How Do You Keep Your Workforce Motivated?
Last year experts spoke of productivity levels in the UK reaching crisis levels and while there has been some positive news at the start of 2018, the recent extreme weather is likely to have a negative impact on productivity for the first quarter of the year. If you have seen productivity levels dropping in your business or want to put measures in place to prevent this happening in the future, this post aims to share some useful tips and ways to help your employees to work at their best.
Value and reward
For most employees, there’s a lot more to feeling valued than receiving a good salary. From being given the opportunity to feedback experiences or contribute ideas through to schemes that are designed to look after staff wellbeing, there are a number of ways to promote worker happiness. This, in turn, is likely to have an impact on productivity.
According to recent research by Perkbox, work is the biggest cause of stress in the UK but just less than one in two businesses (45%) are actively trying to counter the problem. One in four workers say they struggle to be productive when stressed, so by putting more protection in place for staff, you’re likely to reap the rewards with increased productivity rates. As business owners and managers, we can often become too focussed on sales and other numbers as the only measure of success for our business. Having an engaged and skilled workforce and good staff retention levels are other worthwhile measures of success you may consider monitoring. Why not take a leaf out of the country of Bhutan’s book? This small Himalayan country measures economic productivity by the happiness levels of its inhabitants.
If you don’t already, you could also consider using rewards to acknowledge staff efforts and achievements. One survey conducted by American Express found that 94 per cent of small businesses use rewards with their staff, with 51 percent citing it as a motivation technique. A third of workers surveyed said they were more motivated to work harder after receiving a gift and 46 per cent said such rewards made them feel valued.
One of the biggest sources of stress in the workplace is feeling overworked. Evidence suggests that being burdened with too many tasks or working too many hours or shifts that are too long is very likely to decrease productivity. Research carried out by John Pencavel at Stanford University found that productivity declines when working too many hours a week or for too many days in a row. With this in mind, you could consider changing shift lengths or offering staff reduced working hours in order to encourage a productivity boost.
It’s also critical that as a business you are setting achievable goals and addressing problems as they arise. All too often, managers or workers can attempt to meet unrealistic expectations that are placed upon them, leading them to burn out or perform ineffectively across their workload. Regular review sessions can go some way towards promoting a supportive feedback culture that helps you identify when new staff or additional training are required. Technology is also a tool that can be harnessed for this purpose. For example, by mapping out your work processes and tasks within a kanban software tool you’ll get a better overview of how work is progressing without micromanaging staff. Plus, some tools like Kanbanize even highlight work bottlenecks, so you can easily identify when employees are being overloaded.
Management and tools
What’s your personal management style? Do other managers in your business adopt the same attitude? It can be a massive learning curve recognising that not all workers are motivated by the same things and so, along with knowing and valuing our staff as individuals, we need to learn to adapt our communications too. In a survey by ADP 16 per cent of workers blamed low productivity on bad management, suggesting poor management has even more of an impact than inefficient work processes. Good management can empower employees to do their best work and along with providing good equipment and tools, it can often be the real recipe for success. With this in mind, while updating technology and equipment can be expensive it should be considered that it holds the potential to have a dual impact on productivity. Not only does it give staff access to more efficient tools but it also shows that you value staff by investing in tools and equipment that will help them to perform their job well.
Do you run a reward scheme at your company that’s proved particularly successful? Perhaps you’re planning to upgrade software and equipment to give productivity a boost? How do you plan to make 2018 your most productive year yet?