guest blog by Karleia Steiner
Elevating employee productivity can seem like a daunting and difficult task; however, creating a work environment that keeps employees working at their maximum potential can be achieved by simply shifting your frame of mind.
1. Listen to Your Employees
Listening is one of the hardest skills any manager, employee or person can master. Listening doesn’t just involve the time you spend talking to someone, but it also includes subtle cues you might not pick up at first. Do your employees seem frustrated or happy in their emails? Do they respond well to policy changes? Ask your employees what they need from you to do their jobs more effectively.
2. Give Positive Feedback
When your employees succeed or complete a task with efficiency, reward them for their efforts. No small good deed should go unnoticed. Employees want to know how they’re doing—and not just when they’re falling short.
3. Get Better at Giving Negative Feedback
Bad news is always hard to deliver, but it doesn’t need to be quite as hard as some managers make it out to be. Always start negative feedback by telling your employees what they excel in and how much you value their hard work. Approach negative feedback as an opportunity for growth or improvement, not as an opportunity for scolding or shaming your employees. If your employees feel supported by you and your management staff, they’ll trust you enough to take enough risks to get the job done right.
4. Set Realistic Expectations
Give your employees attainable goals that are measurable and timely. Write out a list of goals and map out exactly how these goals can be achieved. Give your employees a date when the goals must be met and check in with them on a set schedule to ensure they are steadily moving toward their goals. In these progress reports, you can gauge if your employees are meeting your expectations. If not, ask them why they think they are falling short and make a plan to keep them on track. Make your goals measurable—meaning don’t make abstract goals. Telling your employees you want to see an improvement in sales by the end of the month isn’t very specific. Telling them you want to see a 10 percent increase in sales in 30 days and mapping out how they can achieve this goal is measurable.
5. Empower Your Employees with the Right Tools
Give your employees the right tools and training to get their jobs done right. Ask them what they need from you in order to succeed at their jobs and make sure they are made aware of their goals, tasks and possible obstacles before sending them off on their own.
6. Create a Nurturing Environment
Employees who have great attitudes but lack experience are better than experienced employees who have bad attitudes. An employee can always be trained or coached, but if they are unhappy in their work environment, their attitudes can bring the entire office down. The same is true for management. Employees want to work for managers who create a nurturing work environment. Companies like Arpac Storage Systems Corp create a friendly environment in their offices, so employees always come to the office ready to work.
When employees hear their productivity needs to be raised, their responses can be ones of fear or anxiety. Increasing productivity begins with management, so keep your employees motivated and always remind them you’re there to help them.
Karleia Steiner is a freelance blogger with an interest in business and leadership.
Bob Vanourek and Gregg Vanourek are leadership practitioners, teachers, trainers, and award-winning authors. They are co-authors of Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations, a winner of the International Book Awards, and called “the best book on leadership since Good to Great.” Take their Leadership Derailers Assessment or sign up for their newsletter. If you found value in this, please forward it to a friend. Every little bit helps!