The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Employee productivity is something that often goes hand in hand with the success of a company. Images of employees surfing the internet, texting with their pals, and general goofing off quickly spring to mind; however, one thing managers need to be aware of is that they might be the ones negatively affecting productivity. Here are a five ways you might be making your employees less productive.
Checking on the progress on a constant basis is counterproductive. Just trying to be everywhere at once causes feelings of waiting for the next periodic evaluation before anything new is undertaken. That mindset puts employees in a strange position and spreads managers a bit too thin. Trusting employees to do their jobs is part of effective management, and learning to do that keeps the office, factory, or other business functioning smoothly.
Managing by Personality
Knowing a particular worker will go the extra mile to make sure a task gets completed correctly on time is a great asset to any workplace, but constantly bombarding that employee with special tasks gets a little exhausting. Not only do feelings of distaste lurk in the mind of that worker, but the other people in the workplace begin to adapt apathy about their position knowing that someone else will inevitably pick up the slack. Keeping special requests aimed equally at the workforce encourages everyone to step up their game.
Lack of Accountability
When talking about accountability it is easy to focus on mistakes, but a big part of accountability is recognition. Challenges are hiding around every corner in the work day, and while some are turned into opportunities; others can only be considered failures. Recognizing and addressing both is the only true way to get employees motivated. Mistakes can be corrected. Having the person that made the mistake own up to it and take the corrective steps is just as important to recognize one that might have pulled off the impossible.
Being the Communication Hub
If a manager’s phone or email is constantly being utilized, there might be a problem with a bottleneck in communication and decision making. It is great to be involved in several different projects, but if every piece of information has to go through one person there are inevitably others waiting on a response. That waiting time is costing money and negatively affecting productivity. Delegating, following up, and making recommendations free up management for other tasks, but also allows a team to function with free reign without the need to get every step approved by person not involved with the process.
Managers lead the way for employees to function, and providing workers feedback on their jobs is an integral part of the process. However, providing useful feedback is critical to employees knowing what is expected of them and how to attain the goals assigned to them. Scheduling periodic sessions to clearly state goals and objects helps workers understand and perform to higher standards. Plus, the process clues managers into the personalities of the workforce and how use them effectively on different projects.
The Work Environment
An intense and hyper-competitive workplace is just as hard to work in as an easy-going get to it when you can type of work environment. While comfortable employees are productive ones, an utter lack of oversight causes focus to slip while too much management causes resentment and often results in bad communication. Finding the middle ground for any business is tough work, but once the harmony is found the production can be incredible.
Workers like to feel appreciated, because people like to feel appreciated. Having personal policies that violate trust runs against that notion, because the company starts to cross the line into the personal lives of employees. Issues that might seem simple to management, like requiring a doctor’s note for every sick day or requesting an obituary for bereavement leave, often have negative impacts on employees. Not every single one of the employees is faking, but attempting to punish workers for using things that are supposed to be benefits carries a ton of negative effects on the work at hand.
In the end, it is important to recognize that employees and management share the responsibility of a safe and productive workplace. Continual improvements are only made by constant evaluation. Realizing that management could be at the center of any potential productivity issue or be playing a part in the overall process is the first step to correcting the work culture. Instilling responsibility, pride, and confidence is not an easy job, but by making small steps along the way the journey can be accomplished. Nobody can get to a destination without a starting spot, and discovering where a business is currently gets the entire process rolling.
About the Author
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Amy Klimek is an experienced HR recruiter and VP of Human Resources for ZipRecruiter, a company that simplifies the hiring process for small to medium size businesses. Prior to that Amy has held similar roles at Rent.com, eBay and US Interactive. For Amy, corporate culture isn’t about dogs and free lunches, it’s about empowering employees and creating an enriching environment for people to excel.