In a global productivity study, 82% of participants said that poor management negatively impacts their productivity. As a manager, you have a huge impact on your team’s ability to work efficiently since you assign projects, control access to information, and set the standards for success.
Typically, leaders seek to improve productivity without regard for the employees themselves. However, empowering your employees to be productive is one of the most meaningful gifts you can give them since it enables them to:
- Finish their work faster and have a greater work-life balance
- Suffer from less management-related stress
- Feel a sense of accomplishment when they reach their goals and get closer to better career opportunities
Thus, boosting efficiency is as beneficial to your team as it is to your performance goals. Here are five actionable ways you can give your employees the gift of productivity.
1) Ensure Your Team Has Goal Clarity
The first step in helping your employees be more productive is clearly defining what success looks like for them. According to Gallup, only 12% of employees strongly agree that their manager works with them to set priorities and only 13% agree that their boss sets performance goals with them.
When employees lack goal clarity it causes them to waste time on unproductive activities including:
- Working on tasks that don’t add value
- Spending time trying to figure out what they should focus on
- Completing valuable projects slowly because they’re second-guessing themselves
Thus, the easiest way to give your employees the gift of productivity is to have 1:1’s with them on a regular basis to set goals and evaluate their performance.
Related: How to Set Effective Goals with Employees and Boost Performance
2) Offer Frequent and Meaningful Employee Recognition
In a Cicero study that asked employees what drives them to do great work, 37% reported that being recognized is their biggest motivator. This was followed by “Nothing, I’m self-motivated (13%)” and “inspire me (12%).”
Employees crave validation yet only a third of them receive positive feedback on a regular basis. To motivate your team to be productive, you need to show them that their work is valued.
- In your team meetings, praise employees who went above and beyond since your last meeting
- In your 1:1’s, provide detailed positive feedback
- Host informal company awards where you recognize employees who uphold your values
Though recognition is simple, it has a huge impact on employee morale and productivity.
3) Give Your Employees Virtual Assistant Support
The greatest gift you can give your top-performers is more time to focus on the work they love. Too often, your most talented employees have put aside their projects to do tedious, but important, tasks including:
- Data entry
- Travel & expense management
- Scheduling meetings & coordinating key parties
And a variety of other process-driven tasks that don’t require their authority or expertise. The easiest way to boost their productivity is to give them a virtual assistant whom they can offload all of those process-driven tasks to.
Download our free guide to learn how hiring a managed virtual assistant service can be a cost-effective resource for your team.
4) Give Employees Ample Time to Work in Solitude
All of the hype around open offices and increased collaboration is reducing employee productivity. A study found that 43% of office workers say that interruptions from coworkers are the biggest factor that disrupts their productivity.
Collaboration is great for brainstorming, pressure-testing ideas, and problem-solving ideas. However, working closely with coworkers is very distracting when employees are doing individual work.
To ensure your employees have time to focus, you can:
- Set the standard of messaging coworkers before interrupting them in person and set the expectation that people don’t have to respond to messages immediately. This gives employees the opportunity to reach a good stopping point in their work before responding.
- Set the standard of scheduling meetings for any conversation that’s going to take longer than 10-15 minutes. This prevents employees from unexpectedly being pulled away from their work for long periods of time.
Giving employees more time to work in solitude helps efficiently complete the projects that drive your team’s success.
Related: 6 Office Productivity Hacks to Boost Employee Performance
5) Proactively Reduce Employee Stress
According to the Attitudes in the American Workplace report, 80% of people are stressed out at work. Stress can severely damage productivity by causing employees to be sleep deprived, anxious, disengaged, sick more frequently, and experience other issues that prevent them from completing their work efficiently.
Luckily, some of the top sources of workplace stress can be remedied with strong management. They include:
- Difficult bosses
- Heavy workloads
- Difficult coworkers
- Unclear expectations
Training your company’s managers to speak respectfully to employees, set realistic expectations, and appropriately handle coworker conflicts requires an upfront investment but can have a huge impact on improving employee productivity.
Related: Workplace Stress Hurts Performance. Here's How to Stop It
Leadership effectiveness is entirely dependent on employee success. The more you invest in improving their productivity, the greater your team’s overall performance will be.
About the Author: Emily formerly led Prialto's content production and distribution team with a special passion for helping people realize success. Her work and collaborations have appeared in Entrepreneur, Inc. and the Observer among others.