Every entrepreneur wants their business to be profitable. But the key to success for every profitable business is productive employees.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there was a 2.4% decrease in labor productivity in 2022. During Q2, we saw the largest annual decline since the government started recording productivity in 1948. For years, labor productivity was rising but we have seen a small shift in the other direction.
How can you increase employee productivity? It’s a process. Whether your employees have always suffered from poor productivity or if your team is just in a productivity slump, getting your team to increase productivity is vital to your business. Here are 7 ways you can increase employee productivity.
1. Offer Performance-Based Incentives and Rewards
Have you ever heard the saying, “You have to spend money to make money?” It certainly applies if you want to motivate your staff to keep working hard. Compensation is one of the most compelling motivators for success. If you want to increase productivity – and ultimately, your company’s profits – you need to offer performance-based incentives and rewards.
Consider paying out a yearly award or bonus to employees. This may entice them to stay on with the company, and can be based on what they’ve done for the business.
You can also create miscellaneous performance-based rewards. For example, If your business has seasonal demands, consider paying out a bonus for employees that work more than 40 hours. Or, you could offer a bonus on top of overtime pay when business is exceptionally busy. This can motivate employees to work more than they normally would.
2. Improve Workplace Conditions
Fair pay, paid breaks, and a reasonable workload are just some of the basics for improving workplace conditions. But there are more ways to improve.
Consider what the office looks like. Is it light or is it dark? It’s proven that during the winter months, some people struggle with seasonal depression due to decreased sunlight. People need light to maintain energy and be productive. Sunlight has been shown to boost a chemical in your brain called serotonin. Serotonin can give you more energy and help keep you calm, positive, and focused.
In your buildings, if it’s dark and gloomy, how will employees be productive? This has a direct impact on their mood and energy level.
Think about how your employees spend their days. Are they forced to sit in uncomfortable chairs? Ergonomically efficient workstations will increase productivity and employee satisfaction.
What about technology? Are the computers using outdated systems that cause delays? Businesses must evolve with the times in order to satisfy customers and allow employees to do their best work.
3. Optimize or Minimize Meetings
The next time you feel compelled to schedule a meeting, ask yourself what the purpose of the meeting is. Can this purpose be fulfilled through another communication method, such as an email, a phone call, or a chat message?
Meetings can absorb a lot of time. Without a clearly defined purpose, they decrease employee productivity.
Before you schedule a meeting, ensure there’s a purpose for the meeting, and that all participants know why they need to attend.
4. Make Your Employees Feel Valued
Ultimately, your employees are the reason your business will be profitable and your mission will be fulfilled. It’s imperative that they feel valued.
You can promote an open-door policy for any suggestions or concerns. Even if the ideas proposed are not reasonable, you can still show that you value employees. Do this by acknowledging the time they took to contribute their thoughts.
Another way to show that you value employees is by celebrating their birthdays and tenure with the company. Affirm them when they are doing a good job. Doing so is a way to recognize their efforts.
5. Provide Good Employee Training
Good employee training can help you build productivity and maintain it. New hires should know what procedures to follow, and who they should consult with when they have questions. No employee should feel like they are “in it alone.”
As a startup, you may have minimal resources in terms of training. However, the more you can begin documenting your company procedures, the better. You can create a library of resources or a policy center. You might even create an internal video center to show how things are done, where supplies are kept, and so on.
6. Coach Underperforming Employees
Employees who don’t feel confident in their jobs might not ask for help. In fact, they might not be asking any questions at all. Employees need to know that they should ask questions, as this is one of the ways top performers improve on the job.
Motivating underperforming employees can be one of your most important tasks. Having the ability to steer an underperforming employee onto the right path can help your employee build confidence. It will also help your business thrive.
It’s important to give honest feedback. This gives the employee the chance to improve their performance. Be direct, and create a plan of action. Explain how they should change. Your guidance can help boost employee productivity.
Helping employees be more productive – and balancing everything else on your to-do list – can be time-consuming. But, there are some proven strategies that you can use to increase your own productivity as a business owner. Consider how you can implement these strategies to boost your success.
7. Improve Office Communication
One of the roadblocks to employee productivity is poor communication. Receiving varying instructions – or no instructions – can create confusion. How would you say your business is doing in this area?
When employees don’t know what is expected, and they don’t fully understand processes or procedures, performance declines. Make it your goal to improve office communication. When communication is clear, changes are communicated quickly. Delays are minimized. Workers are kept “in the loop” of information, and they can act on it as it applies to their jobs.
How do you know when communication needs to be enhanced? When many people don’t understand how to do something, that can be a sign that something needs to be improved.
8. Minimize Micromanaging
Although micromanaging is a hindrance to productivity, many managers and leaders still practice it as a leadership style. Micromanaging your team discourages them in many ways. This discouragement leads to a lack of focus and reduced productivity.
When you micromanage employees, you reduce the amount of teamwork by your staff. Employees work less with each other and more or only with the micromanager. This creates a drop in productivity as the managers are solving problems the team should be empowered to solve on their own. Micromanaging can also breed mistrust. When leaders micromanage their employees, they are essentially saying “I don’t trust that you can do this on your own”. The lack of trust can also lead to lack of productivity, but also a lack of employee loyalty.
To increase productivity in your employees, minimize the micromanaging done by leadership. Begin to empower your team to make decisions, solve problems, and take ownership of their role. When your team members take accountability for their jobs, it will increase the amount of energy put into their work and foster a rise in productivity.
Increasing employee productivity is one of the top business objectives of any entrepreneur. Employee productivity is the secret behind every successful balance sheet. Without it, no business is profitable. Investing in employees is critical to ensure their satisfaction, retention, and commitment to the company.