As you will probably know, productivity in the UK is at its worst rate for years, and there are no clear signs that things are going to improve in the future. There are plenty of theories as to why – lack of investment in a business, indebted companies surviving way past their sell-by date, for example – but ultimately, it’s a big problem for everyone.
Sure, productivity regarding economics is a different kettle of fish to the productivity you expect in your workplace. But many bosses all over the country are likely wondering how they can get that little bit extra out of their employees – and with excellent reason.
However, in the vast majority of cases, it’s often the bosses of companies, big and small, that are actually the problem. So, if any of the following issues appear to arise in your business, perhaps you need to think a little more carefully about how you are operating – because your company’s productivity problem could well be down to you.
People can only work as much as they are allowed. And if your business has lots of bottlenecks – quality checks, supervision, and approvals, for example – there’s a good chance you are wasting a lot of time. If you find yourself needing to approve every Tweet your company sends or letter it sends off in the post, you are going to find you are imposing unnecessary delays on almost every worker. Instead, start hiring competent, experienced staff members who you can trust to do the job properly. Delegate tasks, don’t micromanage them. It won’t be long before you notice things in your company running a lot smoother than they did before.
Are you expressing your ideas, aims, and vision well enough to your employees? If not, you won’t be getting the levels of performance you expect and need. You need to be able to lay out your expectations in a clear, concise and easily understood manner if you want your employees to be at their best. To find out if your staff are on board with your vision , ask them what their expectations are by the end of the financial year. If they match yours, then you are in a good place – if not, you need to work on your communication.
Do you find yourself running around like a headless chicken, always putting out fires and dealing with issues? If so, guess what? Your employees are likely to be in a similar constant state of panic, too – which isn’t good for productivity. Get your ship in order by delegating responsibility , using automation tool and planning ahead more vigorously. You’ll find that your employees are happier, more confident, and more productive pretty quickly.
Aggressive sickness policy
Do you come down on employees like a ton of bricks every time they take a day off sick? Does your company demand letters for the doctor as proof for every day they are absent? If so, it’s time for a rethink. When people are sick, they are sick – and making them visit the doctors is only going to make them worse. Putting pressure on them to come can open up the entire office at risk of infection, too, so that could have a huge impact on your productivity. Instead, try a lighter touch, and invest in some kind of absence management software . This way, you can keep track of everyone’s sick days without making them feel guilty, while still being able to maintain tabs on those that might be shirking.
Running a dictatorship
Fear, pressure, and anxiety – ask yourself, are these conditions where you are at your best? Unless you are a masochist, it’s highly unlikely. And you had better believe your employees feel just the same. If the climate of your workplace is toxic and negative, you will see your productivity levels nosedive. Happy, contented staff who are supported in facing their challenges will always lead to a productive environment. It encourages creativity, too – people won’t be afraid to put forward bright new ideas.
Saving on training
Finally, employee training can be expensive. But if you do it right, you should get a huge return on your investment. It’s such a straightforward and obvious point, but people who are educated to do their jobs to a higher standard do their work to a higher standard. So, if you are cutting corners to save money in the short-term, don’t target your training programs. It will come and bite you in the rear at some point in the future, as well as demotivate your employees .