workers also appreciate the challenge of being assigned new, unfamiliar assignments. If you have an employee who fits this description, delegate to them some of your duties. The team as a whole will be more productive if each person is doing work that stretches their abilities to the limit. Plus, you’ll be able to concentrate your efforts on other tasks on your desk.
4. Provide opportunities for further training. An employee may be failing to realize their potential not from lack of effort, but because they aren’t fully trained. For example, in industries affected by new technologies, some workers may not be up to speed on the latest tech. While taking time to gain new skills may cause a short-term drop in productivity, in the long run additional training will pay off. Encourage your workers to get on-the-job training — letting employees broaden their skill set will enhance productivity.
5. Encourage open management-employee communication. Sometimes a worker’s productivity can be held back by an issue they have with a coworker, a company rule, or management. However, many corporate employees loath to bring up touchy subjects with their bosses. They are afraid that complaints or criticisms will be met with disapproval. In your own career, adopt a more friendly management style: your subordinates should feel they are free to raise any issue or topic. This strategy of frank, open communication will help to eliminate potential barriers to productivity.
6. Set a good example. People will do a better job if the office culture encourages industriousness and high performance. Naturally, as the leader of the team, you play the biggest part in establishing office norms and expectations. Being a visible example of the values and habits you would like to see in your employees will help to reinforce positive behaviors. It may seem strange, but the best way to increase employee productivity might be focus on your own performance first.
Coaxing the best possible productivity from employees should always be at the top of a manager’s agenda. Business success can only be achieved by having teams performing at a high level, so don’t let your employees settle for mediocrity.