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5 strategies for managers looking to increase employee productivity

employee productivityThe responsibilities of the modern organization extend well beyond the simple daily routines of doling out paychecks and benefits. It’s about more than just handling the paperwork – the best employers are those who seek to push the workforce to the next level by maximizing employee retention and productivity.

Of course, there’s only so much that employers can do in this regard. HR professionals are highly skilled at managing people, but they also have their attention pulled in many different directions on a daily basis, and they aren’t always down in the trenches with the employees, observing every detail of what they do.

In order to really maximize the productivity of their people, companies need to get their managers involved. Employees are far more likely to succeed if their direct supervisors are able to step in and motivate them to stay engaged and work hard.

According to Forbes, not enough companies are working to improve their managers’ skills when it comes to maximizing workforce productivity. Victor Lipman, author of “The Type B Manager: Leading Successfully in a Type A World,” told the news source that employee engagement is a major issue, and managers have more power than anyone to influence engagement for the better.

“All companies want to improve employee productivity, but how often do they examine their own management practices as a means of attaining it?” Lipman asked. “Studies consistently show that a disturbingly high number of non-management employees are disengaged, not working at full productive capacity.”

So what can managers do to bring engagement up, across the board? No strategy is guaranteed to work, but the following five are certainly likely to help:

Create incentives for top-notch work
Employees are more likely to push themselves to succeed if there’s something motivating them. For example, pay raises and bonuses for high achievers are a great way to keep people incentivized to work hard. It doesn’t have to be money, though. Even a nice thank-you note can make a difference.

Provide meaningful, actionable feedback
Employees are more likely to stay engaged if their managers give them useful advice on how to improve. Make it specific – vague platitudes don’t help much, but real, actionable feedback can make a major difference.

Ensure adequate job training
One reason employees struggle to engage with their jobs is that they weren’t adequately trained in the first place. When people feel like they never learned how to do something well, they’re likely to become lost and, as a result, disengaged.

Respect and support employees
Workers aren’t robots, programmed to do their jobs automatically – they’re real human beings with feelings and emotions. One responsibility of any good boss is to treat employees with dignity and respect, supporting them when they’re going through a tough stretch.

Show real emotional investment
Often, an emotionally stingy boss is an ineffective one. The best managers are those who are willing to prove to their employees that they care. Workers are more likely to stay engaged and productive when working for a boss that they genuinely know and trust.

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