Implementing strategies to improve productivity must be an organization-wide initiative, involving managers from all disciplines -- product development, production, finance, marketing, human resources and IT. Productivity improvements occur on the heels of organizational development, which includes identifying and solving problems, initiating best practices, responding effectively to change, shortening the learning curve, improving processes and developing employee skills.
Motivate Employees to Contribute
Follow these basic rules: Pay your employees well, treat them with respect, set metrics, reward good performance, appreciate initiative and value innovation. Periodic assessments and mentoring programs help managers to better understand the motivating factors and working styles of employees. Encourage employees to learn and grow within the organization. People make valuable contributions to their company when they know that they are valued.
Create Open Communication Channels
Let us assume that your company has decided to lay off 100 employees to reduce costs. You and a select few at the managerial level are aware of whose jobs will be eliminated. But your company has not made a formal announcement as yet, and managers continue to award new long-term projects to people who will be retrenched. What kind of message do you think the company is sending to its employees in that case? Rumors about impending job cuts create fear and panic. People don't know who will get a pink slip when they come in to work. To shore up productivity losses due to declining morale, management must honestly communicate its objectives. You don't want employees to find out about their company's plans from the news media.
Make Design Changes to Prevent Illness and Injury
Simple changes in workplace design (such as placing desks facing windows rather than walls) can impact productivity. In "Ergonomics of the Workplace: Overview," published by SpineHealth.com, John J. Triano and Nancy C. Selby find ergonomic workplaces can help prevent work-related back pain and injury.
Introduce Stress-Reduction Initiatives
Prevent job burnout by promoting a healthy work-life balance. Develop systems that enable telecommuting and other employee-oriented options. Offer meditation and yoga classes at discounted prices. Encourage employees to use the gym at work every day.
Improve Enterprise Data Technology
Effective management of enterprise data boosts productivity. Cindy Justras of Aberdeen Group, in "Strategies to Improve Personal and Corporate Productivity," cites findings from the Do More With Less: Merging Enterprise Applications with Desktop Tools Benchmark Report (September 2008), which found that on average, employees waste 6.7 hours per week in nonproductive activities. This is attributed to inadequate IT tools. Employees spend significant time on enterprise data, rectifying data discrepancies and creating reports manually. Justras writes: "These statistics show that an effective search technology could help companies make significant improvements in productivity."
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