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More bang for your buck – improving productivity

Productivity is never an accident. It is always a result of commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer

The level of both manager and employee productivity is the key to success for the business as a whole. Without everyone operating to the best of their ability the business cannot make as much profit.

You don’t want your workplace to be a place where employees just show up to get paid. You want your employees to show up to work ready to put in the best effort they can and to enjoy doing it. As a manager, it is your responsibility to find the best ways of getting the most out of your staff. A manager’s job doesn’t stop when they recruit a great person for the job, work needs to be put in in order to turn any employee into a great asset to the company – harness their motivation and turn it into success.

The predominant issue with productivity is motivation. If staff lack motivation to do their jobs, then their productivity will automatically be low. There are many factors that can affect the motivation of employees, so it is recommended that you identify what is killing the motivation of your staff and try to rectify any situations that are causing them to lack productivity.

Here is a list of motivation killers to look out for and how to address them:

  • Lack of vision – your staff need to know exactly what you expect of them and when you expect it. By setting clear goals and providing feedback along the way you help them to identify what you expect of them and aid them in delivering it. Make staff accountable for their goals and follow up on their progress. Make sure you avoid micro managing however, they are humans after all, not machines.
  • Lack of professional development – it is a great idea to provide options to your employees to further develop themselves professionally, whether it be through short courses, workshops or just the ability to take on more projects or learn new programs. You can view LMA’s principles of learning to help you establish a direction for learning in your organisation.
  • Lack of appreciation – It is a natural inclination for people to want to hear they are doing a good job, as it tends to make them perform better if they know what they are doing is being well received. A recent study by Harvard Medical School, in which they divided university fund-raisers into two group, showed that the group that received a pep talk about how much their efforts were appreciated ended up raising 50% more funds than the group that did not. You need to communicate to your staff when they are working effectively. There is no need to encourage everything that they do, but a reminder that they are working well will work wonders for their motivation.
  • Poor communication – If you and your staff can’t communicate with each other effectively then you are going to notice a drop in their productivity. Your employees need to know exactly what is expected of them and how to rectify any changes, so it is important for effective communication to start with their manager. Through you, they will learn the best way to handle situations and communicate well with their colleagues. Communication is extremely important in any organisation, so to learn the best ways to communicate with your staff, take a look at our effective communication checklist to see how well your team is doing.
  • Autocratic management styles – an autocratic management style is one where the manager makes decisions without much regard for their employees. As a result, this can affect employee’s morale if they feel that their opinion is not wanted or needed. While this leadership style can be beneficial at times, it can also be problematic in many ways. People who abuse this management style can be viewed as bossy and controlling, which can lead to resentment from staff. Researchers have found that autocratic management styles often result in a lack of creative solutions to problems, which can ultimately hurt the performance of a team or the company as a whole. Both the manager and any team leaders need to be sure that they don’t come across this way to employees and co-workers.
  • Abrasive personalities – these are the kind of people that are likely fantastic at their jobs, but show little respect for those around them and tend to leave a trail of hurt feelings in their rush to the top. As a manager, you have the power and the responsibility to redirect these people in the right way and make them more effective members of their team. You need to point out your concern to their approach and what their desired behaviour should be, as well as any consequences that will arise if the behaviour continues. Do not concern yourself with their initial reaction, most people react defensively when they receive corrective feedback, the key is to reiterate your perspective to them. You will likely see a change in their behaviour, even if they reacted defensively at first.
  • Toxic people – based on research by Holloway & Kusy, a toxic person is defined as “anyone who demonstrates a pattern of counterproductive work behaviours that debilitate individuals, teams and even the whole organisation over the longer term”. It is common for these types of people to create drama when there is none and it is detrimental to any working environment. A 2005 study by the Integral Leadership Review showed that 50% of staff surveyed had experienced “toxic” behaviour from a co-worker and had lost time worrying about it, of this group 50% contemplated leaving their jobs. A solution is not to simply fire these people, but to work with them to change their behaviours. Make every effort to develop them and let them experience consequences for their negative behaviour.

By addressing these issues you will create both a harmonious environment, as well as a productive one. This benefits not only your company, but the happiness of your employees. Developing your people to be the best they can be is one of the keys of being a great manager.

The road to success takes your whole team, so make sure they are the best team they can be.