The need to ensure and enhance employee productivity is a reality no business can ignore. If you run a business you'll want to lean away from doing the mundane and routine when you can. However, it's inevitable that you'll encounter factors that may weaken or extinguish employee motivation and dampen productivity.
Obviously, you will need to mitigate these productivity-killers. The first thing to do is identify these factors, so you can consciously prevent them from emerging or aggravating. You should also be able to suppress them if they already exist. However, avoidance is not enough. A proactive stance is always preferable.
1. Get Rid of Motivation Killers
As mentioned earlier, there is a need to identify motivation killers in the workplace. A good manager will find ways to carefully observe the work environment in search of problem areas that adversely affect employee motivation. Typical motivation killers include toxic people, abrasive personalities, lack of organizational vision, absence of opportunities for professional development, poor communication systems, autocratic management styles, and the feeling of lack of appreciation. Addressing each of these requires a variety of approaches but there are ways to kill these motivation-killers.
2. Motivate through Gamification
Motivation is a very important factor in ensuring productivity. Unmotivated employees get bored especially when they are dealing with monotonous routines. Likewise, employees who lack motivation may not have the enthusiasm to complete challenging tasks. One effective way of motivating employees is through the use of gamification techniques. Tasks like completing reports or contributing ideas for projects and policy changes can be gamified to make them more appealing, exciting, or interesting.
Gamification involves the use of badges, rewards, leader boards or rankings, points, challenges, and other game elements to make repetitive and quantifiable tasks more engaging. Enterprise gamification platforms like GameEffective can be integrated with existing ERP, CRM or other enterprise applications, making it easier for employees to use these and get ahead in the game. These can be readily deployed to add a "play" dimension to various aspects of a business operation, like sales and customer service.
3. Set Clear Goals and Provide Feedback
Employees or personnel will be more motivated if they know what they are expected to achieve. Clearly stating goals or having a company vision provides guidance for everyone. Short-term goals, in particular, are effective in encouraging employees to properly manage their speed in doing tasks to meet targets. Additionally, it is important to provide feedback or show that employees are being supervised. Accomplishments should be acknowledged, while errors or failures in meeting targets should be promptly addressed. Good management practices can enhance and help maintain employee productivity.
4. Use Technology Responsibly
Refusing to leverage technology could be considered a grave mistake for any business. There are many technologies that significantly increase productivity in a workplace. To emphasize, using technology is not just about having computers and an Internet connection in the office. It's also important to study and utilize different hardware and software solutions that can improve employee productivity.
Collaborative applications like Asana can be very effective in making employees more productive, especially for organizations with geographically-distributed setups. Some employees do better if they are allowed to work in locations they find more comfortable, such as their homes. In other cases, travel is simply too expensive or time-consuming, and telecommuting, remote working or even co-working are viable options.
Increased mobility can break down barriers to productivity. Mobile devices enable access to communication and collaboration tools, as well as work-related documents and information. It is important, however, to prevent overly thinning the line between personal and professional lives. Work-life balance should be respected.
5. Set Standards and Provide Skills Development
In every business, it is important to establish standards. Employees should be familiar with what the company expects from them. They need to know what they should be doing as well as their assigned roles. Without clear or explicit expectations, people tend to find excuses when they fail to achieve targets. Be clear at the outset: define what you expect of everyone, and how you expect people to perform their assigned tasks and responsibilities.
Moreover, address the aspirational needs of employees by providing opportunities for developing skills or advancing professionally. Management should expect every employee to seek challenges, and to not want to be stagnant. It's not enough that they have mastered the skills needed to efficiently accomplish their current assignments. Let your employees realize that there are other things they can do, so that they can progress to higher positions. If you don't help employees develop professionally, that may become motivation for them to seek a new company.
6. Communicate Effectively and Efficiently
Communication, without a doubt, is a crucial aspect of business operations. Without an effective system of communication in place, you will have difficulty in achieving goals and even in functioning properly. Communication here, by the way, is not just the simple use of devices, such as phones or verbal and written exchanges of information. It is about designing and using communication systems that are appropriate for the needs of a business or company.
Effective and efficient communication means that employees should know the hierarchy and expertise within the company. They should know who to reach out to regarding their concerns.
In terms of tools, take advantage of modern platforms and applications available. Enterprise social networking tools such as Yammer make it easier for employees to contribute to institutional knowledge and help colleagues with onboarding. Cloud-based office suites like Office 365 help contribute to a culture of sharing and helping across the enterprise.
Maintaining and enhancing productivity in the workplace is not always very easy to accomplish but it can also be boiled down to some simple concepts. Here are three key things to remember: the need for employee motivation, the proactive involvement of managers, and the use of technologies and systems that greatly help employees in doing their work more efficiently. If you thoughtfully execute plans with those concepts in mind, you are on the right track.