Six Management Processes that Increase Employee Productivity

Employees are at their desks on average for over five hours every day, and organisations are paying for that time.  A consistent problem with these hours is that they are often unproductive.  Employee productivity is determined by how well an organisation takes piles of raw materials, stacks of paperwork, or groups of employees, and turns them into useful goods or services.

Practical businesses strive to increase employee productivity, as it results in sizable benefits to the bottom line.  The return on investment for policy changes that encourage productivity can be enormous. 

In some sectors, a five percent uptick in productivity can lead to up to a fifty percent increase in total shareholder returns. 

Implementing just six key management practices can be all it takes for employee productivity to increase and give organisations that additional competitive edge.

1.               Foster interpersonal relationships
Within a large company, employees run the risk of becoming little more than numbers on a piece of paper.  A lack of personal engagement between management and employees can leave them feeling unappreciated.  Bring a sense of personalisation to the workplace and get to know your team.  In doing so, employees will want to go the extra mile for the company.  It’s important to remember employees are going to become stressed from time to time and it’s therefore crucial that adequate support is given to maximise productivity.  Research has found that “happy employees have, on average, 31% higher productivity; their sales are 37% higher; and their creativity is three times higher”. 

2.               Set realistic goals
One way to quickly decrease an employee’s motivation is to set unrealistic goals.  Pushing staff to work to their best can set a strong tone, but overwhelming them can be severely detrimental.  Boosting team productivity can be a fine line between the two and finding appropriate and achievable goals within set timeframes is crucial.  An excellent way to combat this is to set sub goals.  Sub goals break down the steps which are needed to reach the end goal.  They simplify what might start out seeming like a massive task.  They allow the goal to become more achievable as employees work on completing smaller steps.

3.               Provide meaningful feedback
Everyone likes to be told that they are doing an outstanding job.  That even applies for those employees who you feel could be working more effectively.  Feedback keeps employees’ work-related activities directed toward desired personal and organisational goals.   Communication is vital for effective, constructive feedback.  Constructive feedback takes the negative criticisms of an employee’s work and offers improvements with a positive spin.  Encouragement here is also vital, as discouraged employees are far less likely to increase their productivity. Effective constructive criticism can go a long way in helping employees learn and understand more efficient strategies. 

   4.               Create incentives
Who doesn’t love to be rewarded for producing excellent quality work? Reinforcement is the key to effectively get team engagement around productivity.  Establishing a reward system for employees who consistently increase their capabilities will promote motivation around the workplace and prompt employees to work harder as they know it will be recognised.  Incentives don’t need to be monetary - employee-recognition programs are a strong method of acknowledging the work of staff.  These can include reward perks such as extra time off, free lunches, or better parking spaces.  Recognition of employees meeting their KPI’s will ensure a higher standard of productivity.  It may even create some friendly competition between employees! 

5.               Provide skill development
Invest in employees through skill development programs.  Being able to master the skills of related roles within the organisation can allow employees to better recognise and embrace wider organisational goals and vision.  Productivity is increased as individuals gain interdepartmental training, which broadens the understanding that employees bring to a larger team who all rely on each other.  This allows employees to realise that they can work more efficiently and keeps them engaged with new challenges as they align their roles within the company.  As a side benefit, employees even become better equipped to progress internally into leadership roles.   

6.       Recruiting procedures
These suggested practices can significantly increase productivity in many employees, however some people are better aligned with certain positions.  This is where the importance of recruitment and selection procedures can come into play and really set your organisation apart from your competitors.  Introducing selection criteria for potential employees based on psychological assessment can help you save time interviewing sub optimal candidates.  This can also reduce costs as you’re more likely to find employees who fit the job requirements, not just in their capabilities but also their personality and values.  Recruiting the right person for the job increases the likelihood of high productivity and results in a better outcome for your company.

Implementation of these six simple steps can dramatically increase employee productivity and ensure greater organisational outcomes.  Placing a greater emphasis on these management practices provides employees with the greatest opportunities to produce their best work.

In many organisations positive thinking is a vital predictor of productivity.  The Business Personality Reflections® (BPR) is a personality questionnaire that measures business-related competencies to assist in selection and personnel development decisions.  Developed by Psych Press, this assessment contains 70 personality scales that can be tailored to any organisation’s needs.  Below is more information about the Positive Thinking scale in the Business Personality Reflections®.

Positive Thinking
Positive thinking describes an optimistic attitude that focuses on the bright side of life.  Optimistic individuals have faith that their abilities and actions can cause significant positive impact on their future (Kluemper, Little & DeGroot, 2009).  The positive thinking scale measures the degree of positive mood and feelings across the range of happiness, enthusiasm, optimism and joy. 

An example of an item for this scale is, “I feel lots of happiness in my life”.

Positive thinking plays an important role in generating positive mood.  Research has found that emotions and mood are related to success in occupational settings, people who are happy are more creative, see opportunities and tend to be more comfortable in taking strategic risks (Fredrickson, 2001; Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005).  Cable (2017) also suggests that positive emotions help with decision-making and problem solving. 

Organisational leaders who display positive thinking help employees feel included and increase cooperation and task performance (Allen & McCarthy, 2015).  Further, positive actions and emotions enhance the efficiency and the rate of task execution, increasing productivity in the workplace (Anchor, 2011; Cable, 2017).  It has also been found that positive mood and emotions lead to a more amicable communication style and therefore result in lower levels of conflict between employees (Allen & McCarthy, 2015). 

In addition, research has also found that optimism correlates with subjective wellbeing and that it promotes positive feelings during stressful events (Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005).  Thus, it is shown that positive thinking leads to better stress coping in individuals. 

Individuals who score highly on the Business Personality Reflections® Positive Thinking scale are more likely to experience these positive emotions such as enthusiasm, happiness and joy, as well as actively express them in the workplace. 

You might consider using a positive thinking scale in your recruiting and development processes if employees often deal with;
  • ·         Stressful situations in the workplace in which positive thinking is required
  • ·         Challenging and complex tasks that may involve setbacks
  • ·         Building and maintaining professional relationships with customers or employees
  • ·         A fast paced work environment where enthusiasm is necessary for task completion and efficiency
Organisations need employees who think positively in the workplace to help breed enthusiasm and optimism and hence maximise productivity.   We hope that the Positive Thinking scale can provide useful information, amongst other relevant scales, about potential candidate performance within your work context or environment.  It can also assist with team construction or team dynamics within an organisation.

If you were interested in learning more about the Positive Thinking scale, or the Business Personality Reflections® personality questionnaire please simply enquire now for a free trial.


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