For small businesses, the productivity of their employees is everything. It is the difference between having employees that deliver value and contribute to creating profits and struggling at every step of the way as you encounter constant resistance from your staff. Perhaps scaringly to most small business owners, your small business staff’s productivity is almost entirely down to how you act as a manager and leader.
Understand How to Motivate Your Staff
Understanding how to motivate your staff is the single best thing you can do to increase your productivity levels as a business. This is because motivating your staff is sustainable. It is not about pushing your staff to work hard for a short period – this can lead to severe employee burnout if it continues, but it is about creating a culture where hard work is valued and sustained, where people want to work hard and do everything they can to throw themselves into their job because they enjoy it.
There are some practices you can take as a manager that can motivate your team:
- Track Employee Engagement: Inpulse.com has found that employee engagement surveys can allow business owners to respond more to their employees’ working needs, resulting in increased staff retention and productivity rates.
- Recognize and support quality work whenever it occurs – did you know that 56% of employees feel that recognition is the most important factor impacting how motivated they feel in the workplace? It will make a world of difference if you support your workers whenever they do quality work. A good tip is to raise your definition of quality slightly higher each time, so they constantly feel ready to improve.
- Try to find and then remove the obstacles to their motivation – there will be things stopping your staff from being motivated. Being a good leader is about identifying those obstacles so your staff can do the work that they have the potential to do. It’s also about offering them your support when appropriate. You should regularly ask them questions about how they work – ask them simple questions like ‘what is stopping you from progressing’ and even ‘what can I do to help?’.
- Try also to free up employee time – this is crucial in keeping employees motivated and engaged, as they will feel like they have breathing room to think and be innovative.
Automate Wherever Possible
Automation is a great way to free up valuable employee working hours. Perhaps one of the most common examples of automation in this age of social media is that you can invest in a customer service chatbot. This chatbot can be used to answer routine customer queries, which means your customer service staff can spend more of their time on more demanding and valuable tasks.
Not only will automating routine tasks allow your employees to be more productive, but it will also increase the overall feeling of drive around the office. What employee wouldn’t feel more motivated when they feel that their work is more important, and a robot is taking care of the mundane stuff?
Encourage Rest Breaks
Studies have found that the average employee is only productive for less than three hours a day. Scheduled rest periods have been tried and tested as a means of increasing the hours of productivity. Many psychologists believe that motivation is limited – you can replenish your energy and motivation by taking a break.
Make sure to encourage your employees to have a healthy work-life balance, as this can benefit their mental health and contribute to your business’s overall productivity. If you do have a lot of work to get done, even small breaks like encouraging them to take a brief walk to grab a cup of coffee can be beneficial and will reduce mistakes made and unproductivity related to stress and poor wellbeing.