Even at the best of times, thriving businesses are most often those that tap into the well of energy and resourcefulness that only a well motivated and highly productive staff can bring. During times of recession, getting the most out of employees becomes less of a “should do” and more of a “must do”. There are many schools of thought on getting your employees to deliver over and beyond the call of duty – here are some ways to get more out of your workforce:
- Create an ambiance of motivation and team spirit. Sure, a barking boss can often deliver shorter term productivity increases borne purely out of fear and intimidation. But, it hardly helps foster an environment of belonging and commitment to the cause – which are key to maintain highly productive workers in the long run, who aren’t desperate to jump ship at the first opportunity.
- Ask staff about their perceived bottlenecks. Effective management is all about engaging with staff on a one to one basis and identifying what barriers to productivity each staff member faces.
- Have regular evaluations. Everyone’s busy, and at first an evaluation may seem like one of those pointless paper pushing exercises that only irritates and bogs down employees with more work. The truth is, just as any good business will have a plan outlining its strengths and weaknesses, so every productive employee needs a blueprint to work from, goals to aim for and appraisals to compare them all.
- Promote internal training and education. The more employees you have, the more wealth of knowledge and experience you hold within the walls of your business. Cross training can be a great way for employees to cover one another, and for the company as a whole to maintain key knowledge and expertise even when key workers move on.
- Promote communication within the organization. When employees know exactly what’s expected of them on an individual and a group level, there’s less scope for time wasting errors and duplication to occur.
- Educate your staff on optimizing their personal optimization. Consider sending staff on productivity workshops and seminars that can teach them how to prioritize and plan their working day. Workplace planning and efficiency is a little like Marmite – some people just naturally take to it, while others really don’t. If the purse strings are a little tight, there’s nothing wrong with whipping up a quick one hour seminar on workplace organization and efficiency by yourself, or providing some reading material in the office for staff to read.
- Empower workers by enabling them to make their own decisions. Rather than micro managing and imposing your own methodology and operational procedures, allow employees to manage and think up their own solutions and processes. Management can always lend a guiding hand, and suggest tweaks to maximize efficiency, but empowering staff to orchestrate their own job direction is a natural way to motivate them.
- Finally, cut them a little slack now and again. The vast majority of workers will be good people trying to do right by their workplace. They aren’t robots, and cutting them a little slack and showing them some appreciation can do wonders to improve the attitude and energy they devote to the company.