By George Otte
Is your company operating as efficiently and productively as possible?
Enhancing organizational efficiency and boosting employee productivity are worthwhile goals. With effective strategies and proper implementation, they are readily attainable.
There are many valid ways to improve the productive capacity of your workforce at every level of your organization. Let’s examine eight of the most effective strategies in greater detail.
1. Clearly Define Each Employee’s Role and Responsibilities
Make sure each of your employees knows precisely what is expected of him or her. The most efficient way to do this is to define, in writing, each employee’s formal responsibilities within his or her role. This ensures accountability at every level of the organization.
2. Institute Fair Guidelines for Personal Time and Electronic Device Usage During Work Hours
As an employer, you have the right to define permissible employee behavior within your workplace or during working hours (if employees work remotely). Implement any such guidelines fairly across the organization while allowing for differing needs within different departments or teams. For example, it is reasonable to prohibit the use of personal electronic devices on production lines, where they may constitute a safety hazard, while permitting them in office settings, where employees may need them to check work email or calendars.
3. Establish Clear Channels for Employee Feedback
Create a process and workflow through which employees at every level of your organization can provide feedback about their experiences or colleagues. These channels are essential to the smooth functioning of your teams and the overall environment of your organization, both of which affect productive capacity and efficiency in turn.
4. Empower High-Performing Employees
Incentivize productivity and performance by recognizing and empowering employees who exceed metrics or targets you’ve set for them. This can be as simple as singling out an employee of the week or month, or offering incentives. This strategy is all the more effective when an element of healthy competition is involved — that is, when the highest-performing employees in a given measurement period are eligible to receive these incentives.
5. Use Contests and Games to Increase Productivity and Performance on a Daily and Weekly Basis
In the spirit of healthy competition, use contests and games to incentivize productivity and performance over shorter measurement periods (daily or weekly). The value involved in these contests and games need not be extraordinary, but the prizes should be appealing to generate interest among your employees.
6. Create and Publicize Opportunities for Advancement Within the Organization
Over longer periods of time, employees are more likely to work hard, put in longer hours, and strive to produce to the very peak of their potential when they believe that doing so will open up opportunities for advancement within your organization. If these opportunities already exist, make sure that all employees (at every level of the organization) are aware of them. If they do not yet exist, it is up to you and your management team to create them.
7. Shore Up Employee Benefits
Adding or enhancing employee benefits will impact your organization’s bottom line in the short term. However, this move is best thought of as an investment in your organization’s long-term future and in the well-being of your workforce.
“When employees feel secure and empowered in their workplace, they tend to be happier, which in turn allows them to be more productive in their daily tasks.” — George Otte
Productivity and performance naturally follow.
8. Invest in Team-Building Efforts and Inter-Departmental Communication
Teams work better together when their members get along. To ensure that your workforce’s productivity isn’t hampered by miscommunication or interpersonal tension, make regular investments in team-building exercises and inter-departmental projects.
For example, a quarterly “volunteer day” is a great way to get your team out of the workplace and into a new, low-stress environment, such as a roadside cleanup site or food bank. In such settings, with a clear common goal to work toward, employees can leave the everyday stresses of the workplace behind. With luck, those stresses will be gone when they return to the job, clearing the way for increased productivity.
Have you implemented any of these strategies to improve productivity within your own organization?
George Otte is a Miami-based entrepreneur and executive with more than 15 years of multifaceted business operations experience.