Productive staff members make for a happy workforce. But the drive and motivation to succeed need to come from the top. There has to be a degree of respect between employees and employers, which will ultimately carry the business forward. Take a moment to consider how you can increase productivity at the workplace.
1. Make them feel valued
Ever since the industrial revolution, people run the risk of becoming just a number inside a company. This is even more likely when working for a big enterprise. And regardless of the many perks we may have, nobody likes being just a number.
- Throw in a compliment every once in awhile – How often do you tell your staff they’re doing a good job? Everyone likes to be praised for their work. Giving productive feedback inspires and encourages people to improve performance. Recent studies show that praise at the workplace increases productivity.
- Make them feel irreplaceable – In the corporate world we tend to throw around (rather carelessly, I might add) the phrase “nobody is irreplaceable” and while there is some truth to it (chances are you can hire someone else to do the job) it is also true that there is no one else that can do it quite the same way. We’re people after all, not machines. We may take the same course, but the same operating system cannot be installed in all of us. Find that unique trait in each of your teammates and appreciate them for it.
- Let them know others appreciate them, as well – Appraisal from the manager is welcome, but it can become expected or even formulaic. Encourage coworkers to praise each other – it might seem more sincere. Also, don’t hesitate to share a compliment that comes from a client regarding a task that was done by a specific team member.
- Spend one-on-one time – Team building activities like kart racing, laser tag and – whatever this is are great for team members to get to know each other in a relaxed environment, but it makes it impossible to appraise someone individually. If you feel like someone has been doing a particularly good job, invite them to lunch, give them a day off or any special treat that the rest of the staff won’t get.
- Involve employees in decision making – ask your employees questions and listen to their opinions. Research is a powerful tool and there’s no better ‘voice of truth’ than the people who work for you. If you’re thinking of relocating, expanding, launching a new product or changing working hours ask the people on the matter.
2. Provide a comfortable working environment
reason alone, we should make them a place that’s pleasant to be in. Regardless if you’re a fan of interior design or not, you’re surroundings affect your productivity.
- Open-plan or closed-plan? They both have their advantages and disadvantages. Open-plan offices are cheaper, foster communication and remove the hierarchy that might come with private offices. On the other hand, they induce more stress due to a sense of being under constant surveillance, make it harder to concentrate and easier to spread viruses. Closed-plan offices take more space, are more expensive and make it harder to check on workers. On the plus side, they give more privacy, foster creativity and allow people to concentrate. Each company must study which is the best plan for them, but ideally there should be a balance between the two. A large space where many people can work together at the same time, but also provide offices where people can retreat to concentrate or have private meetings.
- Pets or no pets? Enterprises like Google and Amazon allow their employees to bring their furry friends to the office. Having a dog at the workplace is said to increase creativity and reduce stress. While it was a huge trend for a while, others have come forth stating that it might not be such a good idea after all. Having their pet running about might be distractful – and let’s not even start with coworkers who might be allergic to animals.
- Add some green! While open-plans and pets may have their haters, everyone agrees on the fact that plants are fabulous. These living beings don’t take too much space and are low maintenance – all they need is sunlight and water from time to time. In exchange, they’ll make our workspace prettier, increase productivity and overall, make everyone happier. Our very own in-house plant Audrey, agrees.
- Light! This one might be a no-brainer, but natural light does wonders for the mood of employees. Not to mention that it lowers the electrical bill.
3. Give rewards
In addition to financial, other rewards can boost performance. The employee of the month, no matter what level they are, could win whatever the employer feels appropriate. Some creative ideas for rewards may be:
- Freaky Friday – have people switch jobs for a day and see what happens. Team members will learn to appreciate the job of others on top of having a different work day
- Spa Day – Give someone a coupon for a nice, relaxing spa day
- Flexible Hours – Let them make their own schedule
- Karaoke Night – You’d be surprised by how much fun they can be
- Short workday – Pick a day for your employees to come in late and leave early
- Day Off Pass – Give them a pass to claim a day off whenever they want.
- Hiring Day – Celebrate the anniversary of the first day they started working for the company
- Provide company workwear – wearing a uniform, or company clothing such as printed polo shirts or t-shirts creates a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Check out this list with more than 80 work uniform ideas for more inspiration!
4. Offer training
Give employees the chance to expand their skills and take courses that will benefit their current role, plus educate them in something they might be considering for the future. Just because Joe Bloggs works in Accounts now doesn’t mean he wants to do so forever, and may even have design or computer skills. Train him and he could be an asset to future business. Some of the benefits of offering training are:
- Increases job satisfaction
- Builds workers’ self-esteem
- Strengthens loyalty for the company
- Improves process’ efficiency
- Reduces employee turnover
5. Be approachable
Have an open-door policy and invite staff to talk to you about their ideas or issues they may have. Tell staff that you’ll always listen and act on their recommendations or points if appropriate. This nurtures respect and if employees see they are being taken seriously and are not just the ‘workers’ they’re likely to perform better.
- Acknowledge the input people give, ex. “Thank you for the review. It really helps!”
- If you don’t take someone else’s idea, explain why – Don’t let it “hanging”
- Have one-on-one time with your employees outside of the office. Take them for a coffee out, for example, where they’ll be able to relax
- Don’t be afraid to open up and tell stories about you
- Get to know your teammates, not just in a professional level, but in a personal one too
- Stay away from the phone or the computer screen when other people are talking to you When it comes to improving employee performance a little can go a long way in terms of making people feel appreciated. After all, we’re all human. Try to be more approachable, get to know your colleagues and try to spend time with them inside and outside the office. If everything else fails, just give them some time off. That always works!
Got more suggestions on how to improve employee’s performance? Then let us know in the comments below or through any of our social media outlets!
About the Author:
Jorge has a passion for marketing and advertising, and he enjoys to share his knowledge and combine it with creative thinking to bring a very unique writing style. No post of his is ever complete without a hint of humour!