For many companies, the amount they spend on their employees in the form of wages and benefits is among their highest expenses on the P&L sheet. So improving performance and building profits often depends on increasing productivity.
Every business owner wants to increase worker productivity. But how often do they look at what their management team is doing in order to achieve this goal? Recent studies show that many line level workers don’t feel appreciated, aren’t satisfied with their jobs, and – perhaps not surprisingly – aren’t working at their maximum capacity.
Here are five practical steps that managers can take to improve productivity by developing a better company culture that encourages a more productive employee mindset.
Offer Incentives for Doing a Good Job
We’re always reading about the multi-million dollar bonuses that the CEOs of the biggest companies are receiving. But what about the average workers in the workforce? Don’t they deserve to be rewarded for a job well done? Of course, they do.
But if companies handed out huge bonuses to their workers arbitrarily, they wouldn’t be in business very long. That’s why it’s important to tie incentives to performance. When you offer rewards that are tied to the type of job performance you want, you give your workers an incentive to work harder and contribute more to your operation.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get great results, either. Depending on the size and scope of your business, you can offer bonuses to an individual worker or a team of employees who comes out on top based on pre-defined performance measurements, such as units produced, total sales, or least number of workplace injuries.
Let Workers Know You Appreciate Them
Positive feedback is one of the most effective ways to motivate your workforce to work harder and keep doing a good job. It’s also one of the most affordable ways to get the results you want.
It’s often uncomfortable for your management team to tell their employees that they are doing a good job or how much they appreciate them. Most find it far easier to say nothing, or to constantly criticize. But the benefits of positive reinforcement can have a profound impact on productivity, worker satisfaction, employee turnover, the costs associated with training new hires, and even the company’s bottom line.
Managers need to get past their own inhibitions and make more genuine personal connections with their workers so that employees feel appreciated and valued by their direct report supervisors.
Recognize Workers as People, Not Just Jobs
One of the easiest ways to alienate employees and make them hate their jobs is to relate to them only as their job title rather than as actual people with unique personalities, histories and interests.
Respect is a powerful word. It is one of the most effective motivational tools available to any leader. But the opposite also is true. When a leader shows that he doesn’t respect the people under him, ultimately they are bound to fail.
When workers feel as if their supervisor genuinely respects them, they will almost always be willing to go further, work harder and take on additional responsibilities when needed. All of these things are necessary for your company to succeed.
Training, Training, Training
People may want to do a good job. But if they don’t know how to do a good job, they inevitably are going to fail. One of the keys to any successful organization is providing adequate training to every person within the company, regardless of their role.
That includes leadership training for managers, as well as task-related and safety training for line level workers.
And training isn’t just a “one and done” task that should be crossed off a checklist. It’s an ongoing process that is designed to keep everyone within your organization up to date on the latest techniques and strategies that apply to their role within your business.
Training should begin with the employees first day and continue until their final day on the job. It should include different formats so that you can accommodate different learning styles and also present information so that it is fresh and understandable. For example, classroom training should be alternated with on the job training. Video training can be included as well.
Model the Behavior that You Want
It’s natural for people to look up to their leaders. So if you have managers who are failing to “walk the walk and talk the talk” or who are giving a poor example for their employees to follow within any workforce, it may be time to take action.
Nothing demoralizes an employee more than a manager acting in a way they don’t respect or approve of. On the other side of the same coin, there’s no better way to energize workers than leading by example. As a leader within your organization, you set the tone that the rest of your people will follow. Make sure it’s the right one.