For all the automated systems and hi-tech equipment in your organization, you just cannot discount the importance of your employees in your business growth and success. After all someone is needed to run those automated systems and program them correctly.
Employee productivity is a crucial factor to be considered in this equation. A highly motivated and productive workforce maximizes efficiencies in all operational aspects of the business, further enhancing sales, customer satisfaction, and profitability.
Impact of Low Productivity on Business
Organizations grappling with low productivity typically face the following problems.
- Work not completed on time, escalating budgets and consequent customer dissatisfaction.
- Internal employee conflict as blame game initiates with each employee/department blaming the other for the delay and incomplete work. Interpersonal workplace relationships suffer.
- Decreased profitability, loss of business and even financial losses may result.
- Increased stress on employees as they struggle to ‘catch up with pending work’. This is demotivating and further lowers productivity. Thus a vicious cycle results.
Factors Affecting Employee Productivity
Employee productivity is affected by personal employee factors as well as organizational factors including your organization’s employee management practices. In the former category, personal financial troubles top the list. One study estimates that financial cost to business due to reduced productivity of financially stressed employees is $7500 per employee annually.
While you may not have control on personal factors, you can adopt certain employee management best practices that enhance productivity.
Employee Management Practices that Enhance Productivity
1. Regular Constructive Feedback
Feedback is an important management tool and when rightly used enhances employee productivity. Employees are keen to know how they performed. They are motivated with praise for a job well done, which enhances productivity.
Negative feedback that is constructively imparted, without criticism is well received. Employees want to do well and feedback which helps them improve is always taken positively.
Create an organizational culture where feedback, positive and negative is part of the manager’s job responsibilities. This will have a positive impact on productivity.
2. Dynamic Training Program
Low productivity results when employees are unsure exactly what their functions are. Changes in the business environment may have brought about some changes in their roles, which they may not be trained to deal with.
To have maximum impact on productivity, it is necessary to devise a dynamic training program that offers customized training to employees at all management levels, depending on their specific needs. For instance, senior managers may need training on soft skills, while a more hands-on sales training may be called for in case of front level employees.
Experts put forth this relationship figure between training and productivity.
3. Encourage Individual Employee Development
Managers should identify strengths and skills of individual employees and focus on developing these areas further. This can be done by assigning projects in those areas and giving opportunities to develop expertise and skills in related areas. Employee loyalty increases as they realize that the organization is genuinely interested in their development both personal and professional.
A healthy and positive working relationship between managers and their immediate subordinates, across the organization is a proven recipe for increased employee motivation and enhanced employee morale resulting in high productivity and increased profits.
4. Create a Participative Organizational Culture
An organization that encourages innovation and which seriously considers ideas from employees is rarely in danger of facing low productivity issues. Employees are motivated to think creatively, which enhances their interest levels in the job and also the productivity. Reward and recognize innovative employee ideas. This motivates others in the team too and thus across the board, productivity increases.
5. Respect Your Employees
An organization culture that respects the individual and not just the job encourages employee productivity. An employer who is seen to care for the employees by accommodating their special needs such those with disabilities or with care giving responsibilities, allowing flexi-working etc. earns loyal motivated employees who always give their best to the company. Pay attention to your employees’ work-life balance and reap the benefits of increased productivity that you get in return from them.