As a business manager your first task will be to improve productivity in your workplace. It is not uncommon to see lethargy raising its ugly head once in a while. The principal reason for lethargy is lack of motivation. The quality of leadership also plays an important role in improving productivity. When the leadership is able to clearly define roles for individual employees, responsibilities are fixed upon them, and the contrary is true if the leadership is unable to define employees’ precise roles. Often it results in shifting blame on others, and the first casualty is productivity.
The workplace environment plays a major role in productivity. A stuffy workplace with little ventilation, poor privacy and outdated equipment also contribute to performances that are below norms. Productivity, employee performance and quality of work can be improved by making changes to the environment in which people work, and that includes motivation.
Here is what veteran managers do when they notice lethargy in their workplace.
Fix Responsibility on Individual Employees
Employees without responsibilities are like rudderless sail boats unable to decide their direction. The result is they corrupt other people who may be doing well. As a business manager, you first duty will be to assign roles that are clear and precise. This is to ensure that there is no confusion. Once individual roles are clearly defined, fixing targets become easy. You can fix targets for the day, week or monthly which are clearly quantifiable. The buzz word is quantifiable, remember that.
By fixing targets you will be able to measure an employee’s performance periodically, though that doesn’t mean you should be breathing on his neck. By fixing attainable targets for the employee, you will be able to stop him from blaming others for his or her own shortcomings. However, you should remember to drive down the point that targets are not a limiting factor in evaluating performance. You can emphasize that by rewarding consistent performance over and above norms.
Micromanagement Does not Work, Note
It is important to monitor your employees’ performance periodically, but exercise caution when you do it more frequently than necessary. There is every chance that it will be wrongly interpreted as interference in their work, and it can also be demoralizing to the employee and other workers who learn about it. It is always a good practice to give your employees some leeway in how they perform their duties. By being a little flexible you will be able to achieve higher productivity. Researches show that when employees work in an atmosphere of freedom, their performance improves manifold.
Another positive result of being flexible is it helps employees to think out of the box and come up with innovative solutions for problems that have been plaguing your business. It also gives them an opportunity to experiment and try new methods which otherwise is not possible in micromanagement.
Constantly Encourage and Motivate Employees
When an employee performs better than the norms, it is always prudent to recognize that fact and tell him or her that you are taking notice of the good work. There can be nothing more encouraging to the employee when his achievements are made known to others in the organization. You should also consider giving an exemplary employee a hike if he or she has been consistent in his or her performance. A transparent system of reward should be put in place so that they will know beforehand what they can expect from good performance.
The trick is letting your employees know about the impending reward in advance rather than keep it ambiguous. Not always the reward has to be monetary; an extra day off in a month or an additional paid vacation all can make big differences to improving productivity.
Reward Group Performance as Much as Individual Performance
Most productivity objectives involve the cooperation of more than one employee. The benefits to the business are they help employees to cooperate and get themselves deeply involved in productivity centric endeavors. It encourages group discussion, and a feeling of ensues fraternity between employees as a result. Employees who are positive toward cooperative efforts often tend to contribute more than the normal which results in improved productivity.
It is always best to spell out your policy when it comes to rewarding your employees. By giving them an advance idea about what they will gain, you will be able to avoid disappointments among your employees. There is every possibility that the reward itself will be considered as petty in which case it can be demoralizing when you announce it belatedly. As a rule, give away rewards on a monthly basis rather than giving it after the achievements are forgotten.
Reach Out to Your Employees
Don’t expect your employees to come and tell you about their achievement. Most of the employees may not like to beat their own trumpets. If you can recognize their achievement without their even telling you, it can be double encouraging for them. It conveys the message that he or she is being monitored and his or her contribution to the organization is being recognized. You should in short be able to tell an improvement in productivity the moment it has happened and also be able to attribute it to an individual employee or a group that was responsible for the achievement.
A vague reference to unidentifiable individuals or groups does not help to reach your message of appreciation. When it is pointed and refers individuals by name, the message is delivered impeccably and can have a tremendous positive effect on the person receiving it. Never reward a person for the sake of encouragement; it not only encourages other to perform at mediocre levels, but also brings down the standards for rewards.
The Other Little Tricks Veteran Managers Do to Improve Productivity
- Set realistic targets for achievement
- Educate employees on the importance of team work
- Participate in discussion with employees and welcome suggestions for improvement, and
- Finally ensure that employees are enjoying their job