Looking for the secret to business success? While there may not be a magic pill, productivity comes pretty close. Studies show that companies with highly engaged, productive employees are 21% more profitable. They also have better retention, more customer satisfaction and exceptional health outcomes. In other words…
Productivity is paramount for businesses of all types and sizes. So what can a business do to improve its productivity and how do you know if you’re approaching it right? This article explores 10 strategies for improving business productivity and fostering success.
What is business productivity — and why is it important?
Business productivity measures how much a company can create (output) compared to how many resources it takes (input). The less time, technology and team members required for each task, the higher your level of productivity will be. It’s why productivity is frequently viewed as a key driver of success, and why so many organizations are working toward creating a culture where productivity can flourish.
Here are 10 ways to do just that.
1. Determine the need for increased productivity
Before you can take steps to increase employee productivity, you’ll need to assess where things stand today. Are you supporting employees with efficient workflows? Or do people waste time on productivity killers like unnecessary meetings and lengthy email threads?
Start by measuring productivity to get answers to these questions and others like them. You can then set goals accordingly.
2. Establish clear goals and objectives
Once you confirm the need for productivity improvement, detailed goals should be set for individual departments, teams and employees. These should not only be ambitious and challenging but also clearly articulated and understood by all parties. Set deadlines for achieving targets and regularly monitor performance metrics to ensure progress is being made. By setting clear objectives based on employee motivations, businesses will be well-positioned to maximize productivity.
In addition, it’s important to ensure goals are realistic and achievable. Setting overly ambitious goals can be counterproductive and lead to frustration. Instead, look for ways to achieve small wins along the way. Making daily progress on meaningful work is a huge motivator for employees. In fact, one study found it to be more important than incentives. By taking a proactive approach to goal setting, businesses can ensure employees stay motivated and engaged.
3. Set and monitor performance standards
To set the stage for productivity success, organizations must establish clear performance standards. That means giving team leaders the authority to make decisions and implement relevant changes, and holding individual staff accountable for their work. When bottlenecks or weaknesses surface, address them in a timely manner.
The best way to monitor performance? Conduct regular reviews to ensure standards are being met and identify opportunities for improvement. In addition to providing feedback and helping employees reach their goals, look for ways to recognize and reward those who consistently meet or exceed performance standards.
4. Improve employee efficiency
One of the best ways to improve business productivity is to increase employee efficiency. Provide staff with the management tools and resources they need to complete tasks as quickly and seamlessly as possible while offering support as needed. You can take this one step further by creating clear job descriptions and detailed instructions to help team members refine their talents, develop new skills and become more productive.
5. Identify and eliminate waste
Part of improving productivity is eliminating wasteful activities that slow down workflows. By removing unnecessary steps and streamlining processes, you can reduce the number of resources spent on non-value-added activities and instead focus on generating more productive results.
When identifying sources of waste, it’s important to consider the entire process from start to finish. Have the project’s goals been clearly defined? Are team members able to devote blocks of time to deep work? Or are they getting distracted by multitasking and context switching?
Once you identify activities that are not adding value, take steps to eliminate them.
6. Invest in better technology
In today’s digital environment, workforce analytics technology is key for business productivity. Why? Because it equips you with important insights — ones that make it easy to track results, optimize performance and uncover new opportunities.
Investing in the right technology solutions also helps reduce operational costs while boosting productivity. Evaluate your current tech stack to see if those collaboration tools are helping or if it’s time to cancel unused software subscriptions.
7. Streamline with automation
If you’re not already automating manual tasks and simplifying complex processes, now’s the time. Putting mundane tasks on autopilot is another critical step toward boosting productivity. This one step can free employees to focus on more innovative projects and help reduce the risk of manual errors.
When automating workflows, be sure any new technology integrates seamlessly into your existing systems. And provide employees with the necessary training to ensure they’re able to use the automated systems effectively. By taking these steps, you can maximize the benefits of automation while minimizing any potential risks.
8. Encourage collaboration and teamwork
The most successful businesses encourage collaboration and teamwork on a regular basis. By enabling employees to work together on various tasks, companies can boost morale, build trust and take advantage of collective knowledge to solve problems more quickly. When the workplace is harmonious, engagement goes up and productivity increases.
9. Develop a culture of continuous improvement
Businesses should strive to foster a corporate culture that emphasizes ongoing learning and continuous improvement. Provide training sessions on a regular basis, ask for constructive feedback and always be on the lookout for new ways to increase productivity. Regular performance evaluations will also allow employers to assess individual progress and provide guidance where necessary.
10. Evaluate results and measure progress
Last but not least, put a process in place to evaluate each of the strategies above. By regularly measuring performance metrics and employee feedback, you can quickly identify any gaps and keep operations running smoothly.
Ultimately, companies need to set meaningful goals, invest in appropriate technologies, encourage collaboration and monitor progress. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to more productivity and profits in no time.