Improve Productivity to Boost Bottom-line

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer

We have just recently spoken about the importance of a happy workplace and how crucial it is to remove negativity from the work environment. The intention of both these aspects is the same – to improve productivity of your employees with an aim to boosting the company’s bottom-line for everyone’s success. Irrespective of the size of the company, the industry in which it operates and its line of business, unless the work-force is productive, it would be tough to sustain business. It is no secret that customers have begun increasingly demanding and are refusing to settle for less and anything but the best and they have many more options by way of products and companies, than they ever had before. What this translates to is that companies would need to use the bare minimum of resources and improve productivity of its employees in order to deliver high standard products and services to their customers, thereby increasing revenue and profitability and adding to the bottom-line. In the current fierce market scenario, the companies that can manage to do all this will be able to sustain success.

So what can companies do to improve productivity of their staff in order to boost the bottom-line? What does your company do?

  • Start at the beginning. To improve productivity through better customer service, ensure that your service and front-end staff have the resources and tools to do their jobs to the best possible level. Afford them the leeway to make decisions that will resolve the customer’s issues faster and also without the need for every problem to be escalated to the supervisors or managers. Doing so also allows the higher paid supervisors to use their work-hours in other strategic tasks like coaching, formulating plans, putting together training assessments and other such value-added tasks.
  • A study conducted a few years back, showed that companies that allowed their employees to have flexibility in the working hours and schedules, even affording the work from home option, have happier and more productive employees. When employees are happy they are loyal and would willingly serve the company and its customers with the best service possible. As customers receive great service they reward the company with more business thereby boosting the bottom-line. Employees that have a relaxed and flexible environment to work in, suffer less stress, take less time off and are overall healthier than those employees where the company is constantly ‘breathing down their neck’.
  • Ensure that your company keeps pace with the latest technology and also invests in technology that will boost and improve productivity. These tools will help the workforce to get more done in a shorter period of time resulting in more output in the same number of hours. Digitize and automate your company’s manual processes and guidebooks such that they are available at the click of a button and the employees don’t waste valuable ‘productive hours’ in searching for help and information.
  • There is no escaping and denying that the internet has become an indispensable part of our lives and businesses depend on it heavily to get valuable information and data. Allow internet access to all your employees to improve productivity but you could look at blocking personal sites and social media pages. Blocking these social media sites will prevent the employees from spending time on their personal ‘pages’ and keep them focused on accessing only the work related sites.
  • Improve productivity by introducing tools that would cut down on the amount of time employees spend in chatting with their co-workers away from their desk at the cost of missed calls and schedules. There are tools – like instant messaging that is immediately visible and allow employees to communicate with each other. Companies must also build trust in their employees and only then can these tools be helpful. In addition, tools like digital calendar usage to schedule calls, meetings and to remember other important client information will allow employees to take their mind off trying to remember too many things and rather focus on doing the task assigned to them. Harnessing the power of communication methods and employee intelligence are sure shot ways to improve productivity.

It is for a company to efficiently manage all the resources at their disposal and achieve maximum output through minimum input. Improving productivity, ties in with reducing costs, time and adds to the competitiveness of the company thereby giving a boost to the bottom-line of the company. A company can look at cutting costs by reducing the number of overheads – such as electricity costs, maintenance and administration costs, introducing work from home options, ensuring that those responsible for managing staff are well equipped to do so and through their efforts the staff is able to perform better, looking at innovative methods to package their products, redesigning their products to make them cheaper to produce (without compromising on quality) and other such methods.

The productivity of your workforce is a combination of their skills, knowledge and attitude with updated technology and an effective leadership. Regular training and coaching for your staff may seem like a cost, however, over time this investment produces rich rewards that for outweigh the investment. Better trained staff and managers are in a better position to train and provide valuable inputs to new staff and current staff that may still be lacking in some areas. What better way to learn than on the job and from people you work with and are comfortable with!

Steps to improve productivity overall, may seem tough and tedious but it is not so – they just require on-gong effort and a conscious mind-set to improve and manage situations and resources effectively. As a company, make your culture such that everyone knows what is expected of them and in how many hours. Infuse a culture where employees consciously mind and track how they spend their time, which tasks take more time and where they feel they can be more productive. Putting the onus on the employees will keep them in control and will be responsible for any negative outcomes.

Encourage your employees to enjoy working – take short regular breaks, use humour and laughter and weed out any negativity within the work environment. Suggesting humour and breaks may seem contrary to trying to improve productivity but it is not so. Energized and happy employees are able to produce more in lesser time than stressed and constantly coerced ones.

Train your staff to multi-task. If they can do more than one thing well at a time – encourage and reward such behaviour. Show by example the importance of setting and achieving deadlines on a daily basis – irrespective of whether anyone is looking and checking or not. This method of working translates to discipline, improvement in timelines, self-development and inculcates a habit of doing more in less time.

To improve productivity companies don’t need to stress themselves out – just some small changes and unfeigned interest in their staff and customers will go a long way in reaping the benefits they desire. Encourage the concept of working smarter and not crazy hard. Discourage employees from staying late after work hours as longer hours don’t necessarily mean increased productivity. Ensure that you focus on their health and help them to maintain a balance between their work and personal lives. We will be speaking of how healthy employees can improve productivity for a company and thereby boost the bottom-line.

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