Getting employees to fulfill their potential in the office is easier said than done. It might appear that your employees are well-motivated and doing everything they can to be productive. But all too often, appearances can be deceiving.
Employee value encompasses a huge amount. And no one metric will capture everything you want to know about a particular employee. That means that there are potentially many different ways to increase employee value and keep productivity high. So what are they?
Make Work Social
Getting people out of the office from time to time can do a lot to help boost productivity. For starters, sitting down and plowing through work for hours on end can soon get tiring. And often, employees will get distracted or too tired and make mistakes. Outings help get the blood pumping. And they serve as a well-deserved rest from the toils of the day. 30 minutes out of the office is enough to refresh most people and get them back into the swing of work when they return.
But there’s a more important reason for having social outings. And that is the cultural effect that outings have on your business. Right now your business is probably not the closest knit group of people. Relationships are wooden and communication is slow. Social occasions are a great way for people to form networks within the company itself. This helps to facilitate the free flow of ideas throughout the enterprise. And, as a result, it helps speed up the rate at which tasks get done, and innovation occurs.
One of the most important things that bosses need to do is to get involved with what their colleagues are doing. Being involved throughout a process sends the right message to employees for a couple of reasons. It tells your employees that you’re not afraid to get on with the groundwork, so long as it helps the business. And it also reminds them that you’re very much involved with what they are doing. This serves as a significant incentive for them to get the job done.
However, it’s important that, as a boss, you’re not seen as interfering. Remember, there’s a big difference between oversight and decision-making. You want your presence to be a catalyst for hard work. You don’t want it to be something that saps employees of their energy.
Put Your Brightest Colleagues On Courses
In any team, some colleagues are smarter and brighter than others. But all too often, businesses squander the opportunity to train these colleagues. Sometimes promising employees don’t have the specific skills that your company needs. But if they did, they’d soon be among the most productive and valuable members of your team.
You can now train employees in a range of courses unique to the needs of industry. Right now, many companies want employees with skills in IT, programming, and big data. In fact, going forward, these areas are going to be the most in-demand of any sector in the job market. You can read about it on Simplilearn. The number of positions is rising. And this is a reflection of increased demand for radically new skills.
Be Open With Your Goals
As a small business owner, your job is as much about cultivating trust with colleagues as it is with clients. Your colleagues are primarily the people who will end up driving the business forwards. You’re just a director – and, often, a helpless one at that.
That’s why it make sense to tell your employees about your goals and vision for the company. If you want to build trust, your staff need to know what’s driving all of your requests and decisions. Hiding your vision and your strategy may lead to confusion and resentment.
Being open about what you’re trying to achieve helps to make the rest of your team more ambitious. It’s a way of making it seem as if you’re all in this together. And that’s a great way to generate genuine cohesiveness.
Too many small businesses are still using people to perform rote tasks. This is expensive, and it makes your employees less productive. And here’s the kicker: there’s probably an app that does the job faster and better. Take invoicing, for instance. You can either send out your invoices in the post and wait for a couple of weeks for payment to come back. Or you can use accounting software to send an invoice with a card payment option by email. Which do you think is better? Clearly the app.
There are dozens of ways apps can reduce labor time. Perhaps one of the most significant right now are apps that organize your social media presence into a single dashboard. Apps like Hootsuite allow your marketing team to schedule posts and reply to queries across platforms.
Let Them Work When It Suits Them
Flexible working arrangements are one of the more controversial aspects of modern employment. For over a hundred years, workers have turned up to work in a rather regimented fashion, day after day. And it was useful – at least for businesses in the past. But is it still useful in the modern world? Now that both men and women are in the workplace, it doesn’t seem like the old system can really cope. People need flexibility in their lives to look after their children. And that means that they have to be able to juggle their working hours.
Sure, flexible working might not be appropriate for some businesses. But most would probably stand a good chance of benefiting from it. Not only would employees be a lot happier with their bosses. But they’d also be able to choose the times of day when they could work most efficiently.
Make Their Job A Vocation
One of the problems of the modern workplace today is that people don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing. There’s no sense of some greater purpose or meaning. They’re just going through the motions and seemingly not getting anywhere.
This is a problem that is as much on the employer side as it is on the employee’s. Employers want to convince their workers that their business has some higher meaning. But then they give up when they think about what they actually do. After all, what is the higher purpose of providing chemical toilets at gigs?
The key here is not to focus on the actual operation of the business, but what the business stands for. Does it stand for excellent customer service and convenience? Or it is just there so that everybody can pay their respective bills? These distinctions are important for generating intrinsic motivation. Employees who actually care about what they’re doing will put their soul into their work. And that will increase the productivity and their reliability.
Put Accomplishments Up On A Noticeboard
You want your workplace to be a place where success is rewarded. Employees that do well need to be recognized in a public way to further motivate them in the future. Proud employees are productive employees.
Here’s an idea. Post employee accomplishments on a noticeboard so that everybody can see who has done what. Don’t forget to have different reward categories, like they do at the Grammys. Make sure there’s a category for every person in your firm.
You could also recognize employee achievement by holding a prize evening. Rent out a bar and hand out different rewards. You could have a reward for the company’s up-and-coming star. And you could have a reward for the company’s best salesperson. Whatever it is, make sure achievement is publicly recognized.
Let Employees Pursue Their Own Projects
Google has succeeded not only with its customers but with its employees too. How? As ever, it did it through innovation by doing something that few other companies dared to do. It gave employees time off, during working hours, to pursue projects that interested them. It was a brave move. At the time, some called it stupid. But it ultimately ended up being effective. Why? When employees were given free reign, they were free to be inventive and pursue things that they thought were important. It turned out that a lot of their ideas were actually important to Google’s products and services. And many of them made it into apps that people use every day. Thus, so-called free-time become a bona fide value-booster.
The best way to incorporate project time into your business is to make sure that it is structured and relevant. You don’t want employees going off and doing whatever they want. But you do want them to have a punt at trying something new that will make the business more productive. Many minds are better than one. And so it’s very likely that at the end of the process, you’ll end up with something that has real business value.
So what’s the bottom line to getting more value out of your employees? It’s a combination of many things. But the overriding theme is towards more freedom and more control over what they’re doing. For some businesses leaders, this is hard to accept. But it’s a trend set to continue into the future.