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Different Ways to Increase Employee Productivity in 2021

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As companies evaluate fiscal ROI and strategically plan for future growth, employee engagement should be your top priority. Employers invariably focus their energy on improving employee performance, but what about employee productivity? These concepts may be related, but they are not the same.

Your workplace may be filled with happy, engaged employees who, while they love their jobs, are not very productive or hardworking. Interestingly, the reverse can also be true. Some work environments have productive employees with low morale who are not engaged at all. Smart employers strive for that golden combination: an engaged workforce that is also highly productive.

Business leaders committed to improving employee productivity don't necessarily have to approve large raises, offer lavish gifts or promise new incentives. There are, however, more practical and effective ways to generate greater productivity from your staff. It all starts with employee engagement. Disengaged employees are a burden to companies. Engaged employees show up more often, stay longer and are more productive overall.

According to a recent Gallup poll, only 34% of the U.S. workforce feels engaged. A related survey found that companies pay a high price for ignoring low employee productivity and an unhealthy corporate culture. Moreover, it's not just individual companies that are suffering. Actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. between $483 billion and $605 billion in lost productivity each year.

Five strategies to increase productivity:

Encourage learning opportunities

According to the findings of a study by the National Center for Education Statistics, perhaps the number one strategy for increasing employee productivity is to provide continuing education opportunities. The study found a direct correlation between employers providing access to continuing education and increased employee productivity. On the one hand, companies can offer internal cross-training and employee development. Conversely, companies can offer educational assistance to their employees to further their education by taking advantage of growing online learning opportunities.

For example, a company employee with a bachelor's degree might decide to pursue an online master's degree, such as the UO's Master of Business Administration offered in the university's adult markets of Kansas City, Phoenix and Milwaukee. The Master of Business Administration program provides real-world training and skills that can help graduates influence an organization's business strategy in a leadership or expert role. In addition, the Ottawa Business Administration program features leadership development as one of eight concentrations that can be chosen to enhance the degree and inspire graduates to take charge of increasing the productivity of their business.

Provide technology to employees

Employees who don't have the right tools to do their jobs are increasingly frustrated and less productive. The Gallup survey mentioned above found that less than half of U.S. employees believe their company provides them with the technology they need to effectively perform their role. The difficulty for companies to afford advanced technology and equipment is becoming less of an issue with the rise of cloud computing and mobile devices, which eliminate capital costs and allow quick access to information and data. Providing employees with the tools they need to succeed is a great first step to increasing employee productivity.

Focus on company culture

A company's culture is made up of several key elements, including the work environment, company vision, ethics and goals. Studies show that employee productivity increases in work environments that emphasize relationship building and reward teamwork, while companies that focus on hierarchies and individual achievement derail productivity. To achieve this, companies must first adapt their hiring practices, ensuring that new hires work well with others to energize and motivate current employees.

Strengthen communication protocols

Companies that lack open communication between managers and employees invite productivity problems into the workplace. Managers must be accessible to their employees and effectively communicate expectations and responsibilities. This approach to business management helps increase employee productivity because employees feel directly connected to the mission and goals of the organization. Ultimately, implementing effective communication protocols can promote efficiency and increase job satisfaction.

Identify and align goals with performance

Employees will be more productive if they are put in a position to aim for achievable goals. Setting goals helps employees become self-motivated and confident in their ability to succeed. Once goals are identified, employees can then be compelled to follow an established performance review system and take ownership of it. Setting goals that are meaningful to your company and your employees can lead to better performance and productivity. It can also encourage employees to collaborate and work as a team. Business leaders should regularly confer with their employees about their goals and personal progress, and offer rewards for a job well done.

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