Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Lucy Benton – Chief Editor at Admission Service. Her opinions are her own.
The productivity of any company is almost always directly proportional to the performance of its employees. A successful organization will always go through challenging times, and those are the moments when employees matter the most.
Employee productivity is a quite complex concept. It can be gained through various strategies and methods and can be transmitted through efficient means of communication.
Your job as a business leader is to create a suitable environment in which your employees can thrive. This requires a lot of involvement from your side, so never expect it to be easy.
1. Understand your employees’ stress levels
When you own or run a company, you need to think differently. An employee is a human being, just like you. He or she will often tend to react emotionally instead of rationally whenever put under stress.
Here are some common symptoms that your employees consciously or unconsciously might display when under stress:
- Lack of productivity or sudden decrease in productivity;
- Showing up late or leaving early;
- Body language demonstrating frustration or boredom;
- A decline in their health condition – a big productivity killer;
- No enthusiasm or smiles on their faces; or
- A tendency to isolate
2. Initiate private discussions
One of the most efficient ways to develop strong connections with your employees and to help them stay productive is to talk to them personally. A private discussion will always be more efficient than a group discussion, as you can directly focus on the person who you’re talking to.
During these private discussions, you need to focus on their problems and be a good listener. Try to understand what might be burning out your employees. Once you know the causes, you can figure out and communicate the solutions in a very tailored manner.
Moreover, by taking the time to personally talk to each of your employees, you’re most likely to win more of their trust. You’ll be surprised to see how much of an impact a 1-to-1 discussion can make over the productivity levels of your employees.
John Clark, an Executive Manager at Best Essays writes, “An employee is often just like a child; he needs to be continuously motivated and inspired. His mindset might lack many positive qualities the moment he joins your team. It lies in your own hands to develop that employee’s mindset, attitude, and motivation.”
3. Hold team meetings
Staff meetings are not necessarily always a good choice. I say so because it’s very critical to schedule those meetings at a time that is right for everyone. The frequency of these meetings should be bi-weekly, or at least monthly. You should schedule meetings whenever you feel that they’re needed. The scope of these meetings is to enhance the communication between employees and to reenergize the atmosphere in the workplace.
Where possible, you should create a mood and an environment in which your employees can feel free to express their frustrations or concerns. These remarks need to be encouraged, as it’s the only way to figure out the solutions and improve productivity.
4. Give feedback and praise
Feedback is a critical process that’s productive for every person, and especially for your employees. If no one recognises their efforts, they’ll feel like their job has no meaning. They first need a purpose, a goal, a scope… and then, they need feedback on their progress.
A good leader always makes sure that constructive feedback is given on a consistent basis. I mentioned constructive because feedback can also damage a person’s confidence and motivation.
5. Clarify the job requirements and expectations
If they’re not clear about what they have to do, they’ll do it wrong. This is a common mistake that lots and lots of companies make. Leaders don’t do well enough in explaining and clarifying their expectations. The employees must be always aware of their responsibilities.
I’d suggest holding a special one-to-one meeting with each of your employees. Ask them what they believe is expected of them. Then, ask them whether they need any clarification regarding matters that they may not have understood.
As previously mentioned, they’ll be happy that you took the time to think of them on a personal level. They matter, and they need to understand that they matter to you a lot.
6. Find out what motivates your employees
Motivation is such a complex concept. It varies from person to person, and it has so many variations. Some people’s brains might work in one way, while other’s work in a completely different way. What you need to figure out is what the collective environment needs and wants.
You need to get to know your employees on a personal level. That’s the first thing. Secondly, after you have a better understanding around what might motivate them, try to spot the patterns. You might have interviewed 5 employees – what are the things that you can change that will make an impact on all 5 employees?
This is what you need to figure out. Start testing whether your motivation ways work or not, and optimize as the time goes by. This is a great solution to preventing burnout.
7. Use the 80/20 rule
If you notice that your employees are less and less productive, don’t judge directly – it might not even be their fault! Some bosses forget to analyze their own performance. So, whenever they make mistakes, they often believe that it’s their employees’ fault.
In order to successfully re-assess your company’s roadmap and objectives, take the time to analyze each of the tasks assigned to your employees. Are they truly relevant to the purpose of the company? Are those tasks urgent and irreplaceable?
Use the 80/20 rule, a principle which proves to be extremely efficient for entrepreneurs, managers, and CEOs. Using the principle’s guidelines, figure out whether your employees are working on the right tasks or not. If they’re not, start to eliminate them and give them less stress and worries.
If you want your company to thrive, you can never neglect the condition of your employees. You’re the person that they count on; you’re the person who puts bread on their table; and you’re the person who helps them get through difficult times.
Don’t forget that these productivity changes don’t happen overnight. You’ll have to be patient, involved, and consistent with your efforts.