Productivity has always been a big talking point whether it is an intention to boost it, identify is causes or if enough is being done to improve it by organisations. At the moment, the subject is pretty much overshadowed by GDPR, Brexit and the gender pay gap, but we shouldn’t forget about how important it is to ensure employees productivity doesn’t suffer in such uncertain times.
I think can all agree that being productive in today’s working environment is harder now than what it has ever been and with the conflicting information regarding how many hours a week we should work verses presenteeism, and not forgetting achieving that desirable work life balance, it’s no wonder that productivity is easily lost in translation.
There is an increasing pressure upon organisations to improve their workplace experiences, and whilst this is not a bad thing, it needs to be considered that smaller organisations may not be able to be as accommodating as larger ones.
However, there are some points that could help organisations of any size support employees positively whilst increasing those productivity levels, some of which could be:
Offer flexible and remote working; with office rent increases and advances in technology, these two things are possible. Presenteeism is a problem and is there really a need to be in the office all. the. time?
Why shouldn’t employees start work and finish earlier? If they are early birds and are at their most productive levels in the morning, then employers would be crazy not to take advantage of this time; if you are an international business, then it provides a greater coverage of your department. If you need part time employees and are struggling with finding one, then why not consider parents who just can’t land these opportunities because of inflexible hours? With a current war for talent, it makes sense to tap into a market which is too often overlooked and may be hiding some incredible potential. IF an employer is prepared to make positive changes by introducing flexibility, this could drive productivity massively, plus it just makes sense!
Show your employees that you value them; this is such a basic point but to employees it means a lot more than employers realise. A simple acknowledgment of a job well done can make a world of difference to workplace relationships, another enabler of productivity. There are several ways that companies can do this; from offering training opportunities, creating a continuous feedback culture, recognition schemes, or just saying a simple ‘thank you’.
The return on investment will surprise you, it could be the key to reducing turnover to retain your talent and also developing your employees to become high performers, you’ll also see an increase in your engagement levels which in turn can create an open and honest culture.
Ask your employees opinions; Speaking of an open and honest culture, there is an easy way of finding out the information you need to know, simply ask your employees! If you host an engagement survey each year, great; but are you doing anything with that data? How are you making it meaningful or are you using it as a tick box exercise? Make sure that if you are doing this annually, that you pay attention to the information that comes from it and make some changes, if employers fail to do this, then you may as well not bother with the exercise altogether as employees will not see the benefit.
Actively support employee wellbeing; it is no secret that more could be done to support wellbeing in the workplace. Many employers offer gym membership packages, access to private healthcare and fresh fruit Tuesday’s. On a wider scale, health and wellbeing is an incredibly complex area, we are all different and have different needs, but one thing we need to do as a priority is stress the importance of self care to support our mental health wellbeing, employers are starting to see this as a priority so it needs to be taken seriously and become part of the organisations culture.
One size does not fit all; we are now working with up to 5 generations in our workforces; therefore, what one person needs at one stage of their life, others will not find it useful, so look at ways in which you can appeal to everyone without leaving anyone out. This doesn’t have to be difficult, it’s just being considerate towards differing needs to keep employees engaged with your business; an employee returning from maternity leave will have different needs to another who is looking to retire.
Every employee has a different aspiration, some may be motivated by praise, another by money, whilst others may want a better workalike balance; it’s important to recognise this by truly listening to the employees rather than risking getting it terribly wrong by guessing.
Ultimately, all of these factors is dependant upon the organisation, but any step towards creating a better, more engaging working environment is a step forward. I believe that true productivity and engagement will get there, it’s just taking it that one step at a time.
How does your organisation take steps to better engagement and increase productivity? It’ll be interesting to know what your employers are doing so so leave a comment below and hopefully we support better working practices for the future.