The real secret to business success is often hiding in plain sight. In fact, it can be summarized in a single word. That word is productivity. While the idea of productivity is often championed in business meetings, it’s rarely used in the same way that economists think of it. Economists view productivity as a technical term for a specific type of measurement. It’s the ratio between input and output.
Unfortunately, in business, it’s rarely used in this exacting way. Productivity is merely considered a synonym for “activity.” Consequently, employees merely simulate productivity by striving to look busy. But not all activity is significant or contributes to the bottom line. As a business owner, it’s vital that you understand how this key concept is a valuable way to measure how well your business is performing in the marketplace.
From the way your office is designed to introducing a variety of incentives, there are quite a few things that can be done to encourage peak employee productivity.
Here are the top three ways you can improve productivity in your business:
1. Show appreciation
The best way to motivate anyone to do anything is to appreciate what they’re currently doing. By celebrating small wins, you encourage people to strive for bigger gains.
How do you reward employees for the long, hard work they put in? By publicly recognizing their efforts. You could, for example, sponsor an Employee Appreciation Day, provide turkey and ham gifts and other favorite meals at Christmas, New Year’s Eve and other big holidays, and host an Awards Night for outstanding job performance.
When you publicly recognize employees, you show how much you appreciate them, expressing how much their work matters to you and your organization. Don’t let your current business challenges get in the way of showing gratitude.
It’s amazing how a little appreciation in the workplace will go a long way in improving morale for weeks to come.
Incidentally, you won’t need to use performance reviews to remind employees to be productive. You’ll find they already know what problems need to get fixed, what work needs to get done, and what goals need to be achieved.
2. Increase engagement
In workplaces all over the world, there are two distinct types of employees: highly conscientious, engaged employees and negligent, disengaged employees.
While engaged employees do more than expected, disengaged employees do as little as possible; and while engaged employees consistently improve their performance, disengaged employees show little interest in the work.
But that’s not all. It gets worse. Disengaged employees are often active in a destructive way, going out of their way to stir up office politics, negatively influence colleagues, and sabotage business objectives.
To improve engagement levels in your company, you must first define, in realistic terms, what you mean by “engagement.”
Next, conduct a survey to find out why employees behave the way they do. Hire an independent third party to conduct the survey and assure everyone anonymity to elicit honest answers.
Finally, once you know what’s going on behind the scenes, create programs to encourage employee engagement. For instance, you may need to change a few management policies that employees view as draconian as well as find new ways to empower people to make a more significant contribution.
3. Provide mentoring and coaching
One reason employees may not be fully engaged and unproductive is because they don’t know how to do a better job. They’re doing the best they can. What’s more, they don’t know what they don’t know.
Initiating mentorship programs to develop knowledge and skills will encourage employees to show more interest in their work and educate them on what they need to do on the job.
By taking practical steps to make your employees more productive, your business will grow at a faster rate. Since it will provide more goods and better services to consumers, it will earn higher profits.
By showing appreciation for what they are doing well, by encouraging engagement, and by providing mentorship to increase knowledge and skills, you’ll encourage employees to add more value to your organization.