- September 20, 2017
- by Ola Rybacka
- No comments
Bad news, managers. According to Gallup, “Only 30% of U.S. employees are engaged at work, and a staggeringly low 13% worldwide are engaged. Worse, over the past 12 years, these low numbers have barely budged.”
To make matters worse, further Gallup data from the State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders report has found that “Managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units.”
If you’re among that 70%, don’t despair. While the statistics may look upsetting, what they actually reveal are powerful opportunities to improve your managerial skills, increasing engagement, morale and productivity all at once.
Implementing any of the suggestions below can help boost the performance of both you and the teams you manage.
6 Ways Managers Can Keep Their Teams Productive
1. Open Up
Nobody likes feeling as if they’ve been left out of the loop – and your employees are no exception.
“Feedback and the ability to understand employee concerns is important, but it’s what you do after that’s critical to retention. You should always be transparent by sharing what you’ve learned and a course of action for addressing the issue.”
While you can’t be transparent about everything, ask yourself whether the items you’re choosing to hold on to serve a legitimate business purpose or whether your team as a whole would benefit from you opening up.
2. Empower Your Team to Automate Tasks
Redundant, unnecessary work is simply inexcusable these days, thanks to massive developments in technology that allow tasks to be automated.
Document management software, for example, can reduce the amount of time your team spends creating and managing business proposals. Calendaring tools can prevent the time-consuming back-and-forth formerly required to schedule meetings with multiple parties.
Of course, empowering your team to automate tasks requires more than technology alone. For your teams to get full use out of these new programs, you also have to let go of any lingering desire to have your hands in everything.
Trust your workers. Trust the technology you’ve chosen. Your team will thank you for it.
Tired of filling timesheets manually? Find out how your team can benefit from using automatic time tracking: sign up for your free TimeCamp trial!
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3. Be Flexible
These automation tools and other new forms of technology are enabling more workplace flexibility than ever before.
Yet, many managers still hesitate to adopt remote work and flexible work arrangements out of fear that, should they give in, their newly-untethered employees will waste time on TV, gossip blogs or other personal pursuits.
While every workplace needs to approach the question of remote work on a case-by-case basis, don’t let fear cloud your judgment against this potentially productivity-boosting strategy. According to some studies, employees who work from home are 13% more productive than office-bound workers.
4. End Micro-Managing
Nobody likes working under a micro-managing supervisor (perhaps that’s why so many employees prefer remote work arrangements).
But this isn’t just a preference. There’s data that proves that minimizing the distractions you create can improve productivity:
- On average, employees are interrupted every 3 minutes and 5 seconds, according to data shared in the Washington Post.
- These workers require as much as 23 minutes to regain their previous productivity, according to the same survey.
- Workers in all types of situations are impacted, with Yahoo! data suggesting that workers in private offices experience interruptions while performing 49% of their tasks, while those seated in open-plan offices are disrupted during 63% of tasks.
You may not be able to do anything about the layout of your office, but you can affect the number of times you’re the distraction in question. Letting your employees do their jobs may not be as simple as it sounds, but it’ll have a powerful impact on their productivity.
5. Recognize Their Accomplishments
Sally Field’s iconic “You like me – you really like me!” moment at the 57th Academy Awards reveals more than an actress’s need for validation. It speaks to something we all feel, deep down: the need for recognition and approval.
Many employees want to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves and that their contributions make a difference. Employees who feel appreciated work harder and are more committed to the organization
“Recognition” can be a gold watch or a bonus payment, but it doesn’t have to be. Data suggests that public, verbal recognition can be just as important to employees – if not more so.
Read more: How to Increase Your Employees’ Motivation
6. Keep Them Happy
Proper recognition is one part of the productivity puzzle. Use it, but think of recognition as one part of your larger strategy for keeping employees engaged.
Happy workers are engaged workers – and engaged workers are productive workers. And if that’s not compelling enough, consider that The Engagement Institute reports that “disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually.”
What do your employees need from you to be happy? Implementing the suggestions above may have an impact on their overall levels of satisfaction. But don’t stop there. What about catering lunch in unexpectedly? What about coming up with your own version of The Dundees to boost morale?
Good management isn’t just about meeting milestones and checking items off to-do lists. As a manager, you play a critical role in retaining and developing top talent. Start framing your priorities in terms of what your teams need from you to be as productive as possible, and every person on your team – yourself included – will benefit.
What other strategies do you use to keep your team productive? Leave me a note below sharing your experiences and suggestions!
Author: Neal Eisler