Dave Deslauriers /

Strategies to Increase Employee Productivity

Every company wants to increase employee productivity. And for good reason. A report by Gallup News estimates that “actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity per year.” So how do you get your team running like a well-oiled machine? While incentives such as gift-cards, and lunches are always appreciated, they don’t speak to the heart of the matter. Here are 3 tips that dig beneath the surface to address the true challenges of motivating employees.

Learn How to Measure Productivity

Perhaps one of the most crucial, yet overlooked, ways to increase productivity is to first learn how to properly measure it. Before you even consider looking at any raw data, you need to figure out exactly what information you’re looking to capture.

Suppose we consider measuring the productivity of your sales force. Do you want strictly quantitative information such as the number of sales calls made, appointments scheduled, or call-to-appointment ratios? Or are you looking for more qualitative information, such as what prospects fit your company’s “right-fit” prospect criteria? Maybe you’re looking for a combination of the two. Regardless, that decision is one that has to be made.

Once you settle upon the information you want to capture, then it’s time to determine how you’re going to gather it. Does your company utilize a CRM or have you created an ad-hoc system? Who is responsible for inputting the data? How frequently will reports be run? Answering all of these questions will allow you to develop a fluid process for measuring productivity, thus allowing you to develop a plan for improvement.

Focus on Cultural Fit

Have you ever seen a team that gels and works together? If so, you’ll know that they can accomplish some truly remarkable things. It’s for that reason culture fit plays such a crucial role when it comes to increasing employee productivity. As we discussed in our previous article The True Cost of a Bad Hire, a CareerBuilder study found that “27 percent of U.S. employers reported a single bad hire cost more than $50,000.” A major contributing factor to this enormous number is the negative impact to which a bad hire can have on team performance.

In fact, the importance of culture fit is so important to team productivity that some companies, such as billion-dollar online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos.com, see it as an absolute deal-breaker if a prospective employee doesn’t properly mesh.

“We’ve actually passed on a lot of really smart, talented people that we know can make an immediate impact on our top or bottom line, but if they’re not good for the company culture, we won’t hire them for that reason alone,” says Zappos.com CEO, Tony Hsieh.

Bringing aboard employees who fit in with your company’s vision and values boosts team morale, and as a result increases motivation and productivity throughout the team.

Give Employees the Tools to do the Job

In order to increase productivity, employees need to be placed in a position to succeed. Nothing is more frustrating to an employee than being expected to complete a task without being provided the necessary tools to do so. While it may seem obvious, if you have employees in the office, their computers and all necessary software and programs should be updated and functioning properly. Print, scan, and copy equipment should also all be in working order. If employees are still completing certain tasks by hand, it may be time to look for more technological solutions.

Additionally, if you have employees on the road, in either a sales or service function, a surefire way to hinder productivity is to leave them responsible for dealing with all of the headaches associated with business vehicles. Things such as vehicle registrations, insurance, maintenance, repairs, and dealing with the DMV are all incredibly time consuming. Handling them means your employees are unable to perform the job which you hired them to do. As a result, many companies have found that taking the burden off of their employees’ shoulders by outsourcing their fleet has dramatically increased both employee morale and productivity.

Regardless of your industry, providing employees the means to do their job in the most efficient manner is a sure fire way to boost their productivity.


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