As entrepreneurs we are well aware of the fact that the success or failure of our venture depends on the productivity of our employees. As an entrepreneur, you think a lot about whether your employees are being as productive as you need.
Well this behaviour is natural, but at the same time it is also essential that you take a step back and look at the other side of that equation to understand if you’re the one standing in the way of their productivity.
I have enlisted 10 ways by which you might be derailing your employees’ productivity. Please read through and take action wherever needed.
1. Not being clear about job responsibilities
Very often, entrepreneurs use their staffers as “helpers”, rather than giving them real ownership and responsibility. This leaves the you bearing the burden of spotting what needs to be done and assigning the work, and leaves staff members feeling that they’re only responsible for executing the specific tasks the you assign and aren’t empowered to act more broadly. It’s the difference between asking your assistant to make sure there are enough pads and pens in the conference room for an upcoming meeting versus telling her that she is in charge of all logistics for the meeting. If you tell her the latter, she might notice that while there are enough pads and pens, there’s trash all over the room and the speaker phone isn’t working – and fix those things proactively. Most employees will be happier with broader responsibilities than just executing individual tasks.
2. Micromanaging your staff
Micromanagement is another thing that you as an entrepreneur must refrain from doing. Employers today are dealing with a completely different breed of workers but are failing to change their company culture accordingly to suit the needs of this new workforce. All of your best and most talented employees want to feel as if you trust them. You hired them because they have the skills and experience that you need for that particular job. Micromanaging can absolutely kill motivation, especially in young workers. Good employees want to have the freedom to try their own ideas and to bring their own innovations into your company in order to take what you do to a higher level.
3. Lack of communication and unclear expectations
If you don’t communicate clear, concrete goals for staff members’ work, and ensure you have a shared understanding of what success in each role would look like, you’re falling down on one of your most important jobs. If you and your staff member were both asked what’s most important for them to achieve this year, would your answers match? If not, chances are low that you’re going to get the level of performance you’re hoping for. According to Beth Sears, president of Workplace Communication
“Survey any company and poor communication will come up as one of the top three problems that interfere with the productivity in a workplace,”
4. No proper feedback
If you want employees to perform at the highest level they can, you need to give them clear and direct feedback about what they’re doing well and what they could do better. You will get better work from people by helping them develop their strengths and tackle problem areas. And you must remember that feedback isn’t just for criticisms – as the old saying goes,
“Praise what you want to see more of.”
5. Not asking for employee feedback
While giving feedback for the work performed by your employees is important, it is equally important to take their feedback at times. Employers can show that they value their staff is by valuing their opinions. Not asking your employees for their feedback, or even worse, ignoring their feedback, can be incredibly discouraging. Getting regular feedback from your people is actually a win-win situation for everyone involved. They feel valued as an integral part of your team and you are probably going to end up with some innovative ideas.
6. Not rewarding employees for good work
Incentives like higher wages and promotions for people who perform above and beyond what is expected of them should always be part of your company culture, but that’s not all this is about. Simply celebrating a work victory every now and then within the team can do a lot when it comes to boosting morale and increasing team motivation. People like to see that their efforts are being appreciated. Celebrating a win with a pizza party or a night at the bar not only shows them that you appreciate what they are doing, it also helps build that camaraderie that employees desire. Millennials especially place a premium on feeling valued and appreciated at work.
7. Not allowing people time to concentrate
While people of course need to be accessible and you don’t want to ban spontaneous conversations, in many jobs you need to balance that against employees’ need to focus. If you’re constantly interrupting their workflow or insisting that others be allowed to, their inability to deeply focus will be reflected in your team’s output.
8. Not asking people what they need, to do their jobs better
You might think that you already know what your team’s needs are – but you might be surprised by what you’d find out if you asked. Many people won’t speak up on their own if they need new software, a faster computer, or other tools to do their job – but if you ask, they’ll often tell you. Employees are often expected to produce results without getting much (or any) training – which can lead to serious inefficiencies, as people struggle to figure out software or other key elements of their job on their own.
9. Creating a climate of fear and anxiety
Ruling through rigid control, negativity, and a climate of anxiety and fear might ensure that no one steps out of line – but it also ensures that employees won’t bring up new ideas for fear of being attacked and won’t be honest about problems – which will limit what your entire team is able to accomplish.
10. Lack of a big picture view
It is very important that you show your employees the bigger picture of what they are doing.
“Employees often don’t see how the work they do contributes to the company’s overall product, and it leads to a lack of productivity,”
says Jeff Milano, CEO of ThePeoplesChemist.com. He further added,
“Often overlooked, it needs to be handled with training that helps every person from the top brass on down see how their products allow others to obtain their products, which then leads to the overall product of the organization.”