By Michael Gunther
As originally published in The Tolosa Press
Let’s face it: some days it’s hard for employees to be productive. This is true even in the best of times. Their coworker just got engaged, they had a fight with their significant other, someone in their family lost their job, or maybe they just can’t find the motivation to start (or finish) a project.
Add with the stress of wondering whether the company they work for is financially stable, if they are next on the chopping block, or if their benefits and payroll will be decreased it’s not hard to see why this Great Recession is taking a toll on workplace productivity.
So, how can businesses maintain productivity? The best place to start is with manager and employee relationships followed by a little inspiration and a lot of communication. Next thing you know, you’ll see productivity on the rise.
Build Positive Relationships. As stated by Marcus Buckingham in First, Break all the Rules, one of the key factors behind productive work environments is the manager/employee relationship. Managers who recognize and praise employees for their good work, every seven days at a minimum, create much more productive work environments. Now, think back to the last time you recognized each of your employees. If it’s been more than seven days (and statistics show that it probably has), put down this article and go praise them for their good work.
Inspire. The other role you have as a business leader is to inspire, and with inspiration comes innovation.
While it’s common knowledge that more millionaires were made during The Great Depression than at any other time in history, it’s not so common to reflect on the reason behind those gains: innovation. The Great Depression millionaires weren’t focusing on their own woes or the negative possibilities – they were focusing on innovation and creating positive solutions.
One way to create inspiration in the workplace is to bring in guest speakers: a money manager, a creative facilitator, a finance manager, an expert on health and wellness. You’ll not only be addressing your employees’ concerns that are distracting them from working productively, you’ll be helping promote other professionals in your community. Now that is innovation!
Communicate. Communication is a skill that has faded in some of our organizations. But as we know, people tend to assume the worst, and that includes our employees. As business owners and managers, it is up to us to step out of our comfort zone and communicate the happenings of our business: the good, the bad, and the ugly, and then focus on what the company is doing to get out of the bad and the ugly. Focus on innovation and inspiration to transition from stress mode to productivity mode.
In the early 1990’s, the business model shifted from “don’t tell them about the bad news” to one that created support groups for employees. And that’s because people return to productive levels more quickly if they can talk about what’s going on.
One way to communicate to employees is to provide ongoing, consistently scheduled updates that inform employees on the status of business and its initiatives. Another option is to determine key measures such as sales goals or target clients and report consistently on the achievement of these measurements.
Bottom line: Have the employees become part of the solution. The more employees understand the business and their role in making business happen, the more likely you will see increased productivity. And remember to celebrate the successes, even the small ones!