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Best tips for managers to improve employee productivity

Since the pandemic started, there has been a massive shift in the way companies do business. With more employees than ever working remotely, finding methods to keep your workforce more productive can be challenging to say the least.

In order to keep your staff productive, you will need to have a plan of attack to motivate and inspire them on a daily basis. But, of course, that is easier said than done. To find out the best ways to inspire your employees, we reached out to c-suite execs to hear their methods for improving employees’ productivity.

Employee Productivity

Motivate

“You need to tell each individual employee how important they are to the team, that’s a good place to start, at least. Explain to them that the business can’t function without them doing their best work. Let them know that the work they do is valuable to you and the company at large.” – Amaury Kosman, CEO of Circular.

An unmotivated person will not be very productive. If your employees are unmotivated, you can expect to see a decline in the quality of their output. Workers need energy, drive, and focus to get work done in an efficient manner and your job as a boss or manager is to provide them with motivation to give their best day in and day out.

There are more ways to motivate employees beyond the occasional pep talk. Try letting money do some of the motivation too.

“Attractive incentives are essential to keep your employees motivated. Remember, rewarding your employees shows that you care about their efforts. Use tactics like merit-based compensation and salary hikes during employee performance evaluations to keep them motivated.” – Liam McIvor Martin, Co-Founder, Time Doctor.

Time Off and “Agility”

“Agile working is about people processes, connectivity, and technology time and place together to find the most appropriate and effective way of working to carry out a particular task. It is working within guidelines (of the task) but not without boundaries (of how you achieve it).” – Paul Allsopp, Managing Director of The Agile Organization.

Flexibility and agility should be the name of the game during the time of the pandemic. As a manager, you should be open to doing what is best for your employee’s work habits and fostering an environment that allows them to excel.

Give them the flexibility to work the way they want, where they want, and when they want, if your business allows for it. It might seem counter-intuitive, but studies have been done since the pandemic started that show that most people working from home with the freedom that affords are as productive as they are in the office, if not more.

“Even in the days of work from home, you should be encouraging employees to take time off. We have seen that people are taking fewer vacation days since the pandemic because they don’t feel like they need it since they are already working from the comfort of their homes. But, since we know their productivity is up, that means they are working harder and not giving themselves a break. If they aren’t giving themselves a break, their quality of work and focus will be affected.” – Kashish Gupta, Founder and CEO at Hightouch.

Consider Wellness

“Employee wellness was something that many companies might have overlooked in the past, but since the pandemic, there has been a bigger conversation around mental health and worker overload. Implementing an employee wellness program can benefit your employee’s productivity by reducing the number of sick days they need and has the added benefit of showing them you are dedicated to their well-being.” – Shaun Price, Head of Customer Acquisition at MitoQ.

Adding a wellness program shows your employees that you are invested in their physical and mental health and makes you a company that they are proud to work for. It comes back to motivation. Employees will be more motivated to work for a company that shows they are invested in their health.

On top of that, some companies have seen that a wellness program has helped their bottom line. A healthier workforce translates to fewer sick days and, in some cases, lower health insurance costs for the company at large.

“Make sure that these programs are optional. Not everyone will appreciate being forced to spend their precious time in a meeting. Keep it consistent too. Someone might all of a sudden decide to join out of the blue when something changes in their personal life. They will thank you for giving them the option to do so.” – Seb Evans, Co-Founder of Banquist.

Communicate, Don’t Complicate

“There are so many tools for communicating in today’s day and age that there are really no excuses for not communicating consistently with your workforce. Be transparent and be open to new ideas.” – Cody Candee, Founder and CEO at Bounce.

It’s true. While that communication is a little bit harder when you can’t just walk over to a person’s desk and tap their shoulder, there is still a bevy of communication tools your business can utilize. Make sure to keep open lines of communication so that employees can reach out with questions and get them answered in a timely manner.

Make it a point to schedule weekly or bi-weekly meetings to check in with your workers and make sure they are understanding assignments and completing tasks on time, too.

“Go beyond just making sure they are comfortable doing the work. Make sure they understand why they are doing the work. A large percentage of employees don’t know what their company’s strategy is. Combat that by having consistent conversations with them that simplify company goals and how they fit into the equation.” – Matt Miller, Founder & CEO at Embroker.

Train Them Well

“Productivity starts with good training. If your employees do not know what they are supposed to be doing, then they are not going to be productive. How could they? Make sure employees are prepared for the requirements of the job they have been hired for by having a great training that goes beyond just the regular old onboarding phase.”  – James Ville, Chief Product Officer at GunSkins.

Many employees experience some sort of “imposter syndrome” or feel like they don’t know what they are doing. By offering in-depth training for employees, you can help them become familiar with the product and develop more comfort in their respective roles. The more familiar they are, the more productive they will be in the long run.

Onboarding is as crucial as ever in today’s world, too, as younger workers are feeling more empowered to leave their current positions and try something else. Make sure your onboarding strategy is clear and cohesive and effectively integrates employees into your company’s culture. Your company can’t be productive if it is losing a percentage of its employees to poor onboarding.

“An intense and extensive onboarding program could go on as long as ninety days for some businesses. It seems like that is a lot of time wasted on training, but think about it; wouldn’t you rather lose some productivity during the training period if it made employees more productive in the long run? That’s what good onboarding will do. And having semi-frequent future training and check-ins will keep your employees educated and productive for years to come.” – Michel Mosse, Co-Founder and Head of Revenue at Hoist.

Improve Work/Life Balance

“Work-life balance is something everyone is looking for in their career. No one wants to work their fingers to the bone and have no time for their family and friends. For the longest time, though, it seemed like you couldn’t take a break if you wanted to get ahead at work, but more and more companies are putting more of an emphasis on letting employees find a balance between the two.” – Nancy L Belcher, Ph.D., MPA and Co-founder of Winona.

53% of employees say a role that offers a better work-life balance is very important to them. Don’t lose your employees to a job that is affording them a better balance. Employees have lives outside of the office, as do you, show them that you realize that by being flexible with work hours and vacation time.

If you need them to work eight hours, find out what eight hours they think will be most productive. They will know better than you when they do their best work. Let them be the judge.

“If at all possible, try not to send emails after hours or schedule meetings late on Fridays and first thing Monday morning. If people are needed in order to respond to calls or emails, talk to employees and create a rotational program. Let people know that they can come to you if they have personal obligations that they need to tend to. Trust your employees to do the right thing. That, combined with all of these tactics will help create a work-life balance that will attract top talent from all over.” – James Shalhoub, Co-founder of Finn.

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