We’re all familiar with Spider-Man’s famous catchphrase: “With great power comes great responsibility.” However, his words no longer apply exclusively to the man who does whatever a spider can.
With companies seeing a 13% increase in employee productivity when the people are happy, managers are discovering that they play a big part in that boost. So what can be done to improve your business environment and the productivity of the staff?
Here are 7 Management Hacks you’ll need when you’re ready to be the office hero.
1. Communication With Employees
Every company has a vision (to change the world) - the purpose of its existence. When you take it for granted that every single employee understands the manifesto or worse that you don't have a written one, there is a possibility for low employee productivity.
Take the time to explain why you’re assigning a particular task to an employee. It helps to build trust with that person, and they'll also have a better understanding for the necessity of their work.
In one of their articles, Career Partners International stresses the effects of good vs. bad communication:
“Effective communication leads everyone to be on the same page; moving in the same direction toward the same goal. Poor communication creates havoc that can lead to higher turnover, apathy in the ranks and poor customer service.”
It’s never too late to open the door and communicate with your employees. The trusted relationship you build will help to increase not only employee productivity but also team morale.
2. Don’t Just Be a Boss, Be a Leader
A lot of managers believe that once they’ve reached their level of success, they no longer need to get their hands dirty.
A good leader is the one who willingly steps in and helps out his staff in a time of crisis, whether it’s to run a cash register when the line of shoppers is getting long or to stay later at work supporting the prep team before the conference of the year.
Employees like to see the willingness of a leader to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Once you prove your readiness, you’ll find loyalty.
LifeHack.org described the significant difference between a boss and a leader:
“A boss gives the task to someone who is a leader, while a leader does the task with the team.”
Don't worry about your employees not respecting your higher rank. It’s possible to have someone respect and be loyal to you at the same time. You just have to be willing to get your hands a little dirty.
3. Listen to Employee Input
According to a study mentioned in the Business News Daily, the number one reason employees don’t take the initiative at work is due to that they don’t feel like their ideas are listened to. Likewise, 65% of the workers in the study said that their leaders were making decisions without first considering their input. The fact that staff opinion didn’t count was “the biggest problem” in the workplace.
[ctt template="2" link="QDv95" via="no"] As a leader, you should be aware that listening to your team can help boost employee productivity and create a positive mood in the office.[/ctt]
I recently spoke to an employee at Apple who has worked as an expert for the company for some time and one of the things he liked most about the company was its “open-mindedness and willingness to take feedback.”
Your employees are going to feel more involved and happier if they feel like their ideas matter, and, even better, are considered essential. Who better to inform you of problems that might be happening in the business than the very people working on the sidelines?
When I worked as a customer service manager for a math tutoring company, the general manager made a point to always set aside time in meetings to hear our feedback and opinions. Later he said, “I think you have to listen to employees. They know a lot that you don’t know. And for them to listen to you, you have to listen to them and be willing to change your mind.”
The bottom line here is to keep a mutual respect and engagement. If you want your employees to care, they need to feel like they invest in the business through contributing ideas to which you are willing to listen.
4. Encourage Employee Participation
As in a famous quote of Wayne D. Dosick, Professor of Jewish Studies:
“It’s the same in the office, the lab, the factory. Employees and coworkers are more productive, more loyal - satisfied and happy - when they are treated fairly, decently, and with dignity than when they are used and taken for granted when they feel like no more than a tiny cog in a giant corporate wheel.”
It's important to let employees participate in decision making. CBS Money Watch concluded in a survey that 29% of employees are driven by doing something meaningful when it comes to what motivates them at work.
One of the best entrepreneurs I’ve ever had the privilege of working with said, “when people are working for something they believe in they will wake up early and stay late for little more than a “thank you” and the satisfaction of knowing that they contributed to the cause.”
By telling your employees about the reason behind the work and involve them in laying out the action plan, you are essentially handing them the tools to increase employee productivity. People will work harder and more responsible when they execute the work they have helped planning.
5. Recognise Achievements and Hard Work
Even though I’ve haven’t met every person on the planet, I think it’s safe to say that every single one of us enjoys being recognised for our hard work.
Your employees are not different!
Morgan McKinley mentions the same exact point in their article saying, “parties, small gifts, anything that celebrates a milestone will cement good feelings”. Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS proclaimed, “Treat employees like they make a difference and they will.” Furthermore, Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program claimed that “Employees who report feeling valued by their employer are 60% more likely to report they are motivated to do their very best for their employer.”
I guess that's enough to prompt you. And if you need some ideas, here is a list:
- Remember an employee's birthday
- Give flowers to celebrate newborns
- Offer sincere condolences for losses in an employee's family
- Extra days off to compensate late hours or weekend work
- A public "Thank You" for outstanding contributions
- A personal note if someone goes the extra mile
So go ahead and order that birthday cake for your receptionist. It might sound like a mundane task, but in the long run, it’s going to make a difference. When your employees see that you care, they will care too.
6. Offer Health Incentives at Work
Speaking of cake, let’s discuss health incentives at work and why they matter!
Here is a conclusion from a study done by the Health Enhancement Research Organization:
[ctt template="2" link="QDv95" via="no" ] “Workers who ate healthy meals and exercised on a regular basis had better job performance and lower absenteeism.”[/ctt]
Google is well known for being one of the top “fun” companies to work for. Did you know part of that fun comes from the fact that they provide a broad array of healthy snack options? They feel it’s important to promote healthy eating choices for their employees because they understand the value it adds to employee productivity.
So investing in your employees’ health! Here are some ideas:
- Provide seasonal fruits in the breakroom
- Propose a workout incentive that works for the whole office
- Encourage taking small breaks when employees can walk around
- Organise healthy lunch once a week in the office
- Offer to pay a part of their gym memberships or passes to a nearby swimming pool
One way or another, you enable your employees to have a healthier life and increase the productivity in the office.
7. Create a Wholesome Environment
Last but not least, you need to consider the working environment in the office.
More and more people are coming to expect an enriched, wholesome work environment. Employees opt for surroundings and culture that not only help to develop their skills as a professional but also offer exciting opportunities for personal development and self-growth.
Here is a conclusion from a Fast Company’s Work Smart article:
“Today, the companies with the happiest, most engaged employees boast cultures that are fun and enjoyable but still encourage good work ethics.”
If you’re not willing to make such a corporate culture available to your hires, other companies will.
Facebook has become quite the contender for such an environment. I recently interviewed Zach Wilson, a Data Engineer at Facebook. After a little less than a year working for Facebook, he had nothing but praise for his employer. “Facebook treats me really well. I have weekly meetings with my boss discussing my career goals and how Facebook can help me reach them. That's by far the number 1 motivator for me.” He also goes on to say that the way Facebook cares about him definitely makes him want to contribute everything he can to the company engineering wise.
"I put in overtime hours willingly because I believe in their mission of making the world more open and connected” - Zach Wilson, Data Engineer at Facebook.
Facebook has more than one hard-working employee, they also have a built-in ambassador. Zach has already referred four other people to Facebook and will continue to do so during his time there. A perfect way for Facebook to keep growing.
Here is another insight from the Fast Company article above:
“If you can build a culture that attracts job seekers who already love your company and then sustains and deepens their passion once they’re on board, they’ll bring in more people just like them. That’s why a powerful work culture is such an important long-term investment.”
Listen to what else Jim Goodnight had to say about his employees: “95 percent of my assets drive out the gate every evening. It’s my job to maintain a work environment that keeps those people coming back every morning.”
At the end of the day, increasing employee productivity seems like a big feat, but nothing worth having comes easy! With the right hacks at your disposal, I believe you will be able to get on the right track. And luckily for you, you don’t need to have been bitten by a radioactive spider to make it happen.