Productivity, and more specifically increasing it, is a core business aim to which organizations of all kinds aspire. After all, what’s the point of creating a great product or service if your business gets stuck in a rut, fails to grow, or goes into meltdown at the first sign of competition? Improving production makes a tremendous difference, and this means that you have to focus on improving your employees’ motivation and teamwork. Here are some ways that you can harness workplace activities to do just that.
Reward hard work and success
It’s not uncommon for workers to feel that they often go unrecognized for their labors, so make sure that you have a scheme in place to celebrate achievement. It can be as simple as “employee of the month”, with all attendant publicity and recognition, or as sophisticated as offering someone a special prize, even a bonus, for meeting their sales target or capturing new business. The important feature is that employees should feel valued for what they do.
Ensure that the targets you set are reasonable and achievable, otherwise employees may consider that it’s not worth the effort to compete with colleagues. Be as transparent as possible when it comes to rewarding great work, to the extent of explaining to people why what they did was so good and what it has helped the firm to achieve.
Try team-building activities
It’s not strictly necessary to undertake physically challenging activities, such as whitewater rafting or mountain biking, to allow individuals to improve their team-working skills, though outdoor pursuits can be great fun for those who enjoy them.
There are even some “management games” that encourage improved communication and leadership opportunities, and these often prove very popular with workers because they are a world away from their day-to-day work experiences. Encouraging employees to work across normal work boundaries, such as mixing higher management, middle management, and blue collar workers is a great way to increase flexibility and empathy in everyone.
Paint the bigger picture
Sometimes, workers get demoralized if they’re involved in a project that seems apparently incidental to the firm. By painting the bigger picture, a smart boss helps every employee understand that they have contributed to a major achievement. If the microprocessors that your company makes are used in the creation of a spaceship, a plane, or a top-of-the-range automobile, you should make sure that everybody who works for you knows it.
Start a club, network, or syndicate
If people in your organization have one or more shared interests, encourage them to get together on a regular basis to participate. This might be sports-based, as with baseball or hockey; arts-based, such as forming a choir or a company theater group; or a whole host of other leisure pursuits that people love. You might find that employees are attracted by chess or bowling tournaments, or following the California lottery results at LottoGopher, or raising funds for a local charity.
Health and wellbeing
Just as researchers have found that kids in school perform better when learning if they get enough food and sleep, so you’ll soon find that your workers are more productive if they are well fed and have sufficient rest. Some companies make nutritious snacks available in workplace kitchens or staff relaxation areas so that no employee is ever so busy achieving targets that they forget to have lunch. Others make sure that workers take breaks as appropriate, and may even provide ways to wind down – for example, a pool room on the premises.
Another aspect of the healthy workplace is the importance of getting your policies just right. Don’t insist that people come into work if they are ill. If they are not capable of doing a good job, better that they stay at home and recuperate than that they come to work and pass on their illness to others. Think hard about how your firm handles time off and medical benefits – it could cost you much more in terms of employee absence and productivity if you disengage from your employees’ health issues and are mean about their benefits.
Handle bad news positively
When someone’s underperforming, it can be daunting to break the bad news, and just as difficult for them to hear it. Nobody likes having a conversation about poor performance. One solution is to focus on something that the person has achieved or done well. This makes it easier for both parties to move into areas that could be improved.