3 ways to increase employee productivity

3 ways to increase employee productivity
Image source: Vantage Circle

Employee productivity is a hot topic in the UK as it’s been identified as one of the key reasons preventing the economy from reaching its full growth potential. Productivity has barely grown since the 2008-09 financial crisis, and while most advanced countries have shared this problem, the UK has still underperformed most comparable economies.

And recent research suggests that the cost of living crisis is making the situation even worse. A study from Censuswide found that an estimated 8.2 million people say cost of living-related financial worries negatively impacted their productivity at work in 2022, and 31% of employees expected this to continue into 2023.

As a business owner, what can you do to ensure your employees stay motivated and give their all to your company? Here are three simple tactics.

1. Provide employees with the right tech

Giving your team the tools they need to do the job is essential. A lot of the time this will involve technology, given that we now have so many applications, platforms and programmes designed to help businesses make their processes more efficient. However, simply adding another piece of tech won’t necessarily improve productivity. In fact, it might even make it worse.

According to SaaS purchasers at Vertice, their database shows that “the average app engagement score is only 45% — meaning companies are either over-licensing or employees are not adopting tools as expected.” Both of these possibilities can result in wasted time and, therefore, decreased productivity. 

According to a 2021 study by Cornell University and Qatalog, 54% of respondents felt the number of applications they use makes it harder for them to find information, and 21% of the mistakes they make can be attributed to problems accessing information on different tools.

With this in mind, it may be worth having a spring clean of your business tools. Find out exactly what is being used and how, see if you can spot any overlaps that are causing confusion (and wasting company money), and engage with your employees to learn whether there are any gaps you could fill by tweaking the tools you currently offer.

2. Encourage learning opportunities

Allowing your employees to learn new things is a great way to incentivise them and also provide them with new skills that can also improve productivity. A 2022 Censuswide survey of over 4,000 of the nation’s workforce found that 70% of England’s workforce was interested in upskilling. Meanwhile, according to McKinsey, effective reskilling tends to bring a productivity uplift of 6 to 12%.

Reskilling employees gives them the tools they need to do their jobs to the best of their abilities, and it goes without saying that this has clear business benefits. But as well as the fact that companies can maintain a competitive edge and fill skills gaps without a costly and time-consuming recruitment process, this can also make a huge difference to employee morale. The same McKinsey paper states that 94% of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. “Such appreciation may be expressed in ways that bring benefits to employers, including high engagement and productivity in the new role, and contribution to workplace morale.”

3. Identify and align goals with performance

Setting generic linear goals may not be the way to get the best out of your team. Instead, make sure your employees are active participants in discussions about their progression and development and have a say in what they hope to achieve. Yet at the same time, managers still need to guide them in order to set goals that are realistic and useful for the wider business.

There are two key criteria that must be met for goal setting. Firstly, they must be achievable. Nothing is more likely to demotivate an employee than a goal they’ll likely never reach. And secondly, they must be able to measure their progress and performance – here are some ways to do that. Meaningful goals are a great way for employees to self-motivate and, in turn, drive better performance and productivity. Make sure that regular check-ins are scheduled in order to keep your team on track and ensure they’re rewarded when they achieve their targets.

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