Employee Engagement

13 Proven Ways To Boost Employee Productivity at Work in 2022

Amanda Cross

Table of Contents

Imagine what your organization could do if you increase your employee productivity by 25%. You don't have to hire more employees to make this vision a reality. All you need to do is optimize your current team members. It's important to realize that employees can't be 100% productive. Even employees who close the most deals or send the most emails have to take a break. Your goal is to help your employees work smarter, not harder, so you can accomplish more as a company.

What Is Employee Productivity?

Companies need to measure employee productivity to keep their business afloat.

Employee productivity measures the amount of work done by each employee during a given time. Depending on your organization, department, etc., your vision for productivity might be different. For example, sales teams have different goals than customer service teams.

Workplace productivity needs to be measured in terms of business impact. Busy work is not productivity. Employees should be able to get to a solution quickly without sacrificing their paycheck. Team members who have become adept at their job to find answers quickly save your team more time, sanity, and money than you think. Hold your experienced people closely and show your appreciation for them if you want to grow your organization.

13 Ways To Improve Employee Productivity

Now that you understand that employee performance is more than just busy work, it's time to understand what makes employees genuinely productive. How can you go beyond hours worked to find and build a truly effective team?

If you want to create a more productive workplace, let's chat about what that means:

1. Understand Where Your Team Currently Stands When It Comes To Productivity

Before you make any adjustments to productivity, measure your current productivity levels.

You will never understand if you have fixed your productivity issues without first having a basic understanding of the output your team is currently producing.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What was our financial quota for the last year? Did we meet those numbers?
  • Did we have any other business goals this year? Are we meeting the goals that we set?
  • Is there anyone who struggles to meet their SMART goals consistently? How can we help that person be more productive?

Once you do a deep dive into your financial and business goals, you should have a baseline of where your organization currently is. Then, as you utilize the productivity strategies in today's article, you can know how you are improving your organization.

2. Define What Productivity Means To Your Organization

Once you know where you've been, it's time to understand where you are going. Employees need to understand your company's SMART goals, KPIs, core values, and visions to be as productive as possible. If you want a workforce that goes beyond looking busy, focus on your company's purpose.

  • Why are your salespeople selling?
  • Why do your marketers market your organization?
  • Is there a purpose to your customer service professionals helping your customers?

These are the questions that your employees are asking as they go into work every day. If you can't provide a solid answer, employees will leave. We see this consistently in the record number of voluntary separations recorded by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics since August 2021.

Employees want to work diligently for companies that value them while working on a product or service that excites them. Does your company do enough to define what you are working towards?

If not, go back to the drawing board. Create a mission statement, define your company values, and get a clear understanding of the transformation your customers have when using your product or service. Once you know this information, share it with your team. Explain your work to define your organization and make sure this information is accessible to your employees long-term.

3. Create Specific Job Descriptions

Next, you need to ensure that your people feel like they have a good handle on the work they do for your organization. You can create this experience by reviewing employee job descriptions with your team:

  • What parts of the job description do they enjoy?
  • What would they choose to pass on if they could delegate any aspect of their job?
  • Is there anything they currently do that's not accurately represented in the job description?

Creating a job that your employees enjoy is a great way to improve employee productivity. If their ideal role makes sense for your organization, get them closer to the position that fits their needs.

On the other hand, if your employee has been given too many responsibilities, it will be challenging to work effectively. Company leaders need to know if someone's time is being fractured by extra work, so employees aren't punished for balancing too many responsibilities.

employee recognition software

4. Think About Productivity From The Top Down

Companies typically think about workplace productivity from a bottom-up approach. You might hear business leaders say, "What can we do to make our team members more productive?"

It's essential to flip the script on productivity because management has a massive impact on employees. In a recent study by The Predictive Index, 63% of employees with a bad manager were contemplating leaving their job in the next twelve months.

What does looking at productivity from a top-down approach look like?

  • Examining manager competence by understanding their team's goals and their ability to meet or exceed those goals.
  • Surveying team members to understand where their managers are failing or succeeding to help them grow.
  • Building and executing a plan to improve managerial productivity based on the feedback and information you receive.

When your managers are held accountable, employee morale is lifted, and your team steps up to the plate. As you make adjustments to improve workplace productivity, think about what everyone contributes to this issue.

5. Focus On Employee Health

One of the biggest causes of lost productivity is unplanned time off to handle employee or family sickness.

One of the easiest ways to focus on employee health is through proper health insurance that promotes preventative care appointments. Preventive care is easy for your team to manage and schedule in advance. Emergency room visits at the last minute are not.

"Now is the time to prioritize your employees' mental and physical health," shares Justin Nabity, founder and CEO of Physicians Thrive. "Implement a health-and-wellness program that gets them up and moving. You can organize virtual fitness classes or health education classes for your employees to learn more about improving their health."

Team wellness challenges can be a great way to gamify your company's focus on employee health. For example, Joaquín Roca, Co-Founder and CEO of Minerva, has a fantastic wellness initiative called a mindfulness hour. "Our employees can take this time to journal, meditate, or do whatever they have to do to clear their heads. By ensuring that our employees are in a stable headspace, they will feel well enough to get their work done efficiently and effectively."

Above all else, remember that your staff members are humans. "Employees go through stress, anxiety, and depression that impact their performance and productivity at work," states Kevin Mercer, founder of Kevmrc Travel. You can help your team by understanding their experiences and providing the right tools to help your team cope with these issues.

6. Utilizing Employee Recognition To Encourage Productivity

Have you ever thought about the power of recognition and what that can do to improve workplace productivity?

"I believe that there's a lot you can do as an employer to boost employee productivity, but team members may also help," shares Jonathan Svensson, Co-Founder at Almvest, "Employees may be more motivated to do their share to improve performance if productivity is rewarded."

If you want your team to get more done this year, start by creating a peer-to-peer recognition program. Peers can celebrate productive habits that company managers may overlook.

You can attach rewards to these recognition programs and create an experience your team adores.

Are you stuck on how to create a personalized, award-winning recognition strategy? Check out our in-depth post on recognition so you can learn how to rethink your recognition engine.

automate birthday shoutouts

7. Have Frequent 1:1s With Employees

When was the last time you connected with your team to check in on their projects or life? While 1:1s can feel like another unnecessary meeting, they are essential to keep goals moving forward.

Having a 1:1 with your direct report helps you catch issues like employee burnout, apathy, lack of direction, etc. When you can have a meaningful conversation with a team member, you can unearth what your team is feeling and create a plan to help your reports get back on track.

If you want to make the most out of 1:1 meetings, schedule something weekly with your people. If that's not feasible, try a mix of 1:1s with something asynchronous like a Loom video. Don't be mistaken, check-ins with your team don't haven't be lengthy. A quick ten-minute meeting can be valuable if your team is struggling.

8. Invest In The Right Tools, Technology, And People

Every department in your organization needs specific tools and technology to run efficiently. If you have seen a competitor overtake you in the market, they are likely streamlining their processes and using the right tools to be more productive.

"Employees who lack the necessary tools for the job become increasingly frustrated and less productive," states Shad Elia, the founder and CEO of a Massachusetts real estate investment firm.

If you are worried about affording technology, Bryan Carter, the founder and CEO of ResumeBuilderPro, adds. "With the growth of Cloud computing and mobile devices, which minimize capital expenditures and allow instant access to information and data, the dilemma of organizations being able to finance new technology and equipment is becoming less of a concern."

As you are investing in better tools, sit down with each department and discuss the following questions:

  • What tools would make their lives easier?
  • Can they share the results they can expect by investing in these tools?
  • When do they expect the results will be most visible?
  • Are there any discounts offered to make investing easier?
  • How many licenses does the team need to use the technology effectively?

Make sure that each team has a plan for adopting new technology and using it efficiently. Then, once you feel comfortable with the investment, spend the money, and track the benefits. 

9. Create A Task Delegation Procedure

Are your tasks slipping through the cracks? Delegation is a fantastic way to improve employee productivity, but it doesn't always go as planned. Productive companies have a task delegation procedure.

Here's a simple trick to make delegation more effective: don't assume a task has been delegated until you receive confirmation from the person handling the job.

When you follow this necessary rule, you save yourself a lot of missed deadlines, late assignments, and headaches.

10. Keep Tabs On Employee Engagement And Morale

Company morale and job satisfaction are essential for employers to keep tabs on. Are your staff members excited to go to work, or are they secretly looking for another opportunity? When your team has happier employees, they go to work and accomplish great things. Conversely, unhappy employees aren't productive, and they can actively push more employees to do the same.

One of the most important ways to keep tabs on employee engagement is by frequently surveying your employees.

One of the easiest surveys to deploy is a quarterly survey by Gallup called Q12. This survey asks employees a series of quick questions about their employee experience. Once the survey is complete, you should have a clear picture of where your employees stand regarding topics like having friends at work, progression talks, work expectations, and so much more.

Surveys give you a chance to see what's happening in the workplace and fix it before it gets too late. Don't let problems fester. Address problems before they become issues.

11. Offer Flexible Work Hours And Locations

Does your team need to work 9-5 to be productive?

Some of your team members are certified night owls, and others love waking up at the crack of dawn.

"Flexible work arrangements have helped drive employee productivity by giving employees more time to focus on what matters most," shares Jeremy Ellis, the co-founder and Chief Innovator of Launchpad CoWorking. "Employees can complete their tasks more efficiently without being constrained by a schedule."

Allowing employees to be flexible, where possible, can build a better work environment for your team members.

Set some boundaries around flexible work hours such as:

  • We have meetings during a specific time every week/month. All employees are expected to attend.
  • Our goal is to respect our customers, so all communication to customers must be scheduled during these specific hours.
  • Respect the unique work style of all of our employees. Don't expect an immediate response if you choose to work outside typical business hours. Schedule messages during standard business hours unless an employee has given you permission to connect outside of those hours.

Another thing companies must consider is work location. Do you need an office to be productive? Are you wasting valuable money funding a large office when many employees need more flexibility?

Take a cue from Dror Zaifman, Director Of Digital Marketing at iCASH, who has seen a lot of benefits from work from home arrangements, "Work from home policies have helped us cut back on a number of unnecessary costs, such as office space and utilities. This not only helps productivity because our employees can better manage their own schedules and time but also allows us to recruit the top talent in our industry and acquire and retain the best employees."

There is a way for companies to respect the needs of team members while being productive.

12. Limit Unnecessary Meetings

Meetings break up the day and can become a time suck for employees. Often, employees feel like their presence isn't essential at a meeting, and it can pull their focus off projects that will benefit the organization. No one enjoys doing unnecessary tasks.

You should examine the mandatory or highly-encouraged meetings on your team's schedule. What is truly necessary? What can be consolidated or moved to an asynchronous mode of communication? If you currently have meetings like this on your roster, reimagine those gatherings so your team can spend more time working on projects that advance their career.

Pro-Tip: Meetings can be productive, even if they don't address work the entire time. Your team needs to find ways to bond, especially if you work remotely. Effective companies understand the value of activities like happy hours, lunch and learns, and game nights for staff members.

13. Take Necessary Action To Increase Productive Employees On Your Roster

Do you want to take your employee productivity level up a notch? One of the best things you can do is increase the number of productive workers. You can do that by:

  1. Reducing the number of unproductive employees on your roster.
  2. Increasing the number of productive employees on your roster.

But, how does that work in reality? What does HR need to do to create an engaged workforce?

  • Fire unproductive employees who have a track record of underperforming.
  • Turn unproductive employees into productive employees.
  • Hire employees that you think will be productive.
  • Rinse and repeat.

Creating a productive workplace puts a lot of strain on human resources. Focus on building a stellar process for conducting company performance reviews. Having documented proof of lackluster staff members and what you did to improve their performance will help you create cause when you need to let go of someone.

connect remote workers

Conclusion: Creating A Productive Work Environment One Step At A Time

Productivity is hard to maintain. As we discussed previously, 100% team member productivity is not attainable. Employees need to be able to connect with their team and take breaks throughout the day. We highlight these strategies to make creating a productive workplace a little bit easier for employers as they grow their businesses. Implement one or several of the ideas at your company, and you will begin to see a positive uptick in productivity at work.

Actionable workplace tips & insights for fellow people lovers

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