According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend 8.8 hours a day in the workplace. That is even more than the 7.7 hours we spend sleeping. The fact is we now spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our family, which means they have the opportunity to affect our mood on a daily basis, so employee productivity is a must.
A motivated employee creates a positive environment in the workplace, while an unmotivated employee is destructive and demoralizing.
Here are some effective ways to help you motivate an employee and boost employee performance.
1. Create a Family-Like Atmosphere
We are not talking about treating an employee the same way you would treat your mother or your brother. This is about creating an atmosphere where employees feel safe and respected.
Make sure your employees know that regardless of how you feel about them, you always have their backs and are willing to guide them through failures and help them celebrate successes.
If you want an invincible team, make them feel safe first.
2. Know Your Employees’ Background
Our motivation for work is a huge factor on how we will perform in the workplace. A college student working in the daytime and going to school at night has a different motivation for working than that of a single mother having to feed two kids.
Understanding your employees’ motivation will allow you to structure a support system that is both beneficial and motivating for each employee and help you increase employee productivity all around.
3. Train and Retrain
An employee is more likely to be productive when they understand exactly what is expected of them and are given the training to perform such a task.
Training gives confidence, and confidence leads to employee productivity.
Remember, after some years, an employee will likely need to be retrained on any new tools or processes being employed at the office. Offering this will help them continue to grow and stay motivated to do their best work.
4. Use Small Incentives
You will be surprised at how powerful a $10 gift card can be in the workplace. It has little to do with the money or the monetary value; it is related to how employees are recognized for their achievements. When they receive a small reward, they feel that they are being appreciated, which is a great way to motivate anyone.
5. Listen to Opinions
The final say should always come from superiors, but you should always encourage employees to share their thoughts and opinions and genuinely listen when they do. Employee engagement is a must if you want to increase productivity.
Valuing the opinions and listening to the suggestions of employees before making a decision will show them that they are part of a team and will give them a sense of contribution to the company.
Employees work better when they feel that their voice is being heard, as they will be more interested in contributing to the cause of a company.
6. Treat Employees as Individuals
Employees have lives outside of the workplace, and these should always take precedence over work.
That single mother you employ may not always have a babysitter lined up. The college student may have a final that he must complete to graduate.
If you want to improve employee productivity, be respectful and understanding when life happens to your employees, and you will have an appreciative and productive worker.
7. Give Them the Right Equipment
Make sure that the everyday equipment in the office works. There is nothing worse than having an employee say that they couldn’t complete their daily tasks because “the computer was down.”
Do not give them any excuses to slack off, but also be understanding when there are office mishaps that prevent them from getting things done.
8. Answer Questions
An employee may feel it is better to do something wrong than to ask how to do something right for fear of looking incompetent.
You are the person in charge for a reason. Hammer the point home that asking questions is a good thing, and whenever an employee does come to you with a question, respond with patience and a clear, direct answer.
Answering questions clearly and in a timely manner will keep employee productivity high.
9. Celebrate Victories, No Matter How Small
When an employee sees that every positive contribution to the team is acknowledged, he or she knows that their actions count and that what they do is really making a difference.
Celebrations don’t need to include cake and champagne. It can be a simple “Good job” and a pat on the back. As long as you’re recognizing victories, it will help motivate each person at the workplace.
10. Be a Role Model
When people see the boss working, they will also work. When they see the boss slack off, they will do the same. A workforce will always mirror their immediate supervisors, so be the kind of worker that you want your employees to model in order to increase employee productivity.
This involves a good deal of self-reflection, so make sure you’re analyzing your own work ethic alongside that of your employees.
11. Treat Employees Equally
There is nothing worse in the workplace than seeing employees not being treated as equals. We all have experienced having a peer who was viewed as the “favorite.” We also remember how discouraging and resentful that made us feel.
If you are a boss and you have favorites, you run the risk of having a split workforce.
In a time when competition for work is at its highest, we must all remember that we are being watched. That includes bosses, managers, and supervisors. In order to discourage a cutthroat environment, offer the same amount of feedback and attention to each employee, and be careful to avoid choosing favorites.
The Bottom Line
Anne Mulcahy puts it well when she says,
“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” -Anne M. Mulcahy, Former CEO of Xerox Corporation
Employees who have superiors that care will ultimately be more productivity and content at their place of work. If you’re interested in increasing employee productivity, create a work environment where each team member feels heard and respected. Everything will fall into place from there.