Employee productivity refers to the amount of work an employee can achieve with a given set of resources. The resources can include staff, work materials, finances, and time. It is in the obvious interest of every organization that their employees work at a high level of productivity. High productivity means that the company achieves its targets faster, there is a minimal waste, and employees are rewarded for their work.

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Organizations are always on the lookout for ways to improve employee productivity. The ultimate benefit of improved employee productivity is that the employee can achieve more results in the same period of time than, say, a similar employee working at a competitor. This means that highly productive employees can be a source of beating the competition by producing more output of a higher quality. Improving employee productivity also helps the organization to rein in its costs, especially during a period of a business slump or inflation in the economy.

It makes sound economic sense for companies to implement new strategies to improve employee productivity. Not only is it good for the business, but it also helps the employees to feel good about their performance, and also leads to organizational rewards.

 Moreover, organizational theorists and management scholars regularly publish new insights into employee psychology and the employee-work relationship. Managers need to be aware of these studies so that they can use the most current knowledge about workplace productivity to help their employees become more productive.

1.     Invest in developing leadership

Leadership does not necessarily relate to the senior hierarchy of an organization. Employees can be recognized as leaders in their work teams or departments. This is key to improving employee productivity because when the organization invests in training employees and giving them the authority to make decisions, employees feel more responsible and set themselves to higher standards of performance.

2.     Minimize noise

While technology is a huge enabler of workplace productivity, there is a huge need to regulate its use in the workplace. Nowadays, employees are surrounded by a bunch of IT devices and equipment competing for their attention. This includes personal social media accounts, email messages, and notifications from various contacts and platforms. The company needs to institute clear and fair policies to help workers focus their attention on important tasks without becoming distracted by unnecessary diversions.

3.     Set achievable goals

Employee productivity is always measured against the goals set by their management. For this reason, it is necessary that managers set realistic goals that the employees can achieve within the given time and available resources. Giving employees unachievable goals to achieve is to set them up for failure, which can result in a domino effect across the organization, consisting of missed targets and deadlines, and low morale in the workforce.

4.     Communicate openly with employees

Communicating openly with employees is critical for ensuring that they accept the targets that are set for them. Having open discussions with employees at the start of the business year can help them to air any concerns that they have about achieving their targets.

They can also apprise managers of any problems that they foresee, which could jeopardize the attainment of their targets. Even if there are any performance issues or dips in productivity during the year, managers should have candid conversations with employees about such issues.

5.     Develop positive morale in the employees

A positive and encouraging work environment does wonder to increase employee productivity. Management can pay attention to a number of environmental factors that affect the productivity of their staff. This can include simple, verbal expressions of praise and approval for a job well done.

Managers can also address any underlying feelings of resentment or suspicions among employees about managerial policies, such as layoffs, demotions, or transfers. These issues are common when companies are undergoing a crisis of some sort.

6.      Encourage flexible working

Flexible working is an excellent way to improve employee productivity. The traditional 9-5 workday is giving way to many innovations that are aimed to give employees a choice into how they want to accomplish their work. This includes working from home, setting their office hours, working compressed weeks, and so on. These options enable employees to work at their maximum productivity periods so that they achieve more results in the same amount of time.

7.     Care for employee health

Workplace stress is an inevitable part of any workplace. Regardless of their place in the organizational hierarchy, every employee experiences stress due to various factors. Interpersonal relations, peer pressure, personal issues, and pressure to meet targets all create a situation where the physical and mental health of the employee suffers.

To ensure high productivity levels, organizations should ensure that staff is provided resources to manage workplace stress effectively. This will reduce the long-term costs for the organization related to sick leaves and healthcare costs.

8.     Offer targeted training

Of course, the best way of ensuring that employees perform productively is to offer them relevant training. This is particularly important when an employee is transferred to a new role or location. There can be a significant amount of time when they start to produce results after transitioning to their new role. Therefore, managers should ensure that they offer the necessary training to their employees, whether in IT skills, project management skills, team-building skills, or relationship management skills. 

Employee productivity is a critical issue in current times because organizations are under immense pressure to achieve results with minimal resources. This puts a lot of pressure on supervisors and their subordinates to consistently improve their productivity levels.

The strategies discussed in the above sections are aimed at equipping managers with the skills that they need to understand the factors that underlie employee productivity and how these can be managed in the workplace.

At the core of all these strategies lies the concept of training and empowering employees to learn the technical and operational aspects of their job, while empowering them with the authority to make decisions and solve problems within their domain.