Helping employees to become more productive means they are getting more done in less time and with less stress, burn out, and turnover. It also means recruiting and retention costs go down, enhancing the bottom line. (And, it’s not a bad way to run a business!) Over the years, I found these five suggestions as valuable principles to help employees to increase their daily productivity.
Train For Success. No one can do it better and more productively, unless they know how to do it. Many employers fail to not only train employees initially, but as an on-going process. They are fearful of taking people offline and losing their immediate output. The result is, however, that people are so busy doing it the wrong way because they cannot take out some time to learn how to do it the right way. The training process ought to help employees handle their current responsibilities more effectively and to prepare them for what they need to know a year from now, and five years from now, as the information explosion changes the way we all do business.
Provide The Right Tools. These tools include not only the physical resources and proper staffing but also the personal tools of self-development. Many employers will send a painter out in the field with a ladder that’s three feet short. Employees are the Rolls Royce’s of the company. If you fail to spend a little to give the Rolls the proper fuel and maintenance, that $200,000 machine will not operate properly.
Keep Employees In The Loop. Let employees know what the “big picture” is, where the company is going, and how they fit into the scheme of things. There is nothing less productive than an employee who doesn’t understand how they fit into that “big picture,” how their every act and contribution is vital to the success of the entire organization.
Recognize And Reward. Most employees want recognition above money. Sure, the money is important but so is the pat on the back. Catch people doing it right. Behavior rewarded persists. Praise publicly. Send complimentary notes. (It’s an event in most people’s lives. When was the last time your received one?) This is not about spending money, it’s about giving what employees want and need the most. Apples shine when you polish them.
Empower. “What they write, they will underwrite.” Push decision making to the lowest levels. Help employees to feel a part of the decision making process. Give them some authority to make decisions that will make their job more productive. Will they make “bad” decisions? Sure. But over time, the “good” decisions will far outweigh the “bad.”