One of the biggest challenges facing business owners and managers is how to improve productivity within their organisation - that is, how to get more out of the same resources
There are numerous benefits to improving workplace productivity.
The most obvious are increased efficiency and higher output, but it can also result in improved staff morale and a better experience for customers.
The first step to improving productivity is to understand what is dragging it down. This will differ for every company, but common causes include: poor workplace culture; ineffective management; lack of organisation or clear policies and procedures; or inadequate leadership.
It is commonly believed that the key to improving productivity is to work employees harder, but the secret is to enhance efficiency, not increase workload.
Four tips include:
1. Internal communications
Ensuring there are effective channels of communication within the business is vital to achieving an efficient and productive workplace.
Management should be in regular contact with each area of the business to help make sure everyone is motivated and on track. This should include regular meetings to discuss team performance, any requirements, and other work-related issues that affect people’s ability to do their job. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean a ‘top-down’ communications approach. It needs to be a two-way dialogue, with employees able to talk to management about any difficulties.
2. Goals and objectives
It is impossible to improve productivity if employees don’t know exactly what is expected of them. The business’ goals, as well as the goals of each employee, need to be clearly articulated and explained so there is no confusion about job roles or the company’s direction.
It’s best to communicate employee goals in measurable terms – for example, by deadline, financial objective or customer sale.
3. Staff development
For most businesses, employees are their most valuable and important asset. It therefore makes sense to invest in staff development to ensure they have the skills and expertise to do their job to the best of their ability.
Training and development programs also motivate and encourage employees, and give the organisation a reputation as an ‘employer of choice’. It can also help improve employee retention rates.
4. Recognise and reward
Some kind of process to recognise and reward employees is a good way to help improve productivity.
Employees who feel appreciated are more likely to be motivated and to work better. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a financial reward – time off, a special mention at a company meeting or a gift voucher for lunch will all be appreciated.