August 3, 2020
Company Culture 15 January 2020
4 Tips to Drive Employee Productivity with Balance and Planning
Britta Howlett
employee-productivity-balance

Employee productivity is vital in keeping your company alive and thriving. When everything is going well, you probably don’t think too much about it. However, when there is little to no productivity things come to a halt. 

As a manager, it is one of your biggest responsibilities to inspire and motivate people. With the right balance and planning, your employees will not only be productive and efficient but also be happier with their jobs. 

 Here are just a few of the ways you can drive employee productivity:

1. Encourage Transparency

Talk to your managers and leaders. Know what they believe about time off, vacation, and their role and projected path in the company.  Ensure that your company transparency is an open line that can be discussed and achieved.

When transparency is added to the company culture, employees will be more committed and engaged in the company’s vision. The employees will fully understand the mission and feel the need to share their ideas and creativity to achieve the desired objective.

So how does a company begin to be transparent in the workplace? The answer is communication. Not just any communication but communication that is clear and direct. It’s important that communication be a two way street between all employees and leaders. Carlos Castelán, Managing Director of The Navio Group says that;

“Communications between management and the employee is key to productivity. Poor communications from management impacts employees by making them feel removed from feedback about their work and performance. In many ways, a boss’s poor communication – or a lack of communication – signals to employees that they’re not valued. 

Employees are most committed and engaged when senior leadership continually lets them know of any company strategies and updates. Organizations that implement the concept of transparent leadership will see trust and commitment from their employees. Here are some tips to get you started on being more transparent with your employees.

Tips:

  • Don’t close the door, because if you and your team leaders are behind closed doors, you better believe that everyone is nervous wondering why. 

  • Manage rumors. People tend to make things up and what they make up is oftentimes an exaggeration of what is actually happening. So get ahead of the gossip. Get together in a meeting and talk about what is happening with the company. 

  • Performance. Learn to know that when you share company information with your team, it will help them do their jobs. Be honest about conversion rates, profits made or average deal size. This will let your people do their work better. 

  • Put your tools to work. If you are starting from scratch or looking to make your existing culture more transparent, start by using the tools you already have. For example, make all of your team leaders calendars visible internally so that everyone can see who is in meetings or who is available to talk. 

  • Evaluate performance candidly. Your employees are people so you should normalize the discussion about performance. It should be part of an ongoing conversation and not a scary performance review. 

2. Encourage Employees to Take Time Off

As an employer, it can be difficult to decide what vacation policy or days off to allow. It can feel like the Goldilocks syndrome. Too much or too little as you're striving for just the right amount. Additionally, you never want employees to feel that they never have support or that the company will fall apart without their position. 

Helping employees feel valued while driving productivity goes hand in hand with smart succession planning and great company culture. We want our employees to be rested and renewed, but sometimes you'll have people take advantage of the situation.

Regardless of the situation, all humans need time to recharge and maintain productivity. Without proper planning of balance and responsibilities, you might see some employees showing signs of unproductivity or burnout. This can not only harm the individual but it can hurt the team morale. It's important to watch for warnings and have strategies in place to help achieve more balance. Many of these strategies can be directly implemented into your company's succession plan.

- Communicate clearly about Time Off

According to a report done by Project Time Off, employees' fears around using vacation or personal paid time off are influenced by their companies. The report shows that 2/3 of employees don't feel they have clear communication or any messages at all-around using the time off. This lack of communication can create a barrier and a lack of transparency in the office.

This message and policy should stem from your succession plan and be decided by the directors, then introduced to the company leaders and managers. The progress and success of your managers and leaders will depend on a variety of factors such as knowledge and experience. 

However, what can't be taught is creativity and motivation. Time off and encouraging work-life balance can help keep your employees fresh, driven, and engaged. 

- Reasons Why Employees don't Take Time Off

Some employers and studies have found that even with a great succession plan and a time off policy in place employees are still not taking time off. In fact, the National US Travel Foundation found most of the reasons for not taking leave, or working while employees should be on vacation stem from being a "work martyr."

  • 40% of employees are afraid of the mountain of work they’ll face when they return to work after time off.

  • 35% say they are the only ones who can do their jobs.

  • 25% are afraid of losing their jobs or fear being seen as replaceable if they take time off.

We found these results to be stunning but we weren't surprised. Employees and organizations with these findings are all across the board. 

With great succession planning and company culture, employees should feel valuable but not that they are THE ONLY ONE who can do the job. This type of feeling can create stress, lower productivity and breed a culture of unhealthy competition rather than one of cooperation and progress.

Companies and organizations can gain investments when planning for time off in their employee's careers. It can feel like a lofty investment on your end but will drive productivity and overall happiness. 

3. Set Attainable Goals

Once people get a sense of ownership over their work, they need clear goals to sustain motivation. The best goals are measurable, challenging and impactful to the organization. One way to set those goals is to determine a goal that can be measured by the project, team or company’s progress. Barbara Hernandez-Taylor, Head of Product Marketing at Azuga found that;

“The majority of employees becoming unmotivated is either related to being overworked to the point of burnout or being given excessively lofty/unattainable goals. There is a big difference between setting attainable goals and setting a bar too low. By divvying out realistic goals and checkpoints to meet, employees will gradually build up their levels of motivation as each goal is met.”       

There are a few things you can do to help your employees set goals:

  • Plan your week: it’s important to look at the tasks you need to get done each week. Every week, plan out any calendar events. Taking an hour or two at the beginning of the week can help you to keep on track and measure your goals. 
  • Be specific: When setting goals, it's important to be clear and specific. Writing “improve social media '' is a good reminder but it doesn't show how you are going to accomplish the goal. Instead, you could write something like “post on twitter twice a day to improve social media engagement”. Setting a specific goal will help you improve and attain those goals. 
  • Make sure your goals are attainable: It’s good to have high standards but you don't want to set goals that are too hard to reach. They need to be challenging yet attainable.
  • Establish a deadline: Aiming to complete goals at a certain time can give you a push to get them done. Make sure to set deadlines that are also attainable.

4. Have a Solid Succession Plan

Succession planning is an important way to identify employees who have the current skills--or the potential to develop skills--that can help them move up in an organization, or on to other positions. Adil Ashraf, Head of Human Resources at MotionCue suggests that;

“Companies must roll out opportunities for employees to grow and succeed. With having a proper succession planning structure implemented, employees will always try to steer forward and achieve several different goals for the company. They will always be happy to know that there is a future and the ability to grow which they are always willing to work hard for.”

Succession planning not only drives employees to be more productive but it helps with employee retention. When employees are working towards a goal that they want to achieve they are less likely to leave the company. 

If you don’t already have a solid succession plan then here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Decide your succession planning strategy. The best succession plan is one that best fits your organization. In order to decide what's best for your company, you might consider these questions:

    • What outcome are you looking for? What is your ultimate goal?

    • What are your organization's weaknesses and strengths?

    • Do you want a complete succession plan that includes all employees? Or do you want a succession plan that covers leadership positions?

  • Evaluate employee skills. Start succession planning by having an honest evaluation of your employees. This could include all the hard skills they say they have and of course all the soft skills you have noticed while they have worked for you. Having a list of each employee's skillsets is helpful when finding a more personalized role in the company.

  • Provide advancement opportunities. As your employees hit their goals, make sure to recognize their achievements. Recognition can come from praise, pay raise or other benefits. Following through with rewards will show to your employees that there are long-term benefits of staying with the company and following their succession plan. 

Succession planning will help your organization grow because by filling positions internally, you can limit hiring costs, reduce the time needed to reach proficiency and eliminate turnover. 

Building a great company culture around a strong succession plan can help alleviate many fears. Having the right team in place will help employees feel confident in their position as well as comfortable to take a moment to recharge or strive for that promotion. Productivity and company culture suffer when there aren't proper pathways laid out, or burnout happens. Help empower your staff with your great support, tools, and policies in place to drive better decisions and results.

Don't forget to sign up for a demo to find out how ProSky can help your company be more efficient in all recruitment, employee development, and employee retention.