Here are five powerful, proven ways to increase employee productivity today.
- Set a goal for productivity improvement. When business leaders and managers are asked about their specific goals for improving employee performance, they usually have none! Most companies don’t have a goal or a plan for improving employee performance. They remain in a reactive mode, providing performance reviews with no specific goals. You should also set a goal for personal improvement. For example, if you want to become 10% more productive in the next 12 months, or even 90 days, what are your plans for reaching this goal?
- Test and train people. There’s no substitute for being very clear about people’s skill sets, no matter what the position. Lawyers, architects, nurses, administrative assistants, HR executives, and everyone else in the workplace has a particular skill set they rely on daily. These skills can either be tested online by companies such as BrainBench.com, or by creating a test yourself. Once you understand where your employees might have a weakness, you can begin a training process.
- Create a suggestion system that works. No voluntary suggestion system works that well. Dr. Edward Deming realized this when he helped the Japanese create the kaizen process, otherwise known as Total Quality Management. The Japanese saw improvement as an event, not a process – and so should you! Require every employee to provide a least one recommendation a month about how they can do their jobs better, or how you can run the business better. Reward each suggestion with a token gift such as a dollar, a raffle ticket, a lottery ticket, etc. Make the process fun. If you get a good “aha!” from some of these ideas, add them to your standard operating procedures, so that that everybody performs these functions in the same way.
- Look outside your company. How are other companies, maybe even your competitors, improving their employee performance? What tools are they using? What can you learn from disparate industries that you can apply to yours? For example, how can you use technology more effectively to improve performance?
- Publicize your goals. Once you state your goals, you or anyone else in your organization are far more likely to follow up with them. This is a fundamental part of creating commitment. As a lawyer, I can tell you that an agreement isn’t a commitment unless it’s in writing. If you have an overall company goal, put it in writing, blow it up on a poster, and have everybody sign it so there’s a public declaration of the goal.
If you’d like to provide any suggestions on how you’ve improved your employees’ productivity, please feel free to share them with us.