Most small businesses don't have the luxury of hiring as many employees as they need to maintain uninterrupted productivity. Successful owners understand the key to increasing business productivity can be through the wise use of available resources. Working smarter, rather than harder, can offer the greatest potential for growth and profit.
Here are tips on boosting productivity in your business through a strategic application of efficient employee management and operations.
Pay attention to your work environment.
Productivity can be directly linked to a healthy work environment, but a healthy work environment doesn’t just mean proper lighting and ventilation — it can also mean an atmosphere of respect, collegiality, and mutual support. As the leader of your organization, you can make a huge impact by ensuring that employees work happily together, free from morale-damaging gossip, interpersonal conflicts, and office politics.
Support and motivate your employees.
In a typical small business environment, it's not unusual for employees to be assigned many different responsibilities in order to fill a dearth in resources. But this approach can harm productivity. Employees who are unsuited for a particular role can lose confidence in the abilities in which they excel, leading to overall dissatisfaction with their jobs. Identify those individuals who are unable to handle the roles assigned to them. Shift responsibilities to those better equipped for specific duties, while also considering specialized training for those in need of extra assistance.
Another critical element of success may be holding onto employees who contribute most to business productivity. Smart leaders may focus on retention by offering competitive salaries, a good benefits package, and rewards and recognition to show appreciation for a job well done. They also may employ incentive programs to encourage employees to work more efficiently and to suggest ways for the business to succeed.
Be accessible and transparent.
As the owner or leader of a business, how well you communicate with employees can also impact the bottom line. Someone who's stalled because of an operational issue or obstacle can't be productive; they may need access to someone who can help resolve that issue. Do you maintain an open-door policy with employees? Do you hold regular staff meetings where you openly discuss the status of the business and share specific challenges? How difficult is it for an employee to reach out and talk to you?
It can also be important to provide constructive feedback to your staff. Only pointing out where they've gone wrong can be self-defeating, since employees may become resistant to whatever you have to say. Praise and helpful feedback can be powerful tools to boost productivity. Incorporate those into your staff meetings and one-to-one discussions.
Use the latest technology.
It's worth emphasizing that your business should have the most advanced technology possible within your budgetary capabilities. This includes up-to-date technology for everything from laptops, smartphones, and tablets to streamlined virtual private networks for the efficient use of calendars, videoconferencing, and webinars. For example, there are online business solutions that enable you or your managers to track progress on individual projects, so you can intervene with assistance if and when it's needed, to help keep productivity at the desired level.
Managing employees wisely and strategically investing in technology can be the best ways to increase business productivity and pave the way for future growth.