Employee productivity is a term that is being talked about a lot these days in workplaces. So, what does employee productivity really mean? It refers to the efficiency of an employee’s output. Since organizations depend majorly on the performance of their workforce, workers’ productivity is critical for an organization’s performance and is thus measured and taken seriously in most places.
Employee productivity depends on both workplace-defined and personal factors, which is why it is a complicated element to measure. Even though measuring productivity can be challenging, improving it may be quite straightforward. Many small changes can bring about positive improvements in productivity levels. This blog will take you through seven such ways to improve employee productivity at the workplace.
Why is measuring employee productivity challenging?
In the past, measuring employee productivity was relatively easier. You measured the number of products made error-free by a certain employee during a specific period and compared that with the average productivity levels in the entire production unit. This way, you could identify top performers.
In today’s workplaces though, this is not as straightforward. You cannot only measure an employee’s work hours anymore. An employee could be logged in for 12 hours without achieving much compared to someone else who logs in for just 6 hours and gets the job done. An employee could take zero leaves and still struggle getting work done, while a part-time employee who works remotely could be doing a better job. That’s why measuring employee productivity has to be very specific, thought through, data-driven, and inclusive.
While ways of measuring employee productivity is a topic for a separate blog in itself, we will just discuss here smart ways to increase workers’ productivity at the workplace. All these ways may sound simple, but they are expert-suggested and have been implemented successfully in top organizations globally.
1. Change the work environment
A study states that 53% of the employees are less productive when the workplace temperature is too cold! Another study states that 71% of employees found themselves more productive when there was mild music played when they worked.
In yet another survey, a stronger and well-designed office space seems to make employees up to 33% happier at work. Happier employees end up being more productive. Clearly, the workplace environment has a clear relationship with employee productivity.
You could start by conducting a survey to see how your employees view their current workplace and what kind of changes they would like to like, to enjoy the ambience better. Create changes based on this.
2. Work on your learning and training modules
All organizations have a separate L&D team that works on creating modules and planning workshops and training sessions. How effective these are is a question that definitely needs to be answered. Many training modules are outdated, don’t add much value to the employee’s skills, and were designed years ago.
For learning and training to affect employee productivity positively, they need to be upgraded regularly. Include training sessions that can directly help the employee improve skills or learn something relevant to the work they do. Offer programs that the employees are actually excited about.
Map competencies with job requirements
Invest money and efforts in creating relevant & valuable L&D programs
Conduct surveys to understand what kind of learning and training your employees want
Allow employees to learn at their own pace
3. Have purposeful meetings
All organizations need to start doing this, whether they are trying to act on their workers’ productivity levels or not.
According to a global study, an employee who works about 40 hours/week seems to be spending up to 21.5 hours a week on meetings. That’s more than 50% of the employee productivity time gone into talking and discussing.
That’s why it is very important to make sure such meetings are purposeful. You can optimize meetings in the following ways.
Encourage employees to email whenever possible
Have an open workplace where it is easier to quickly walk to an employee’s cabin and talk instead of setting longer meetings
Recommend that employees set shorter meetings to improve individual employee productivity levels
4. Promote physical and mental wellbeing
Your employee could be a great performer and could have shown consistent productivity levels in the past. However, you must be aware that employee productivity levels can dip when someone has physical/mental health issues.
That is why it is critical for organizations to start regularly promoting employees’ physical and mental well-being. Some of the things you can do are:
Conduct physical camps for free for employees and their family
Create a strong and useful medical insurance plan for employees
Educate managers to be aware of behavioural changes, cognitive dips, and mood swings in employees
Make sure your management is empathetic to mental health conditions
Offer therapy/counselling sessions for employees to feel better
Include self-care courses in the L&D programs
All these, when practiced regularly, will help improve employee productivity levels over time.
5. Re-evaluate existing rewards and recognition program
Rewards and recognition that an employee receives at the workplace go a long way in helping them feel valued and, as a result, promote employee productivity. Therefore, apart from doing all the above, it is important for organizations to invest in R&R programs.
Start by evaluating the existing process and find out if it is compelling enough. See if your program is making the below mistakes commonly found in many R&R processes.
Erratic recognition or rewards without consistency
Lack of transparency while rewarding or recognizing
Employees are not aware of what behaviour is rewarded/no set goals
Employees are not recognized publicly
Manual and hard-to-follow-through R&R system
Employee productivity could sometimes increase drastically by just tweaking the R&R system without doing anything else. When employees are recognized and valued for the work they do, they are happy and satisfied. This automatically improves productivity levels.
Also, human beings are trained to repeat a behaviour that was rewarded in the past. As a result, when you consistently reward and recognize employees for their productivity and skills, they get better at them and this holds true for employee productivity levels too.
6. Identify and curb micromanagement
Some people may argue that constant monitoring and follow-ups increase employee productivity. This is not true at all. Whatever productivity is forced from employees because of constant monitoring and follow-ups only leads to reduced quality and efficiency. This cannot be maintained long-term either.
Micromanagement can kill employees’ creativity, imagination, and self-reliance. You do not want that to happen at all. A study says that up to 85% of employees feel demoralized when they experience micromanagement. Demoralization is definitely going to affect employee productivity negatively.
Create the right expectations at work. Make sure your employees know and understand timelines and goals. Let them take ownership of the task after that. Make sure managers are always available for feedback and reviews when needed. Otherwise, they can steer clear of constant monitoring. This small change will help improve employee productivity considerably.
7. Introduce flexibility
The last two years of remote working have helped organizations to explore flexible work like never. A remote collaborative worker survey states that 77% of employees show improved productivity levels when working offsite.
Also, another survey states that up to 64% of management experienced improved employee productivity levels when they promoted flexible working at the workplace.
Employees put their best foot forward when they are allowed to be independent. Flexibility in work mode and timings can bring miraculous changes in employee productivity levels. Give this a try.
Employee productivity is one of the most vital factors determining the overall success rate of a workplace. That is why organizations need to start measuring, monitoring, and improving this religiously. Here are some examples of how productivity in the workplace affects other factors.
Improved productivity means increased quality and more output
Improved productivity means lesser need for monitoring employees
Highly productive employees remain engaged at work
High levels of employee productivity directly increase revenues
High productivity levels cannot be forced on employees. If it is forced, it will either not last long or will come with compromises in quality.
So, make sure you practice the above tips to increase employee productivity levels organically. Make sure you give each of these processes enough time (at least one quarter) before you expect results.
If you think it is your rewards and recognition system that is causing the productivity dip, then the easiest way of improving employee productivity is to tweak this system. Get in touch with PossibleWorks to know how best to do this.
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