Jun 11, 2015
Want Productive Employees? Engage Them
Rachel Levy Sarfin explains how employers can engage with their employees to help them stay productive.
Every employer wants higher levels of productive employees. High productivity means that workers are producing the most number of units per hour, and the company is earning more money.
While high levels of productivity are on every manager’s wish list, that goal can be difficult to achieve. Many supervisors fall prey to the myths circulating about how to increase productivity. They mistakenly believe that the more meetings they hold, the more productive employees will be. Or, they encourage subordinates to work as hard as possible to achieve organizational goals.
Those myths do more harm than good. Meetings actually prevent employees from getting things done, because they are too busy sitting in a meeting to finish their work. And pushing workers to increase their output might lead to the most number of units per hour, but it also causes them to be burnt out.
So, what can businesses do to increase productivity? They must engage employeesand improve their morale so that their workers want to contribute to the company’s success. This raises the question, “How does a firm engage its employees?”
Business leaders need to understand that employee engagement is a process. It is not a one-time action; rather, engaging employees takes time and effort, and it is continuous. When you stop engaging employees, they lose their motivation and become unproductive.
With that in mind, employers need to start the employee engagement process when they hire workers. Engaged employees aren’t born – they’re influenced by the way the organization treats them. However, there is a higher likelihood of engaging employees when they are a fit for the position as well as the corporate culture. The term “corporate culture” is not an empty buzzword. Corporate culture is the sum of the beliefs, attitudes and values which characterize a firm and guide its actions. Businesses need to choose employees who reflect its principles.
The next step in the employee engagement process is allowing for a free and open flow of communication between management and employees. Workers need to understand what you expect of them, and they should be able to tell you when there are problems on the ground or changes must be made.
Managers must also establish a set of benchmarks. Benchmarks serve as the standard to which employees should hold themselves. If they don’t live up to those standards, the answer is not to fire workers immediately. Rather, managers should coach them until they meet the benchmarks. When employees do meet or exceed standards, they should be rewarded. Benchmarks and rewards should be clear and reasonable.
Consistency and keeping your promises are two important components of employee engagement. Workers need to feel as though they can trust management. Managers demonstrate trust by behaving in a consistent manner and following through with what they said they’ll do. And when employees trust managers, they’re more committed to the company and to fulfilling organizational goals. That’s a win-win situation for all involved.