Office life(Source: Awardco)

Productivity. It’s a word that plagues every business and organization. We live, breath and make money by getting things done. However, employees aren’t machines, no matter how often you wish they were; employees are living, breathing beings that possess all sorts of knowledge and skills. While it’s easy to say, let’s find each employee’s strengths and cater to those, being productive is about more than possessing skills; its being able to take the skill and put it to use, effectively.

I’m going to assume your employees have the basic skill and knowledge needed to perform their responsibilities, so here are three simple ways to increase their productivity:

Set clear goals and expectations for your employees

There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing what is expected of you in the workplace (and any place, really). Setting clear goals and expectations (measurable ones) for your employees not only gives them an idea of what is required, but it’s an effective way to evaluate an employee’s performance.

By providing weekly, monthly or quarterly goals and expectations, your employees will be able to manage their time effectively, which will ultimately improve productivity. Having a well-defined goal that can be measured, especially goals that cater to the strengths of the employee, will give the employee an idea of how they contribute to the success of the organization.

When setting goals and expectations, it never hurts to offer a reward or recognition. Consider having a competition among employees to promote productivity, just remember to keep it friendly. People thrive on competition, especially when there is incentive to perform well.

The most important aspect of setting goals and expectations is to evaluate the performance. If the employee(s) did not meet the set goals, find out what is holding them back. Is there a disconnect between the goal and the abilities of the employee(s)? Are the expectations too high or did other responsibilities get in the way?

This is where a performance review will come into play. Whether you choose to conduct a formal or informal review, when setting goals and expectations, feedback is crucial to employee productivity, performance and attitudes.

Provide positive feedback and constructive criticism

thumbs up
(Source: The Care Transitions Journal)

This brings me to my next point. Providing your employees with feedback (both positive feedback and constructive criticism) gives them an idea of where they are and where they should be.

Where positive feedback is usually welcome, constructive criticism is often perceived negatively, but that should not be the case. When delivered the right way and for the right reason, constructive criticism can be just that: constructive. Constructive criticism helps guide employees to increase their productivity and improve overall performance. It’s a way for individuals to hear what they are doing great and where there’s room for improvement.

When delivering constructive criticism, it should be presented in a positive manner. Instead of saying, “You need to get more work done during the day,” try, “The quality of your work has greatly improved and your ideas have really contributed to the department. Moving forward, I would like to see you get more work done on a day-to-day basis so you can contribute more to other aspects of the department.” Doesn’t that sound much better? Not only will it be received more positively, it will also help decrease the amount of defensive responses.

When your employees are able to acknowledge and accept what they need to do to succeed and get better, a better work environment is created. Employees want to be good at their job, they want to succeed and they want to be acknowledged for their work.

Provide employee development and training programs

In addition to providing your employees with feedback, go a step further and provide them with the resources to become a better employee. Dedicating resources to employee development and training programs will prove to be a valuable use of time.

The more you allow your employees to develop in their position, the more valuable they will be and the more they will be able to contribute. Employee development could be as simple as dedicating thirty minutes a day to reading industry related blogs, or conducting specific trainings to learn new techniques and brush up on existing skills.

(Source: Xaiver Leadership Center)

When employees are encouraged to learn more about their industry and provided the time and resources to do so, you create an organization full of knowledgeable and productive employees. In my experience, this leads to a more positive working atmosphere, where employees share their ideas, contributing to the overall success of the organization.

I’ve just scratched the surface of ways to increase employee productivity, what are some ways that help you get the most out of your employees? Let us know in the comments below.