Jan 072015

Without your staff, you would not have a product to sell or a service to deliver to your customers. Yet they are also one of the biggest costs to your business and you’ll want to increase the return on your investment. One way is to increase your team’sproductivity.

There are many ways in which you can achieve this and here are some of the best.

1. Increase Employee Efficiency

One of the best ways that you can improve your employee’s productivity is to increase their effectiveness and utilisation. This should be done by enabling them to complete tasks effectively, i.e. on their first attempt and within a reasonable timeframe. This will create greater capacity and add value to your business without the need to increase the headcount.

To do this you need to understand the tasks of your employees and how long it should take for your staff to complete each task. Then you should monitor their output to ensure that they are keeping up with the time limits that you’ve setup.

If your team is not able to complete the work in time, you need to understand the cause and discover how you can facilitate a more efficient way to complete the tasks.

This can help you increase your staff’s productivity by up to 40%; giving you significant potential for increasing revenue and profit.

2. Employee Engagement

Maintaining your employees happiness is actually one of the best ways you can increase their productivity. According to research from the University of Warwick, making employees happy can improve production by 12%. In creative industries, happy workers can be as much as 50% more productive. In addition, another piece of academic research has found that workers who are happy, will perform their least favourite tasks better.

There are many ways to make employees feel appreciated, such as offering competitive compensation packages, training and rewarding them for good work. Building a relationship where communication is two-way can also create a happy environment.

3. Regular, Balanced and Objective Feedback

For production to improve, you’ll need to ensure your staff are being efficient in their working habits. They may be doing some tasks out of the most effective order. To improve their performance, provide regular meetings to offer guidance and support. At the same time, offer praise for jobs well done.

Here are some tips on how to provide the best feedback:

  • Demonstrate that you care about your employee and you want them to succeed.
  • Ask permission before you provide suggestions.
  • Don’t use negative language.
  • Be specific in your feedback.
  • Be quick. When you’ve noticed something that needs to be addressed, speak to your member of staff promptly.
  • Pick the right time and place to give the feedback to your staff member.

4. Promote Team Working

Team work is one of the best ways to increase productivity within your organisation. By combining your best staff, so they can complement each other’s strengths and provide support for individual weaknesses, you will gain a highly skilled team.

Research has also shown, that in the manufacturing industry, low skilled employees working as a team can have powerful problem solving capability.

5. Working Conditions

Your workers’ mood and productivity levels will make a difference to their productivity. Studies have demonstrated that cold temperatures decrease happiness levels and increase loneliness. This can have a serious impact on your team’s productivity.

Other research has found that maintaining your room temperature between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius will keep employees happy and productive.

Lighting is also important. Low lighting can cause headaches and eye strain that can lower production levels. In fact, 68% of employees consider lighting in their offices to be insufficient. It is important to ensure your staff have access to natural light as this has more benefit than artificial light.

At the same time you should reduce the noise levels within your office. Too much noise has been found to inhibit recall and performance of basic tasks. Therefore, limit noise to only that which is necessary.


You want your teams to be productive. This is the only way you can keep costs the same while improving your profits. Therefore, finding ways to increase your teams’ productivity is essential. Use some of the tips above to increase their production, your revenue and profit.

For further support use our business improvement service. Our clients have found improvement in their staff production of between 10 and 40% and their engagement levels to increase by up to 20%; supporting revenue and profit growth.

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Jan 072015

gearsExperts generally advise companies to seek productivity gains continually, not through concentrated productivity-improvement programs. Programs focused on short-term gains tend to be short-lived, especially if they do not achieve quick results. Moreover, experts say it can take as long as five years before measurable improvements are apparent.

Some practices that employers should consider when attempting to improve productivity include:

• managing productivity improvement,

• incorporating technological advances,

• providing training,

• ensuring a safe workplace, and

• improving employee morale.

Each of these efforts is discussed below.

Managing Productivity Improvement

Most experts counsel that increasing productivity is an ongoing process. With that in mind, companies can adopt a number of management practices that, over time, can result in continuing productivity gains. Such management practices include:

Performing a workflow assessment. Before any changes are made, current practices involved in the production of the goods and services should be examined. Reviewing the flow of work can uncover unnecessary steps in the production process, causes of recurring problems, and whether certain resources are being over or underused. Information uncovered in the examination can be used as the basis for goal-setting.

Setting goals. Goals should be clearly defined on an organizational, divisional, departmental, and unit level. Goals become the basis for action plans and periodic evaluations of progress. Productivity goals should be linked to other organizational goals, for example, increasing market share and improving quality.

Communicating goals and policies. Workers need to know what goals have been set and what role employees have in meeting those goals. A mission or policy statement is one way of disseminating that information. Whatever communication vehicle is selected, it should describe management’s commitment and views, assign responsibilities throughout the organization, and state goals clearly. If a time frame has been established as part of the productivity improvement effort, that information should be made known. If an incentive pay system is established, employees must be able to understand the performance measures that will be used and how compensation will be distributed.

Enlisting employee support. Employee cooperation is crucial to any productivity improvement effort. Employees sometimes question management’s motives in implementing changes because they fear productivity improvements will lead to downsizing or other measures harmful to their interests. Employees should be informed about how their efforts contribute to the overall health and competitiveness of the company.

Recognizing improvements. Monetary and nonmonetary recognition of employees’ contributions to increasing productivity is important. If incentive pay is used, separating it from base pay helps to emphasize the benefits of superior performance. Nonmonetary awards should be presented in public with suitable formality and be commensurate with achievements.

Incorporating Technological Advances

Productivity growth can be affected by how readily companies incorporate technological advances into their operations.

Providing Training and Development

Rapid technological changes in many industries, shortages of certain kinds of skilled labor, and literacy deficiencies all contribute to the need for job-related instruction and development.

Employers should establish or make available formal education and training programs that have the following objectives:

Teach employees how to perform new or unfamiliar jobs. This goal can be accomplished through pre-employment training, apprenticeships and internships, skill-based training, cross-training, and retraining.

Help employees improve current job performance. Close monitoring, regular performance evaluations and feedback, and opportunities to participate in on- and off-site training programs and workshops help employees to maintain and improve their skills and subject knowledge.

Ensuring a Safe Workplace

A safe and secure work environment is a fundamental concern of both employers and employees. Consideration of ventilation, noise, lighting, hazard abatement, accident prevention, and security is necessary to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards and conducive to high productivity.

Implementing engineering controls to eliminate or minimize workers’ exposure to the potential hazards associated with the workplace environment is essential to maintain productivity and prevent health problems. Problems can be avoided or minimized if employers:

• closely monitor workers’ physical surroundings;

• respond promptly to employees’ complaints about the work environment; and

• correct identified problems.

Improving Morale

Most behavioral scientists view morale as a key to motivation and performance. Creating an environment that motivates employees to perform at high levels requires considering numerous issues, including:

Work environment. The physical conditions of a workplace can influence how employees feel about their jobs and how well they perform. A clean, safe, and secure work environment can promote efficiency and give employees a psychological lift. Personal work space, equipment and furnishings, lighting and acoustics, temperature and air quality, and privacy all figure into the design of a work environment.

Work-life programs. Benefits and services that have no direct relation to basic wages or salaries—so-called work-life programs—are offered by many employers. Providing such benefits and services can demonstrate the employer’s concern about employees’ welfare and improve workforce morale. Examples of programs that help employees juggle work and life responsibilities include employee assistance programs, child and elder care programs and services, alternative work schedules, and legal and financial services.

Job design and enrichment. Designing jobs so that they offer opportunities to excel and challenge employees to acquire and apply skills valued by the organization is important because it can affect, positively or negatively, job performance, job satisfaction, and even physical and mental health. Job enrichment might entail adding more variety to the work being performed, sharing power and control, assigning more significant tasks, or promoting greater self-direction and autonomy.

Moving forward

As mentioned above it can take years before measurable improvements are apparent. It can seem daunting to start a process today and perhaps not realized the desired results for a long period of time. A business owner needs to make sure that the long term realization of results does not prevent the business from making the initial steps required for success.

We suggest that clients begin by setting goal dates for implementing plans related to the five categories mentioned above; managing productivity improvement, incorporating technological advances, providing training, ensuring a safe workplace, and  improving employee morale.

Perhaps meeting with your management group and discussing the five categories is the next best step. Making a good first step can lead to continual and consistent productivity gains.

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