How to Improve Productivity in Your Business

John, the accountant, is at his desk early every day to ensure that all financial matters are in order.

Jane, the head of human resources, is always willing to help employees, listening carefully to their problems and taking active measures to resolve their problems.

Jim, the new guy in engineering, is able to resolve technical problems that baffle everyone else.

Judy, in sales, makes 80% of all the sales, with the remaining 20% coming from the other ten salespeople.

What do all these people have in common? They are conscientious.  They are engaged. And they are capable and competent. At the end of each working day, they have all been highly productive.

Unfortunately, this scenario is something of a fantasy. It’s rare to find individuals like these in any company.

Instead, what most companies have are talkers, pretenders, and slackers. Talkers exaggerate the quality and quantity of their work. Pretenders appear frantically busy when the boss shows up. Slackers loiter around the water cooler.

What can be done? What can you do to improve productivity without needing to coerce people, subtly or bluntly, to do the work that they were hired to do?

Recognize Outstanding Achievement: Host an Annual Award Banquet

Once a year, splurge on a Hollywood-style, banquet dinner. Rent a ballroom, ask attendees to wear formal attire, hire a comedian to be the emcee, and give out beautiful crystal awards to people like John, Jane, Jim, and Judy.  You will not only be showing them that you recognize their quiet efforts, but you’re also showing others how much you value your best people.

Find the Right People: Interview Job Applicants More Skillfully

When interviewing new people, don’t just go by what they say they will do and don’t rely on their resume alone to make your hiring decisions. Instead, ask questions that reveal character. Seek out conscientious people, even preferring them over those better qualified. Skills are teachable, but character takes a lifetime to evolve.

Onboarding: Take the Time to Properly Introduce Your Business

Once you’ve selected the best candidates, it’s time to orient them to your company. Set aside a day or a week, depending on the nature of their work, to thoroughly introduce them to your company. The more you can make new people feel welcomed, the less likely they are to become disengaged from their work. Conversely, the worst thing you can do is just throw them into their designated job and let them figure things out.

Understand Human Motivation: Make It Rewarding to Work for Your Company

Although work appears to be a transactional relationship, an exchange of time and talent for compensation and benefits, there is much more to it. Employees are not just looking for a paycheck. They are looking for recognition, for meaning, and for belonging.

What is recognition? 

Barking orders at employees or issuing warnings or micromanaging them are all signs of disrespect. There are other, more positive ways of communicating your needs as an employer.

These small acts of disrespect mean that you are not recognizing the employee as a person. Instead, you see them as a resource in your business, as a means to an end. You are treating human beings as if they were organic robots, disregarding their private world of feelings, fantasies, and focus.

What is meaning? 

Meaning is the mission purpose of your company. Often people choose to work for a company because they align with the value company offers the world. It’s not enough, of course, to just have a mission statement. You also have to believe in it and champion it.

What is belonging? 

Human beings are wired to be social creatures and have banded together in tribes for tens of thousands of years. Everyone wants to belong to the organization that supports them, but it can be difficult if the organization treats them as dispensable factotums.

In conclusion, engendering productivity is fairly nuanced. Anyone can start a business, but it takes a lot of thought and effort to create an environment where people feel safe and happy and valued. When people feel that they have found an employer who cares, they make an effort to put forth their best efforts.

 

 

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