All businesses and good managers are continually seeking ways to increase productivity across the office, store or organization. Discover some ways to broaden your communication skills, improve your employee relationships and increase productivity throughout your workplace with these 13 simple tips.
1- Develop personal relationships.
You don’t have to invade an employee’s privacy to show that you care. Pay attention to employee life events and milestones. Take the time to chat during breaks. Small gestures like congratulating an employee on their child’s graduation or expressing condolences on the passing of a family member or pet will be remembered. Employees that feel you care will work harder to return the gesture for a boss they value.
2- Learn about your employees.
Learn about your employees’ backgrounds. Don’t stop learning at birthdays and new babies. Explore your employees’ backgrounds, such as internships and degrees, for untapped skills. It’s far more productive to use the tools you have in-house than to hire outside help and spend time in training, if you already have what is needed.
3- Lead by example.
Model the change you want to see in your business by being an example for your employees. If you want people to work hard for a deadline, don’t take the afternoon off to go golfing while they toil away. If you expect product without errors, make sure every item you deliver personally is error free. Not only will you become more productive, you’ll also produce better quality customer and client experiences.
4- Stop “Passing it on.”
Getting management approvals can be a huge bottleneck. Often an item will get passed around and around at the management stage, delaying the final deliverable project. Make your word the final say in the approval process instead of passing it on to the next person.
5- Employees aren’t just inventory
Employees are people as well, not simply assets on paper. While the business does come down to numbers, these numbers have thoughts, needs and feelings. Remember to learn about and embrace your coworkers as discussed above, or you may start running out of inventory.
6- Provide the tools to do the job
Give employees the right equipment, and repair items that malfunction. This sounds simple, but it can be surprising how much difference an ergonomic keyboard and comfortable chair can make. And don’t forget software; you’ll want to be sure you purchase the licenses you need instead of asking employees to bootstrap trial versions.
7- Don’t forget the tools to be productive.
Productivity tools and techniques can come in handy in any home or office. Check out tools such as white noise apps and productivity timers to get the most out of your work day. Test out different techniques and see what works best for you.
8- Encourage questions.
Encourage questions. Feeling free to ask questions can prevent your employees from making costly assumptions that can waste time and energy for everyone. Provide specific and simple clarifications, and use examples when possible.
9- Learn to listen.
When communicating with employees, learn to listen–not just skim and nod. Provide detailed replies that indicate active listening so you can gain vital information and insight as well as making your employees feel valued.
10- Understand that even a small win matters.
Celebrate victories, no matter how small. Sometimes it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel on a large project. Celebrate successful milestones and great reviews along the way. Not only does this improve morale and productivity, but it also provides needed recognition and feedback.
11- Small incentives can mean a lot.
To you, it may be a crappy umbrella, but to the employee who just finished 72 spreadsheet bug checks a day before the deadline, it’s recognition of a job well done. Research shows that praise and recognition increase productivity, as well as employee loyalty, yet this technique is highly underutilized in most companies.
12- All employees are equal–no employee is more equal than others.
Not one employee is more valuable than the others, unless your goal is to recreate Animal Farm. While it’s true that different employees will have differing skill sets and responsibilities, an effective team relies on each member to do a stellar job. Devaluing one stage of that job can quickly lead to project failure and employee resentment.
13- Train, train and then train some more.
You didn’t begin riding a bike without training wheels. It takes practice and patience to perfect the technique of balancing forward momentum without tipping over sideways. Your employees also will not learn a skill on their first attempt. Provide opportunities to practice and train, allowing your staff to perfect their skills and streamline techniques.