By Alisa Bagrii
Employees are expected to produce value for their business that exceeds the cost of keeping them on the payroll. You, as a manager, often have a pressing need to understand how productivity works and try to motivate your employees to their best potential. Here are a few ways you can start boosting your net business output today.
#1 – Measure, systematize productivity
First and foremost, make sure you measure and monitor the productivity of your employees. While hunting them down for missing tasks on a regular basis may be the option, what this truly allows you to do is to react on measured bad productivity and seeing the implications of certain decisions you might make on workflows of your fellow employees.
Task management software like Asana or Jira are a must, but don’t let that be the primary measure of productivity. A lot of times the quantity of tasks completed does not directly impose actual value created inside your business. Instead, try to measure something that matters for the business as a whole, like sales volume, average response time to support tickets etc. This will keep you focused on what matters most as well.
#2 – Encourage breaks
There is nothing bad about allowing your employees to take breaks. Instead of limiting them and pretending they can work at 100% the whole day, try encouraging them into break patterns. 90 minutes work, 10 minutes break is a great ratio that many people use. The so-called Pomodoro technique is a wonderful way to boost your employees’ productivity throughout the day. No need to enforce these things on everyone obviously, instead, offer a suggestion, your employees will appreciate the gesture.
#3 – Emails in afternoon, no spam distractions
Unless the work demands it urgently, make email tasks a priority in the afternoon. Your employees should do the vital, creative work early and mundane tasks later in the day. Another thing that will help productivity, as well as the security of your business, is to install some sort of spam filtering solution. Spam is a great excuse for minds of your employees to wander off, distracting from work at hand. Do whatever you can to eliminate that.
#4 – Feedback & questions
Always make sure the communication flows with your workers. Make them feel appreciated and valuable. Most importantly, they should feel that their contribution, especially when it comes to creative, critical thinking matters to you as a manager and the business as a whole.
Never tell your employees to not question you. Tell them, to question you more. The mind works in mysterious ways and you have to be aware that when ideas are not rewarded, when creativity is not accepted and praised, it will fade away and you can end up with unhappy employees that produce little on their own and simply wait for direct instructions. This is so simple but often overlooked.
#5 – Set small, executable goals
Give your employees multiple simple goals. These are great especially at the start of the day, giving often needed morning boost of productivity. These goals should be defined so that there are no vague descriptions requiring a lot of mental power, creativity to get it done. Their sole purpose is to get something done and get the ball rolling. It is important to stress however, this does not mean you should be micro-managing your employees. Give them full responsibility for what they do, but still, try to keep goals specific.
For example, a great executable goal would be:
- Call 3 businesses in San Francisco area and offer them our services. You can use google local businesses for getting contact information.
Bad, vague goal:
- Call people and offer them services
Overall, we could summarize that your business will run well if you and your employees maintain their focus, minimize distractions, keep morale high and able to measure results, as Peter Drucker famously said, “What gets measured gets accomplished”. Still, always keep in mind that numerical representation of someone’s contribution to the business is often just an essential part of the picture but its up to you to interpret the whole picture and react accordingly.