Set clear goals and expectations – Make sure everyone in your organization knows what they are working towards, and how their work fits into the bigger picture. This seems like a simple idea, yet it has a PROFOUND impact on productivity in the workplace. When employees do not fully understand what is expected of them, they tend to get lost in the work or even off track. How can we blame unproductive employees for losing their way when we do not clearly define what we expect? Employees aren't mind readers, they are human. If we are to hold them to high standards, let's first be undeniably clear about not only what we hope from them, but also how their work makes an impact and what they need to succeed.
Communicate effectively – Not everyone communicates in the same way. When we recognize this and take steps to overcome barriers in communication, we bolster a culture of productivity. Encouraging open communication ensures everyone is on the same page - this helps avoid misunderstandings and establish that everyone is working towards the same goals.
Encourage collaboration – Foster a collaborative environment where employees can work together and learn from each other. This will help to build a strong sense of teamwork and improve productivity. How do teamwork and collaboration bolster productivity? When individuals are encouraged to work together, they often are able to build off of each other's work and motivate each other to be creative. Now, this doesn't happen in every single working environment, therefore, it is critical to pay attention to what teamwork creates in your workplace. Does it foster creativity and comradery? Or does it invite goofing off and sliding by? If the answer is yes to the latter, then you must address other elements of your culture (such as common tendencies of slacking off, joking around instead of working, and ignoring directives from leadership) first.
Provide the right tools – Make sure your employees have access to the tools and resources they need to do their jobs effectively. This may include software, hardware, training, and support. Without the correct tools, employees will often lose motivation because they feel that they cannot succeed no matter what. Additionally, often employees will be hesitant to reach out and tell leadership that they are lacking in necessary tools (especially if they are newer to the organization) for fear of backlash. Check-in with your teams regularly to ensure they have what they need to succeed.
Emphasize work-life balance – Encourage your employees to take breaks and prioritize their well-being. This can be incredibly challenging for employers to seamlessly include in their workplace, yet it is undeniably important. A healthy work-life balance can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and burnout while improving creativity, motivation, and productivity.
Celebrate successes – Recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of your employees. This will help to boost morale and motivate everyone to continue working hard. Celebrating success fosters extrinsic motivation as employees are encouraged to be productive with the promise of social and physical rewards. Some employers celebrate successes with shout-outs for good work, awards, or prizes.
Foster a positive work environment – Creating a workplace culture that is supportive, inclusive, and positive helps to keep employees engaged and motivated. Studies have shown that employees who feel as though they belong are way more likely to succeed at work and further foster a culture of productivity for their peers.
Provide regular feedback – The importance of feedback cannot be understated. The sun is setting on yearly performance reviews. Offer constructive feedback to your employees on a regular basis. This will help them to improve their skills, stay on track, remain connected to the organization, and ask for help when they need it. Feedback should be given regularly, informally, and in a positive way. Negative feedback should be shared in a way that shows support for individuals. In other words, leaders should show that they care about the employee's individual success and that the feedback is for their benefit.
Embrace innovation – Encourage your employees to come up with new ideas and ways of doing things. This can help to improve processes and boost productivity. Not only does this help the organization by providing new ideas for work, but when leaders actually utilize employee innovation, employees are further motivated to be creative and productive on their own.
Lead by example – Finally, lead by example. As a leader, you should be the embodiment of the culture you want to create. Be productive, positive, and supportive, and your employees will follow suit.