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How to Boost Employee Productivity (without Becoming a Dictator)

Don’t let your team fall behind. Learn how to measure and improve employee productivity in your workplace today.

Motion Blog
at Motion
Jun 26, 2023
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Are you struggling to finish projects on time and on budget? Is your team not hitting their goals and objectives as often as you’d like? Worst of all, do they seem unenthusiastic about coming to work?

It’s frustrating when your team isn’t meeting your expectations and you know they absolutely can.

They have the potential to reach dizzying heights of success, whether it’s on a project or company-wide level, but they aren’t actually doing the work. You’ve tried encouragement and performance tracking, but these tactics seem to create more frustration than results.

The question is, how do you boost employee productivity without turning your team against you?

Fortunately, it’s easier than you think. In this article, we’ll tell you what employee productivity is, why it matters, and how to improve it in your team. Let’s jump in!

What is employee productivity?

Employee productivity, also known as workforce productivity, is a measure of how much work (output) your employees produce within a specific time frame. Ideally, you’d want your team to get more work done in less time without sacrificing quality.

For example, let’s say your team normally sells a certain number of houses per week. That’s the baseline measure for production. If they sell more houses than the baseline weekly, their productivity has increased. If, on the other hand, they sell less, their productivity has decreased.

But there’s a little more to it than that.

A worker can be productive but not effective.

For example, a worker may manufacture numerous doohickeys in a given timeframe, making them highly productive. But if most of those doohickeys fail inspection or are generally considered low quality, then that worker isn’t effective. After all, the public doesn’t want to buy poor-quality goods.

So when you measure employee performance, you want to examine not only the output’s speed and quantity but also its quality.

Why is employee productivity important?

A business’s success depends on how productive its employees are. Not only do productive employees make businesses more profitable, but they also improve customer service, workplace relationships, and employee engagement.

Also, the more productive your workers are, the more likely they are to stay. And the longer you keep your employees, the better your company’s reputation becomes. It really is a virtuous circle.

What factors impact employee productivity?

Many factors impact employee productivity. Here are a few of the major ones:

Employee health and wellness

Ever wondered why it’s crucial for your team to strike a healthy work-life balance?

Well, when your employees are stressed out, the stress reduces their focus and increases the chance that they’ll slip up. Not exactly ideal, right?

A stressed out team

According to the American Institute of Stress, a staggering 62% of American workers experience high levels of stress accompanied by extreme fatigue or a sense of being out of control.

The main stressors employees report are workload (41%), people issues (32%), the struggle to balance their work and personal lives (18%), and job security concerns (9%). Stress that continues to skyrocket can lead to burnout.

Burnt-out employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day and 23% more likely to end up in the emergency room. Not only does this put a dent in productivity, but it also costs your business a pretty penny.

Skills, knowledge, and training

In the realm of productivity, high performers shine as beacons of success — often outperforming their average counterparts by up to eight times. But there’s more to the story than just hard skills. Soft skills matter, too.

Say you’ve got a rockstar employee with loads of experience in their field. They’re a whiz at what they do, but here’s the kicker: if they can’t communicate and get along with their teammates, their own output suffers, and the team’s effectiveness takes a nosedive as a result.

And let’s not forget about the potential of new hires, either.

It takes three to five months for new employees to be fully productive. However, a well-crafted onboarding process can speed up their integration, catapulting their productivity by over 70%. It’s an investment that pays off handsomely.

But none of that matters if you don’t keep your employees’ skills up to date. The world is constantly changing, so continuous training is needed to ensure a steady stream of productivity.

Workflows and processes

Are your employees spending more time figuring out how to do their jobs than actually doing them? Do they struggle to access critical documentation and find the information they need?

The inability to locate what they require can slow them down or prevent them from effectively completing their tasks.

What about your workflows? Are they fragmented or disjointed? Are you juggling multiple tools that don’t integrate seamlessly?

Streamlining your workflows using an all-in-one tool like Motion can save your employees a significant amount of time and boost productivity.

Think of Motion as your one-stop shop for documentation, project management, task tracking, and scheduling. It empowers you to prioritize tasks effectively, ensuring your team always focuses on what matters most.

And with its AI-powered algorithms, those repetitive but necessary low-value tasks become a thing of the past.

Workflow and processes

In fact, Motion users finish their work two hours faster every day!

Work environment

Did you know that organizations that see their employees as individuals rather than mere resources have 3.8x more high performers?

Not only that, but these employees are also 3.2x more likely to stay with the company and experience 3.1x less fatigue. So treat your employees like the valuable individuals they are and reap the rewards.

Physical workstations contribute to productivity levels, too. Here are just a few examples:

  • Lighting: Is your office, warehouse, or indoor worksite properly lit? Natural light is optimal, but if that’s not possible, ensure your lighting is neither too dim nor too bright.
  • Furniture: Is the furniture comfortable for extended periods of use? Pay special attention to ergonomics.
  • Temperature: Don’t overlook the impact of temperature on productivity. Strive for an environment that’s not too cold or warm to foster focus and help keep distractions at bay.

Ideally, your workplace should be a haven — a safe, healthy, distraction-free zone. By valuing your employees as individuals and optimizing their physical workstations, you can create an atmosphere primed for productivity and success.

How do you measure employee productivity?

You can’t keep track of your team’s productivity without measuring it. Here’s how you can do that:

Measure your goals and objectives

To measure your company goals and objectives, you have to set them first. They can be short-term or long-term, but it’s always a good idea to make them SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

Measure your team’s progress against the goals you’ve set. One way of doing that is to measure the percentage of goals that have been met.

For example, let’s say your goal is to qualify 10 new leads per week. If a member of your team qualifies only five new leads, 50% of the goal was met. If another member qualifies 15, that’s 150% of the goal met (and that’s a very productive employee — hold onto them!).

For more information on how to set business goals, check out “The Ultimate Guide to Setting Professional Goals in 2023.”

Measure the quantity of work

Another way to determine worker productivity is to measure how much work your team has completed in a specific period. For example, the number of rubber ducks produced in a month or the number of words written per week.

But beware — just because someone completes a lot of tasks within a certain time frame doesn’t mean their work is up to scratch. Similarly, an individual employee may not complete as many tasks as someone else, but their work may be of higher quality. Which brings us to…

Measure the quality of work

When gauging the productivity of your team, it’s also important to assess the quality of their work.

They may do all their tasks on time, but if the quality of their work is poor, they’re productive but not effective.

Quality control

‎While deadlines are important, sometimes it’s worth taking extra time to ensure that the work your team produces is up to standard.

How can employers improve employee productivity?

Employee productivity can always be improved. Here are just a few ways to get you started:

Provide ongoing training

The business landscape is constantly evolving — and with it, the skills required for success.

For instance, did you know that an estimated 85% of the jobs that’ll exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet? McKinsey also projects that between 75 and 375 million people worldwide may need to learn new skills or transition to different occupations as their current jobs become obsolete.

It’s crucial to prioritize ongoing training and development for your employees, as this will help you future-proof your business.

Identify the skills your business needs versus the skills your team members currently have. Do you spot a discrepancy? If so, rectify it as soon as you can. This includes time management skills, which play a vital role in preparing your business for the challenges ahead.

Set clear expectations

Imagine going to a restaurant that doesn’t provide menus. Not even at the counter. You know they sell pizza, but you have no idea what types of pizza they sell, how big the slices are, or what they cost. And when you ask the server, all they do is shrug.

That’s what it’s like for your team if you don’t set clear expectations for them. They’ll end up guessing what you want and think they’re hitting performance targets when they’re actually way off the mark. And when you tell them that, they’ll be confused, outraged, and even resentful!

Communicate your standards and deadlines to your team and what level of performance you expect. Make sure those standards are realistic, too, and regularly provide feedback.

Use the SMART method to determine employee goals and objectives and set your benchmarks. When everyone is clear on what needs to be done and how to do it, productivity levels will rise.

Improve team communication

Effective communication is the cornerstone of productivity for both employees and businesses. That’s because it delivers:

  • Clear expectations: It enables business leaders to set clear expectations regarding roles, responsibilities, and company goals.
  • Less confusion: It removes confusion by facilitating quick and efficient answers to questions.
  • Timely feedback: It enables teams to improve and adjust their performance promptly.
  • Enhanced collaboration: It fosters better team collaboration, which can impact key performance indicators (KPIs) and objectives and key results (OKRs).
  • Healthy workplace: It leads to a healthy work environment that, through effective communication, encourages talented employees to stay, resulting in significant cost savings. On average, businesses save up to $4,700 per new employee hired.

‎Using a platform like Motion can make it easier for your team to communicate and collaborate effectively.

Improve workplace conditions

The workplace encompasses both a physical environment and company culture.

And since employees spend nearly a third of their lives at work, it’s important to provide them with a pleasant environment that fosters productivity.

Workplace culture is equally significant — nearly a quarter of employees dread going to work, don’t feel safe voicing their opinions about work-related issues, and don’t feel respected and valued at work.

As a result, nearly one-fifth of employees have left their jobs due to culture alone.

Ensure that your company is a welcoming place where everyone can offer their opinions and be heard and respected by not just their bosses but also their colleagues. When employees feel like they matter, they’re more likely to be productive.

Provide team members with the right tools to do their work

The right tools can supercharge your team’s productivity.

For example, Motion simplifies the following areas of productivity:

  • Project management: Collaborate seamlessly with a centralized platform where tasks can be assigned, checklists created, and real-time communication facilitated through mentions and comments.
  • Task management: Prioritize and meet deadlines effectively by ensuring that the most important tasks take precedence over the less important ones. Motion automatically adjusts your schedule to accommodate changes in priorities, removing the need for manual adjustments.
  • Scheduling: Keep track of all tasks and meetings effortlessly. Motion automatically adds all tasks and meetings to individual and team calendars.

Take your team’s productivity to a higher dimension

As an employer, you set the tone for employee productivity.

Is your workplace safe, clean, and somewhere your team feels comfortable working? Are you documenting your processes and measuring your output? Do your employees feel heard, respected, and valued?

And don’t forget to use the right tools! Motion takes the “manual” out of manual planning with its intuitive AI-powered algorithms, so you can be more productive than ever before.

Take your team’s productivity to a higher dimension with a 7-day free trial of Motion.

Motion Blog
Written by Motion Blog