5 Strategies for Boosting Employee Productivity

5 Strategies for Boosting Employee Productivity
Written by Robin Okwanma

How can you, as a boss, improve or boost on-the-job productivity of your employees? The overall success of every organization is the sum total of the productivity of its workers. It certainly goes beyond encouraging or tasking them by word of mouth. It requires a definite action plan, or set of strategies that must be constantly put to work.

Also, the modern workplace has evolved from full on-site jobs to remote and hybrid work options, that we know. And far greater than ever, your employees need to be monitored and gingered up regularly. They need help to put away distractions, reduce or eliminate tasks that are not necessary, and measure their performance at individual or team levels. 

What is Employee Productivity?

Employee productivity is all about the performance of a worker while handling the job. That performance is in terms of:

  • the quality of work done within the acceptable working hours, 
  • the quantity of work done,
  • your employees meeting and surpassing the set targets placed before each of them, and
  • your employees doing the right things, on time and at the right time, without wasting effort.

And whether your employees are new recruits or old hands, it is pertinent as a boss to empower them to perform better on the job (without them suffering burnout or dissatisfaction). So what consistent methods or ways can you use to boost the capacity of your employees to give their utmost best on the job? Remember the word ‘consistent’, such strategies must be maintained, monitored and improved. 

How to Measure an Employee’s Productivity on the Job

There is probably no standard way of measuring an employee’s productivity. However, two effective measures you can use to check an employee’s productivity at the individual level are as follows:

1. Set clear work targets and standards each employee must meet up with per time. In fact, keep records of their compliance in an unobtrusive way.  

  • Say for instance, each day or week, certain pertinent tasks need to be completed with a deadline attached to it. 
  • Also, some important on-the-job rules and expectations should be consistently obeyed and never broken (as much as possible).
  • A certain quantity of work needs to be completed within a stated period of time.
  • Should an employee perceive that he/she cannot meet up to the expectation for unavoidable reasons, such a person should promptly inform the boss. It is an ethical move, to help in making alternative arrangements on time. Probably to delegate the job to another capable employee for the time being. However, such plan B should never be used at intervals, as a preferred escape route from responsibility. It will soon be detected, which will amount to incompetence and laziness.

2. Establish the number of active work-hours (or minutes) each employee spends on the job. Then compare this to the total expected working hours. For instance, a 9-to-5 job in a five-day working week will amount to:

  • 8 hours per day, 
  • 40 hours per week, and 
  • If you so choose (removing all 8 standard Saturdays and Sundays in a month), {22 working days X 8 hours} equals 176 working hours per month.

If you were to use the number of working hours per day and month for a measure, remove the times not actually spent working. That is, those periods on the job when active work is not being done. That would include the lunch breaks, time of meetings and perhaps compulsory outings. 

If for instance an average employee has one lunch break of half an hour (30 minutes) everyday, that is 150 minutes or 2 ½ hours of weekly lunchtime. Add two compulsory staff meetings of one hour each in a week (which is 2 hours), then you have a total of 4½ hours of non-productive work in a week. In the entire month, that amounts to: 

(176 minus 4½ ) hours = 171 ½ active work-hours for that employee.

Divide the active work-hours by the total expected work-hours and obtain the percentage (or ratio) productivity of that employee. In the example above, (171 ½ ➗ 176) equals to 97% on-the-job productivity for the employee. 

What Can Affect An Employee’s Productivity: The Factors Responsible

There are factors within your control; and there are also uncontrollable factors that can affect employees’ productivity. Here are the key factors to note.

  • Conducive (or not) work environment: Decide if the work environment needs improvements such as comfortable furniture, good lighting, reduction of noise or other such needs.
  • Health/Well-being of employees: Are your staff in good health? When an employee is sick, do you give prompt support according to your capacity? 
  • Training of staff: Scheduled staff training to handle new and currently needed skills is very useful after all – but is there such an established practice? 
  • Clearly-defined goals: Every organization has overall goals (mission), yearly, monthly, weekly and department-level goals to achieve. How clearly are these goals being spelt out (and reiterated if need be)? 
  • Workload tending to overload, or too little load: Could the employee be unduly burdened with too much to cope with, leading to mental and physical stress? Or – is he/she doing so little that lack of interest has set in? The boss needs to observe these symptoms and tackle them on time, by discussing with the affected staff to get the much needed intervention.
  • Disagreements/Conflicts in the office: How well and how fast does the boss (and delegated managers) handle disagreements between staff under their control? Does he/she ignore such disagreements, or allow it to escalate before stepping in? The effect of workplace conflict can be very damaging to people emotionally and mentally. Thus, they should never be left unresolved. 
  • Morale or motivation: Is the boss or anyone else tasked with the job to help employees feel better about their job? Is there anything/anyone there to boost their morale when they feel discouraged?

We will discuss just five of the important strategies a boss can employ to improve the productivity of his/her employees. In the meantime, every one of these key methods below are highly recommended to every boss.

In Summary: Strategies/Tips that Can be Applied for Improving Employee Productivity

  • Improved Employee Onboarding. How you welcome a new employee matters. Initial orientation, training, giving and receiving feedback, and dedicated support to new employees is very important for retention. 
  • Do Not Micromanage Workers. A boss should be able to trust his workers to a reasonable extent to do what they are assigned to do with some freedom. So long as that employee is found capable of handling the job. Trying to control every move or action of a worker invites too much criticism. It inadvertently kills the creativity and productivity of that employee in the long run.
  • Fast and Personalized Employee Support. Employees need quick intervention from their bosses and the managers delegated to supervise them when they need help. It is advisable to set up a modern employee help/service desk. An employee service desk is an AI-driven software or tool designed to identify the full range of issues your employees may face on the job. It can provide ready-made, custom solutions to each employee without the need to issue a direct manual ticket to resolve a problem. 
  • Clarity/Transparency of Tasks, Plans and Goals is important. A goal is achieved by creating a plan; a plan is achieved with a set of relevant tasks. Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) and explain it clearly to your employees from time to time. Break down such goals into equally SMART plans and tasks that can be monitored easily. Staff members need to be carried along every step of the way.
  • Effective Communication – Give and receive constant, quality feedback. It is important to establish an environment where employees feel free to give advice, exchange ideas, and state their observations. They should be able to do that without fear of repercussions from the senior staff or boss. No organization or boss is perfect, as are the employees themselves. Encouraging feedback in a welcoming atmosphere or attitude will ultimately help the organization to move forward. 

Furthermore, every boss should be willing to put these additional employee productivity tips to work.  

  • Provide employees with the right, and necessary tools. That includes ergonomic tools to reduce physical and mental stress while working. 
  • Distribution or delegation of duties/tasks based on each employee’s capabilities is highly recommended. No boss or supervisor should take too much work on himself/herself. This attitude discourages an employee’s personal or professional development. 
  • Identify and implement good job incentives (rewards), and show appreciation for good work. Rewards include work holidays, overtime pay, allowances, and special rewards for outstanding performance. 
  • Avoid overwork and underpayment of staff.
  • Focus on hiring ethical people with agreeable/similar values and behavior as your organization.
  • Improve teamwork/collaborative work. Intranets and communication apps with staff profiles are very useful for staff to share ideas and news, and get along easily. Internal surveys are also useful.
  • Inject Nature into the office: Bring indoor plants (which equals more fresh air!)
  • Publish and circulate list of accomplishments regularly by emails, memos, reports and any other channel.
  • On-the-job employee training is Important.
  • Avoid frequent, unnecessary daily meetings.
  • Avoid Physical Distractions: Noise, clutter, loud music, tight spaces, eating during work hours and any other distractions should be actively removed. 



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About the author

Robin Okwanma

Hi, I'm Robin Okwanma. Software Engineer || Django, Python || React, React Native || Blogger. Technical Writer.

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