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  • 5 Ways to increase Employee Productivity

    Posted on October 23rd, 2009 Nelson Bodnarchuk No comments

    From Past Experience as a PM in a range of companies from large to small and dealing with diverse backgrounds such as Power and Energy, to Metallurgy, to Software Development. I’ve learned that low employee productivity isn’t always due to a poor employee. I would actually apply the 80/20 Rule in this case and state that 80% of the time lackluster productivity is due to employee motivation and their effectiveness relates directly to the manner in which they are managed, while only 20% of the time it’s actually just a poor employee.

    Office Space

    It’s easy for employers to look at lackluster productivity and attribute the problem to “poor employees”.  Don’t get me wrong I’m not advocating that you coddle employees like a 6 month old or give them smiley faces each time they do something right, this isn’t Kindergarten it’s the Big Leagues (or at least we should be leading teams like it’s the Big Leagues). So as a manager what can you do to impact the amount and quality of output from your team. Here are five of my tactics that I tend to pull out of the ever expanding tool box that today’s leaders require to get the job done and score the game winning goal.

    1. Give team members freedom over their work. Let them have input on the tasks they perform and how they perform them. Give them choices in assignments or creative control to complete tasks however they wish. This will boost their feelings of ownership and allow you to focus on the bigger picture instead of hovering over their shoulder and essentially treating them like a Kindergartner. I personally follow the 1 planned interruption a day rule, I have one 15 min meeting a day with my teams to sync up our priorities, answer questions and understand their impedance’s so I can help remove the barriers to the teams success. After that I won’t interrupt them for the rest of the day, unless there’s another planned meeting with a specific agenda or the fire alarm goes off.

    2. Challenge employees. Give them difficult tasks that push them further, or load their work funnel until it’s almost overflowing. Don’t make the tasks so difficult that you set them up for failure. However, by pushing them slightly further you’ll motivate them to perform their best and also encourage pride in their work. Again I come back to the 1 planned interruption a day rule, I can only interrupt them once per day because I’ve given them task worthy of their full concentration and they don’t need any unnecessary distractions from an over bearing manager.

    3. Provide each employee with the right motivation. While cash may motivate employees to accept a job or stay in a job, it may not motivate them to put their best foot forward at that job each and every day. Instead, tailor motivation to the personality and lifestyle of each individual employee. Work to understand what’s really important to an employee and use that to create motivational tactics. What works for one, may not work for another. I like to develop what I call a P3 sheet for each employee. A P3 is simply a Personal Performance Plan, and as long as it’s specific to the employee then it will be relevant and help to drive performance from the trenches and help to improve not only the organizations bottom line but help the person improve their skills and level of satisfaction from the work as well. This is a great tactic used by some of the best performing companies out there, Jack Welch discusses this in his book “Winning“.

    4. Convey to employees their value. Explain how their pieces of work fit into the greater puzzle that is your business. Employees that are aware of what they bring to the table will feel more part of the team and truly have an impact on the success of the company.

    5. Recognize and address employees’ concerns. Be cognoscente of employees’ concerns and the problems they may be facing. Once you have an understanding of how they feel, communicate that you are aware of the issues and are willing to work with them to create a better overall environment.  You don’t need to solve all of their problems, however removing barriers and providing a positive, professional and performance based environment will help to set the framework for success. These tactics aren’t something that you do once and then you’re done. To ensure productivity for the long run, you need to be constantly repeating the cycle and going further to nurture the work and demand that your employees perform at only the highest standards. That doesn’t mean them working 17 hr days or skipping vacation, it means to strike that balance and find the optimum point where you and your team get the highest productivity for the time spent working towards the successful completion of the goal.

    Dilbert Motivation