Productive activities are those that assist in achieving the goals of your company. In an age in which business is increasingly driven by social media, small businesses must set social goals in addition to financial ones. That’s one reason it’s not always easy to tell the difference between productive and non-productive activities.
The employee who often seems to just be staring out the window could be developing ideas that will substantially increase future profits. The one who always looks busy on the computer could just be busy playing multiple games of solitaire. Increasing overall productivity requires three essential elements–achievable shared goals, motivation, and effective tracking mechanisms.
Set Achievable Shared Goals
Statistics from 2014 revealed that only 40% of workers were aware of their employer’s goals. Research shows that employees who can see a direct connection between their efforts and the successful achievement of company goals are happier.
It’s important for business owners to develop both their short-term and long-term company goals. The more their employees contribute to developing those goals, the more invested they will be in achieving them. Goals are a great tool for measuring, and increasing, productivity.
Short-term goals utilize deadlines, which are useful in measuring progress as well as learning to set more realistic future goals. Long-term goals utilize strategies that depend on long-term team commitment for success. Knowing your employees is essential to learning what kinds of motivational tools can best inspire that kind of commitment.
Motivation is Key
While financial rewards are one type of motivation, research studies show that inspiration and appreciation are valued just as highly. The best leaders lead by example, and small business owners have the opportunity to demonstrate the kind of behaviors they want their employees to emulate by working right alongside them. Feeling valued is one of the strongest human motivations. That’s why it’s important to publicly recognize positive contributions towards the success of the company.
Public acknowledgement by co-workers is just as important. Employees praised by their peers for improved performance are more likely to continue to improve. That’s one reason peer evaluation can be an effective productivity tracking mechanism. Another good reason is that encourages employees to self-discipline and personal accountability, and away from the need for constant supervision.
Keep Track of Effective Tracking Mechanisms
Some types of productivity are easier to track than others. It’s fairly easy to determine whether a goal to increase sales by 5% within six months has been met. It’s simply a matter of comparing today’s sales figures with those from six months ago.
Determining whether an employee has increased their customer service skills can be more difficult. While tools such as customer reviews and complaints can be useful, they don’t always accurately reflect reality. The more perspectives you are able to utilize, the better.
Your employees are one of the best sources of information about the performance of their fellow workers. The quality of their working lives is directly affected by that performance. Whatever other tools you use to track employee productivity, a weekly meeting to share information about successes and offer supportive suggestions for improvement is one of the most effective.
Stay Connected With Your Employees
Company meetings, whether they’re daily, weekly, monthly, or bi-annual, are essential for making sure your employees understand company goals. They’re also a great way to help build the positive working relationships necessary to achieve them. Achieving your company goals is what productivity is all about.