According to Dictionary.com, the definition for "productivity" is: "the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services."
A second definition says: "Economics. The rate at which goods and services having exchange value are brought forth or produced."
Whether it's about new product development, marketplace expansion, mergers and acquisitions or the simple day-to-day grind of getting things done, being productive matters. Without productivity, revenue and profits wane.
So, how do employers ensure the highest levels of employee productivity? Below are a few suggestions you can implement today to help inspire your staff to be more productive:
1. Avoid micromanaging. This may seem self explanatory and obvious, but even to those who think so, consider this. Are you willing to let loose of a pet project to a trusted subordinate whom you know is not only capable, but also is eager to do a job well, and to please you in the process?
If your tendency is to perpetually check in to mark off project steps and ensure they are doing the project steps 'just so,' exactly as you would, then maybe you need to lighten up and loosen the reins. Liberate your employee's energy to allow it to expand and their productivity to grow.
2. Ask you employee to do something big and then trust them to execute. That glazed look starts to drape over the eyes of one of your most valued workers, but you don't know why. Perhaps they are bored with the same-old tasks day in and day out and are feeling uninspired and weary.
In response, consider what big project may be on the back burner, awaiting attention and time. If the disenchanted employee's talent and this project's requirements intersect, you may just witness an explosion of productivity and a renewed vigor for future projects.
3. Provide the proper tools and then be available to support your employees as needed. It's really difficult for an employee to keep track of a project on the road without proper technology or software applications. It's also a challenge to fight through a client negotiation without an agreed-upon strategy or authority to make the deal. It's even more arduous to be productive if constantly burdened by a boss's possible reaction to one's every move and misstep versus being able to rely upon the manager to help when things get challenging.
Be the type of leader who encourages their employees to ask for help, and then when asked, will genuinely respond to what your team members need in order to be successful and productive.
4. Facilitate meaningful team dialogue and solutions sessions. Do you oversee a group of teams, a region or a division that breeds silo-ed competitiveness? In other words, is one team hunkered down protecting their intellectual property from the other team and that team in turn is protecting their information from the next team, and so on and so forth?
Perhaps it is time to get creative and figure a way to bring those disparate teams together in a way where they not only share information, but also become better, more productive and successful performers as a result. This rising tides concept elevates both the teams, and the individuals within each team, while also lifting the company's results and margins.
5. Play on employee strengths. Are you entrenched in critiquing your employees' performance in areas that inherently are weaknesses? If so, you may want to consider applying some of that energy to mapping company needs with employees' natural strengths. While building intellectual muscle can be important to offset weaker skill areas, tapping into natural talents and strengths is equally, if not more, critical. The likelihood of a steeper, quicker productivity climb increases and the reverberating effects on attitude reward employee and company alike.
6. Know what motivates your staff. Some people are motivated by money, others by perks such as fitness facilities or access to football season tickets and such. And yet others are more motivated by accolades. Realizing that what motivate one team member may not be the same as what motivates the next is crucial to ensuring you are customizing rewards by individual. As a result, the more motivated someone feels, the more their productivity soars.
The idea of inspiring your staff may feel like a large and overwhelming undertaking, but consider how certain, small-scale initiatives, such as those listed above can be addressed, bit by bit, to help buoy your team to greater productivity.