Increasing employee productivity and work efficiency have been a top concern for many many companies for years, but it isn’t always easy to accomplish.

This article will explain why productivity is important in the workplace especially to your business and strategies that enable organisations to increase the productivity levels of their workforce.

what is employee productivity?

Employee productivity, also known as 'work productivity', is the amount of work that an employee or a team produces within a certain period of time. 

The productivity output usually differs from individual employee activity levels and the factors affecting work productivity vary depending on work cultures and working environment, proper training, availability of resources such as productivity, project management and automation tools.

Work productivity also reflects how you or your team are working efficiently or effectively to produce better results.

why is employee productivity important?

Growth in employees’ productivity and efficiency undoubtedly leads to a range of valuable outcomes in terms of economic progress, through increased capacities, more consumption activities and export levels.

According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM), labour productivity in 2Q22 increased by 1.3% year on year in terms of value added per actual hour worked.

On a micro level, businesses can thrive with a productive workforce that meets goals and quotas and in turn, increasing salary and development opportunities for their employees. These milestones are important to both employers and employees.

Your role as an organisation is to develop action plans for your employees, such as providing them with the necessary training programmes, time management assistance and tools to improve their productivity in the workplace.

At the employee level, the benefits of increased productivity may include job satisfaction from meeting quotas and company goals, happiness and productivity in the workplace, high employee morale, more opportunities for salary increase, promotion and other aspects of personal career growth.

Employee satisfaction and employee engagement usually goes together which subsequently boosts workplace productivity.

Whether you contribute to a niche or main-driving industry, it’s equally essential for your employees and your management to align on performance expectations, as this will improve your stability in the long term, especially through volatile economic periods.

employee productivity improving strategies
employee productivity improving strategies

3 tips to increase productivity in the workplace

There are fundamental practices that employers can implement to improve work performance and enable productivity in the workplace which would lead to enhancing employee experience and wellness.

At the same time, if your organisation continues to practise poor management styles that result in employee productivity issues in the workplace, you need to change your approach before your employees resign to join a competitor.

Regardless of whether you've noticed a decline affecting your business' productivity or you want to scale your company up to meet future demands, here are three strategies you may consider.

1. eliminate micromanagement

The Journal of Experimental Psychology published a study which revealed workers who were constantly monitored were less productive than those who were not closely watched.

Here are some tips for eliminating micromanagement that hampers the productivity levels of employees, most specially in industries such as manufacturing, automotive or logistics:

put people in the right positions

When you can match the skills, talent and interests of people with the requirements of the job, they don't need to be managed as closely. Everyone needs accountability, but people who know how to do the job and want to do it well are more likely to be self-starters.

empower employees throughout the process

When employees have to call supervisors for every little thing, it can breed micromanagement and decrease productivity. Where possible, incorporate worker-based decision-making into your processes, trusting your well-trained talent to make the right decisions and follow up with management as appropriate.

be wary of negative biases

Leaders may develop a bias against specific employees, assuming that the person or people in question will not perform well. This can lead to a negative feedback cycle in which demoralised and disengaged employees are less productive because they only notice the mistakes or problems and never the positives.

encourage employees to speak up

One sign of micromanagement is when employees are afraid to speak up or provide their own ideas. They may believe that a supervisor's way is the only way that will be allowed. This can result in  situations in which solutions and good ideas that might create a positive impact on productivity aren't brought up or discussed.

Poor communication can result in lost productivity, causing the company money and resources.

ensure management understands the process they speak

Another potential criticism of micromanagement isn't that supervisors are always around or involved. It's the leadership's lack of knowledge of the  day-to-day process but shows up anyway to make decisions that create a negative impact on productivity.

2. minimise physical meetings and office days

Time is money, and attending non-urgent, unnecessary meetings cost you time.

Likewise, spending too much time on virtual meetings depletes your employee's energy to work on their own tasks. 

Researchers at Silicon Valley’s Stanford University confirmed that ‘Zoom fatigue’ causes greater stress than meeting in real life because of the “non-verbal overload” of endless video calls.

Before you implement a morning team check-in every day or call everyone to the team meeting room, consider the following:

the purpose of the meeting

Does it enhance company culture, build team skill sets or add to productivity? Meetings should be reduced if they are not fulfilling a specific business function.

whether everyone is required to attend the meeting

It's tempting to invite every team member as a demonstration of transparency or inclusivity, but this can make it difficult for your employees. Talk to team members, line supervisors and others to find out what type of communication works best for everyone and decide who should attend certain meetings.

presenting information in a more convenient format

Broadcast emails or e-announcements are communication tools to quickly share information to everyone in the office, especially when not everyone’s schedules coincide.

evaluating working model to sustain employee productivity
evaluating working model to sustain employee productivity

Furthermore, flexible work schedules are more prevalent than ever before.

With the hybrid workplace becoming a norm today, employees are able to have autonomy over their time without having to commute to the office or resign to a closed-off cubicle on a regular basis, significantly increasing their productivity.

Re-evaluating your working model and allowing employees to work from home, and at the office on days when in-person collaboration is necessary will help them feel motivated because they can do more work in their own time. This will allow them to focus on tasks that require their full attention.

3. recognise and incentivise productivity

There is much you can do as an employer to increase worker productivity such as providing employees rewards and perks.

You can encourage your workers to work harder by offering them incentives. Employees feel more motivated to produce high quality work because they know that they'll get rewarded for doing so. Rewarding people who perform well motivates them to keep working hard.

Incentives start to cut into compensation territory, so ensure you work closely with your human resources, legal and compliance teams when putting programs together. Some other non-remunerative ways of showing appreciation towards employee productivity might include:

employee recognition programmes

Thanking employees publicly or rewarding them with accolades or special perks might incentivise some. It can also be a meal with the senior management team, getting recognised as employee of the month or a certificate or other tangible evidence of the high performance that employees can use in the future to support career growth.

extra time off

Being able to leave early on Friday, additional leave or an excused late arrival with no questions asked are examples of potential rewards.

meals or snacks

Treating the team to a meal for achieving a goal, or presenting them with gift cards for their excellent performance can boost team productivity.

contests and giveaways

Offer tickets or entries into giveaways for certain positive actions or productivity. Then, pull a name out of the hat each month and award the prize to someone.

Companies who have implemented incentive programmes for their employees have seen an increased productivity, sustained positive employee morale and improved employee retention rates.

While the lack of recognition from employers tends to trigger unhappiness and result in overall job dissatisfaction.

want more ways to improve productivity for your business?

We can connect you with the talent you need to be productive. Work with us to enhance your recruitment strategy and let our team of recruitment experts find the best talent you’re looking for who is a job fit to your organisation and drives higher productivity.

Our specialised recruitment consultants are trained to help you connect with driven, high-value candidates.

Alternatively, you can download our guide to learn more about how to increase employee productivity. It includes 13 employee productivity strategies and action steps or ideas to implement in your business. You can work with your teams to decide which strategy works for you for a seamless, effective talent management practice.

download the guide on 13 proven productivity hacks to try in your organisation

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