We live in rapidly changing times. Today, our personal and professional lives complete change cycles much faster as compared to earlier eras. The impact of this change can be seen in all spheres of our lives, not least in the workplace.
~~ Research suggests that the average employee is productive only for 60% (or less) at the office. That is a lot of unproductive time every single workday! ~~
The workplace has witnessed several drastic changes in recent years, including the years that were spent in lockdown due to the pandemic. Work-from-home, hybrid, reluctance to resume work-from-office, acclimatization, and re-acclimatization, the rise of the gig economy…a lot has happened in recent times. Quite obviously, it hasn’t been easy for the worker.
However, what has remained constant through all this is the need for companies to design and implement HR policies to boost employee productivity and ensure employee retention.
~~ Why Is Employee Productivity Important?
Employee Productivity is critical to the success for any organization. Employing top-notch industry professionals without helping them to perform will result in a poor company balance sheet ~~
Quite expectedly, just telling workers “to be more productive” won’t cut it! Today’s workforce lives stressful lives, with the lines between work and personal lives often blurred. We also live in a world of instant gratification. Companies must be proactive in their approach, inspire employees, explain the benefits of productivity and longevity in the workplace, and set them on the path to optimizing performance.
1) What Is “Employee Productivity”?
Simply put, “employee productivity” is a metric for the amount of work an employee delivers within a specified time.
The “most productive employees” focus on doing the correct things at the required times. They optimize their time and deliver the results that are required of them.
Several factors are responsible for driving employee productivity, and, it is all-important for establishing a profitable, sustainable organization.
2) Let us look at 10 effective employee management strategies
i) Provide flexible work-timings
Work patterns have changed considerably, with flexi-timings, 4-day weeks, and hybrid models becoming more prevalent. Therefore, companies must be flexible. Not only does this suit the modern employee better, but it will also help in attracting quality talent.
For the employees, such provisions enable them to leverage their strengths, manage their timings (including vacations), and accept accountability for their deliverables.
ii) Training and onboarding
Employee training is a key factor in company success. Suffice it to say, that under-trained (and, unprepared) employees can hardly be productive on the job.
~~ Numerous research reports have stated that more than 75% of employees felt their onboarding and induction training was below par. This can lead to an increase in employee turnover and loss of productivity ~~
Important to mention here, that training must not be limited to simply induction training. There must be a focus on ongoing training programs, refresher courses, and corporate skill development. Not only does this ensure that employees can update their skills and ensure productivity, but it also improves employee retention since the employees feel like they are adding value to themselves.
iii) Encouraging open communication and feedback
Although leadership is acutely aware that transparency and efficiency of communication are critical-to-success, research has repeatedly shown that 3/4th of employees aren’t confident of company communication policies. This gives rise to ambiguity, a lack of confidence, and a sense of disconnect. Ultimately, this lowers productivity and triggers employee turnover.
Effective modern-day solutions include the use of a company intranet through which employees can update themselves on company news, maintain personal records, and establish direct communication channels with others (peers, managers, mentors) on their own.
iv) Providing opportunities for career growth and professional development
An innate human characteristic is that we always aspire to more i.e. we want to earn more money, expand our horizons, learn more, do more (etc.)
It is the same at our workplace. Therefore, HR policies should clearly outline career growth prospects so that employees are motivated to turn in better performances. That, in turn, fuels employee productivity. A fulfilling career path also motivates employees to commit to the long run and improves employee retention.
v) Building positive company culture:
A positive work environment, one that is collaborative and transparent, is crucial for employee performance and retention. Conversely, an atmosphere of mistrust, ambiguity, and unhealthy competition will lower productivity and trigger rapid employee turnover. As a result, there will not be any sense of joy, or responsibility, at the workplace.
At the core of an employee management strategy, clear policies must be fostered that foster a healthy, secure, and motivating work environment.
vi) Ensure a safe and comfortable physical working environment:
Well, without comfortable working conditions, employees will always struggle to focus on work. Poor lighting, uncomfortable seating, and fluctuating office temperatures impact employee performance much more than most people realize.
Causes Of Low Productivity
- Excessive workload
- Employee and management conflicts
- Low motivation and morale
- Poor conditions at the workplace
Ergonomically designed workplaces greatly enhance employee mood, morale, and productivity. Other facets like well-designed restrooms, cafeterias, ambient noise levels, snacks, and coffee machines (etc.) can hugely improve productivity.
Research has also shown how a well-designed office with carefully thought of employee needs goes a long way toward improving employee morale. Remember, that employee happiness isn’t just limited to monetary compensation or growth opportunities – a welcoming, secure work environment is core to creating a positive employee mindset and lowering turnover.
vii) Compensation, recognition, and benefits
While compensation isn’t the only factor that attracts talent, drives productivity, or ensures retention, it certainly is a leading one. After all, we all have bills to pay and families to care for.
Competitive remuneration, attractive bonuses, opportunities for career growth, and performance-related incentives are all important elements in ensuring employee performance. Other examples include zero-interest home and education loans, and attractive retirement benefits as you stay with the company longer. Remember, however, that all such benefits must be linked to performance.
Recognition for work done is another factor in employee productivity and retention. We, as people, need to feel appreciated and encouraged about the efforts that we put in, day-in, day-out…
viii) Team exercises, boosting employee morale
Enthused, motivated, and satisfied employees are the most productive. They also tend to stay longer. Morale-building exercises, team activities, and regular employee engagement initiatives foster a feeling of office community. They also encourage employees to think creatively, come up with different POVs, and communicate freely.
Firms must be quick to spot motivation-killers (e.g. ambiguity, mistrust) and correct them ASAP.
ix) Fostering work-life balance
Today, we are always “switched on”! We answer emails at odd hours, get on Zoom calls at 3 AM, and are always accessible to co-workers. As a result, we are often overworked, overwhelmed, and suffer from stress and anxiety. These are major contributors to poor employee productivity.
This prevents employees from enjoying family time, downtime, maintaining exercise regimens, pursuing recreational/social habits to de-stress, and showing up recharged at work the next day. As a result, it drives employees to seek employment elsewhere.
x) Designing and implementing effective conflict resolution strategies
Well, it would be naïve to expect that a well-designed employee management system will eliminate conflicts totally. Greatly reduced, yes, but not completely eliminated.
Therefore, be sure to establish clear frameworks for conflict resolution. All parties involved must feel fairly represented and heard. Conflict within a company gives rise to an unhealthy work environment, creates groups at cross-purposes, and lowers employee productivity.
Conclusion: Employees are the backbone of any organization. To succeed, it is incumbent upon organizations to design and implement an employee management system that ensures employee productivity, reduces labor turnover, and creates happy employees.
Implementing the exact HR management software is one of the ten most effective employee management strategies for increasing productivity and retention.