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How to enhance and maintain Employee productivity

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

It may be the primary driver of economic growth, but productivity remains an unsolved puzzle that perturbs and perplexes Employers of every industry.

Just this year, a study by Ricoh and Oxford Economics estimated that the UK could achieve a 1.8% increase in GDP – a whopping £36.8 billion – through boosting worker output. If only it were as easy as flicking a switch and watching your staff smash their targets.

In reality, enhancing productivity requires a sustained commitment and a willingness to change. after all, it’s impossible to inspire your workforce when you’re too busy focusing on a long-term strategic objectives and stressful day-to-day tasks to notice when your star-players are demotivated and perhaps more importantly, how this is affecting the bottom line.

If you’ve invested considerable time and money into building a talented team, it’s hardly surprising that you want to get the maximum return on that investment. Fortunately, there are certain steps you can take to nurse Employee productivity levels back to full health.

Incentivise your Employees to improve their performance

Even the most driven Employees can lose motivation when the company consistently proves that there’s little to be gained from hard work. Salary may be enough to keep them from seeking new opportunities, but it isn’t always sufficient in sustaining strong levels of productivity. How you incentivise your staff should depend on the department-specific outcome desired.

For example, if you have tasked a team or particular Employee with reviving a stagnant arm of the business or product offering, their incentive could be a % of growth for that program only. If your aim is for a support team to tackle more enquiries for example, you might offer a prize for the Employee who effectively resolves the most customer queries or gets the best post-support reviews within a month. Alternatively, making a point to reward creativity and innovation will inspire your Employees to think outside the box and have them searching for new ways to drive efficiency.

Recognise Employee efforts and celebrate every victory

Beyond financial rewards, staff productivity can hinge on how valued your Employees feel in the business. In this respect, a little recognition can go a long way in encouraging your talented workers to strive for success; it can prove to your team that their commitment is not going unnoticed.

Of course, this isn’t to say every minor achievement should be rewarded with extra leave or shopping vouchers. However, making a point to include both individual and team accomplishments within staff-wide communication can make all the difference – especially during busy periods.

Give workers at every level the opportunity to grow

In a time of rapid technological advancement and fast-moving market trends, it’s not surprising that most professionals are eager to self-actualise and add as many strings to their bow as possible. So long as these skills can contribute to achieving wider business goals, you should be actively encouraging self-development and providing the tools necessary for training.

After all, stagnation is a serial productivity killer by nature: without a clear opportunity for progression or the resources to upskill, Employees can quickly lose interest once their performance has peaked. Crafting a developmental plan as part of their KPIs shows to Employees that they are important to the company and worth the investment.

Listen to the needs of your staff

When managers have their focus fixed on hitting targets, they can quickly lose track of how valued team members are feeling on a day-to-day level. Ensuring you schedule in sufficient time to catch up with your Employees one-on-one can have a marked impact on their performance – of course, that means listening to their concerns and taking steps to assist them in overcoming any hurdles that stand in their way.

Perhaps they seek direction, maybe they’re struggling to manage the current workload or there could be a chance they feel demotivated by a lack of transparency in the company culture. Getting to the heart of the problem by taking time to connect with your Employees is essential in removing the barriers that block productivity.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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