Productivity at work can often decline during the summer months – people may be on holiday, about to go on holiday, or may have just returned and are getting back up to speed on what’s happened while they’ve been away.
However, all year round productivity can be maintained through fairly simple changes in the workplace. After reading guides on productivity, it may seem that it’ll take a radical overhaul of your workplace culture in order to see improvements. In reality, making gradual changes to workplace practices can yield positive results.
The following tips have been taken from our free guide, ‘How to Improve Staff Productivity’:
Set clear objectives – Employees need to know what they are accountable for. This best achieved by discussing objectives with an employee and working with them to design their job, the tasks involved with it, and their responsibilities.
Wherever possible, objectives should be S.M.A.R.T:
Trust employees to do their job – Avoid micromanaging able employees. If tasks have been clearly set and communication is open and frequent between an employee and manager, then the employee shouldn’t need to be constantly watched and checked on. Often, employees will know the best way of doing their job and may have their own (but equally effective) way of working that differs from that of their manager.
Provide training – You should be able to find out the training needs of a workforce through regular appraisals and an employee engagement survey. They’ll show up what the employees’ weaknesses are, and what skills gaps are prevalent within the organisation. Once identified, employees should be encouraged to go on courses and gain qualifications that will be beneficial in their role at the company.
Take an interest – Managers should be visible and available to speak to if needed. Regular floor walks with managers taking an interest in how things are going will help build trust with employees and show that their work is worthwhile. Managers should also feel free to talk to employees about non-work related subjects in order to build rapport, and show them that they’re more than just a business asset.
Hold fewer meetings – Try not to take up employees’ time with meetings that have little relevance to their role. If they spend too much time in meetings, they’ll not have enough time to do their job and become disillusioned and frustrated. Remember, there are many ways other than meetings in which messages can be communicated to employees.
Build team relationships and morale – It’s best if a team can feel comfortable asking each other for favours or opinions on work. Build morale through activities such as after work drinks, or charity fun days.
Give employees the tools – If an employee needs a certain item or computer program to do their job to the best of their ability, then provide it for them. The same applies in making sure people who travel for their job, such as sales reps, have mobile phones and laptops available. Make sure that computer hardware and software doesn’t become obsolete, as this will eventually need replacing at great cost due to becoming too slow, or because the manufacturer doesn’t support it anymore.
Treat employees like people – Trust is a two-way process, and can be built by giving employees the benefit of the doubt when they need to take a day off sick, attend a family emergency or go to a doctor’s appointment. When they return, they should be more willing to go the extra mile and “repay” the goodwill you showed them when they needed your help.
Match skills to tasks – Employees with certain experiences, qualifications and personality types will be better suited to certain types of jobs. For example, an extrovert who loves to talk and is very personable would be better suited to a sales job than a role in the office where they have to have an eye for detail and be very disciplined. Regular appraisals should reveal who is suited to their job, or if they have the potential to use their skills better in another role. Alternatively, effective recruitment will allow you to identify suitable employees right at the start.
Review your disciplinary and grievance procedures – The best way to promote a fair workplace is to treat everyone in the same way. This means everybody adhering to the same rules, and being subject to the same procedures if standards are not met. Although you may already have a disciplinary process in place, it may be worth reviewing it to make sure that all employees are aware of the rules and can see how potential problems can be resolved.
For further information about boosting productivity in your workplace, download ‘How to Improve Staff Productivity’ here, or contact a Deminos advisor on 020 7870 1090.