By Sharon Jones
Employees are essential to the business. They are the link between the corporate world and the consumer. They bring customers in and support them well enough that those same customers come back again and again. At least they’re supposed to. If your employees are not productive, then you may be throwing away the money you’re investing in them.
Taking on a new member of staff is a huge investment and commitment on your part. Beyond the salary costs are the benefits cost, pension, and training. To ensure your investment is sound and your business benefits, you need to help your new staff member become as productive as possible.
The interview process is the employee’s opportunity to sell themselves to you. This will include clarifying qualifications and experience. It could include discussing how their input benefits the business. But it also shows a little of their personality and what makes them tick. We are all human after all. And that needs nurturing and a little care from time to time. It’s worth identifying how the individual prefers to work. If you can cater for that, chances are you’ll have a more productive candidate.
Not everyone works well in an open plan office. Not everyone works well in a noisy factory. We’re all different, and the place where we work is where we will spend most of our waking hours each week. Trying to manage that environment isn’t always easy. But an occasional break from it may refresh your staff. Some working spaces can be personalised. Photos and knick-knacks can offer a more comfortable environment that promotes more work. The best way to identify what can help your employee feel more comfortable is to ask. Try a workplace survey every quarter.
We all have off-days. And we all go through bereavement, trauma, stress, and health problems. Life is full of disruptions to the working day. But when they affect a member of staff, it’s up to you to support them and get them back on track. More and more companies are looking to the support of an employment assistance programme. This is a benefit add-on. It provides personal support to members of staff with personal problems affecting their productivity. You might be able to reduce the number of sick days they take, and reduce staff turnover.
Inductions are not the same as training an employee to perform well in their new role. Yet many businesses believe that is adequate to engage a new member of staff. Training provides more than in-depth knowledge about your business goals and parameters. It fine tunes an employee’s skills to perform efficiently and productively within your company. It can also act as a motivator. Training investment shows an employee you care about their input. It gives them an opportunity to evolve into the best member of staff they can be. It’s worth offering internal and external training opportunities each year. After all, if your marketplace is changing, your employees need to keep up!
Mentor schemes within businesses can be highly beneficial. This is particularly true for new employees and graduate recruits. This assumes they are successful and effective programmes, though. A good mentor scheme will see regular connections between members of staff. It will facilitate friendships and good working relationships. Most importantly, it plugs the gap between management or HR and the employee. Use it to support training and development. Employees can ensure their skills are used in the best way to support the business. The personal difficulties associated with a new role in a new environment can be minimised.
You can’t keep all your employees happy and motivated every moment of the day. And there is stiff competition out there luring them away to other jobs. But with the right ‘hooks’ your employees will be more likely to stick with you. This may be an impressive benefits package or the promise of promotions and pay rises. In reality, staff could be more likely to stay somewhere that they feel valued, needed, and socially content. This costs the business nothing but effective management. With the right hooks to motivate your employee, their job will be a pleasure, and your staff will be productive.
There is no secret to creating a productive employee. But one of the key ingredients will always be your time and consideration as a manager. The managers that have the best people skills are often the ones that build the most productive teams. After all, we are all people, and life goes beyond the workplace. What are your secret ingredients for a productive workplace?