Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Increasing employee morale and productivity in our current economy

Tips for keeping employees productive-

·         Lead by example.  How many of us have seen the movies where the executives play golf and games all day instead of work? And often that is how we feel our managers act.  If managers, supervisors, executives are held to the same level of accountability for their work and lead by example, this alone will begin to increase employee productivity and will essentially wipe away resentment of “higher ups” which is what causes a decrease in productivity when they are not around.

·         Create a “fun” environment.  Life is too short to hate going to your job everyday and creating a fun environment will lead to happier employees which leads to increase productivity.  This can be done through simple things such as, having “Beer Friday,” changing the arrangement of your office to be more creative with couches and tables rather than desks and cubicles, bringing in games (Foosball, Nintendo Wii, Pool, Air Hockey, etc.) and let your employees use them (managers must start this!), allow employees to work from home (it has been proven that employees are happier and 10-15% more efficient when they work from home),  have a relaxed time off policy/personal time policy and TRUST your employees that they can handle that responsibility (encourages trust, better work/life balance).  You will find by allowing these creative spaces, fun activities, trust your employees to get their work done on their schedule you will see a HUGE increase in productivity and if employees enjoy coming to work you will see a decrease in “sick” days and not many people will want to work from home because work is fun.

·         “We” is better than “I.” This is a simple one- life and work is always more fun when you can share the experience with at least one other person.  Teams have many benefits besides adding to the enjoyment of work (why do you think police have partners?).  Teams have less mistakes because they can double check each other’s work, they are more efficient and get the same amount of work done in a shorter period of time, they are more creative because they can bounce ideas off of one another.  Teams are simply more fun and more efficient than going at a project by yourself.  This can also become the mentality where, when a team finishes their work they will offer to go help another team finish their project early too.

·         Reward extra effort. Have a “Comp Time” policy that states when an employee works over 40 hours they get that extra time either in overtime pay (time and a half) or they get that extra time in vacation hours!  If they worked hard and extra that means they made a sacrifice for the company, the company should take care of them likewise.

·         Reward efficiency. This is simple- If employees work hard they should be rewarded.  Have a policy that you stay till the job is done, this enables efficient employees to get their work done faster and leave early or take Friday off.  It will also make it more palatable when they need to stay and work with their team to meet a project deadline.

·         Trust your employees.  Employees who do not feel trusted do not work as hard as they could.  Employees should not need to be “watched” over- this creates an unhealthy environment for both the manager and the worker.  Give them a realistic deadline, be available for questions, and let them work.

·         Surprise your employees.  You would be amazed at what a little reward or surprise can do to your company morale and thus on your employees productivity.  Some things you can do- have a morale day and go do something, surprise your team or company with a full day off (maybe a Monday or Friday? And NOT taken from their vacation days!!), do a random drawing (once a week, month, quarter) for a nice $50-100 gift card to somewhere, or you can simply let everyone off early one day.

·         Nap Time. Europe got this one right! Have you ever heard of a siesta? Dr. John Medina, a developmental molecular biologists, has found that we, as humans, are programmed for a nap! If you take a nap between 2-4 pm, of approximately 45minutes, you will be approximately 33% more productive the rest of your day! Remember preschool when you used to hate naps in the afternoon? Well, as adults we are supposed to continue that and a simple rest in the middle of the day will refresh you and make you about 33% more productive in the rest of your day (work, home, kids, family, sports, gym, etc).  The benefits of this are both work and health related.


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  2. Fantastic advice! I've had previous employers follow some of these pointers, and it was definitely a great choice. Our office was always hard working, yet having a great time together. I loved that job.

    Now that I'm onto my own company, you'd better believe all of my staff will be seeing some of these "perks" on the regular - though I would much rather call this behavior from the top down, "the norm." :)