With the ‘Great Resignation’ placing pressure on executives and managers to retain employees, discussing productivity might not now be seen as the right time. Employees are already overworked, covering for workers who have left. However, productivity is now more than ever topical and of urgent attention. There is a correlation between staff engagement, productivity, and retention. Therefore, if productivity is boosted, a business will also be increasing retention and engagement. This is ever more important, since workers want to be productive.
The formula to boost productivity (engagement and retention):
1. Proposed Learning Opportunities to increase Worker Productivity
According to the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, education plays an important role in boosting productivity. The various types of education can include online courses. An example is Mads Singers courses on management, training programs, skills-building programs, or accredited certificate programs. More so, with the internet, it’s easy to enroll a staff member into a class without causing too much of a disruption while they are completing the course.
The online education platform, Udemy, has indicated that more than 50% of high-engagement businesses have staff that spend around 31 to 50 hours each year on further learning. Also, LinkedIn’s Workforce Learning has indicated that 95% of staff members would remain at a company were the company to offer them learning opportunities. Therefore, learning increases productivity, engagement, and retention.
Methods by which businesses can contribute to learning include providing access to learning platforms such as LinkedIn Learning or Udemy. Businesses can provide tuition help programs (and in some countries, this expense can be deducted from taxes), promoting learning contests and incentive programs.
2. Spend on Technology to increase Worker Productivity
Spending funds on productivity technology is closely connected to learning. Spending likewise drives productivity, engagement, as well as retention. However, research by Gallup has indicated that only 36% of US employees are engaged, and less than 50% consider that they don’t have the right technology to do their work effectively.
More so, as with investing in education, investing in proper hardware (and software) can boost productivity by nearly 66%. Assessing the COVID-19 pandemic and how companies reacted to it, those that did not spend on video conferencing, laptops, and mobile phones, fell behind. Those that did, saw a 4.3% increase in productivity in the first quarter of 2021. More so, 83% of staff indicated that technology, especially digital technology, permitted them to work remotely, and allowed them to be more engaged. Plus, 82% of staff interviewed stated that engagement was directly related to the quality of the technology. Furthermore, 77% of staff members considered looking for alternative employment should their current employer fall short on investing in suitable digital technology.
Moreover, productivity investment in technology not only increases productivity but also boosts engagement as well as retention. Ways to boost productivity include investing in video conferencing, adding project management tools, and using cloud-based platforms to store and access documents.
3. Support Staff Wellness to increase Worker Productivity
Staff wellness should be central to level C executives and HR managers. The reason for this is that wellness programs can boost productivity. In noting that 95% of staff would consider moving to another job, burnout was given as the main reason for workers considering relocating. We should analyse the term burnout, this being the main reason given for the Great Resignation in the US. This condition encompasses more than simply feeling tired or somewhat overworked. Instead, burnout refers to chronic stress that leads to detachment, depression, exhaustion, and a feeling of uselessness. This state can to some extent be avoided by application of a corporate wellness program. Burnout decreases productivity while escalating poor work performance. A wellness program could counter this, and more so, help to retain staff members.
Therefore, wellness, similarly to technology and learning, increases productivity, engagement, and retention. A corporate wellness program will depend on the individual business. In most cases, this includes gym membership to assist with stress reduction, and counseling offered as part of a mental health program. What is more, benefits of wellness programs include mental health, stress management, and burnout prevention.
4. Increase Worker Productivity with Appreciation
Staff recognition is low-cost but a high-impact mechanism for productivity, engagement, as well as retention. Only 33% of staff in the US believe that they receive praise for their work. Most workers feel unrecognized (the other 66%), and more inclined to resign and move to a different company. Plus, offering recognition is directly linked to staff engagement. There appears a disconnect between level C executives and how they manage people effectively.
Recognition is known to affect productivity and engagement, in addition to retention. Offering praise boosts productivity by 30%. Moreover, this recognition is worth more than a salary increase. In contrast, lack of recognition is a reason for many seeking alternative employment. Recognition could be as simple as a certificate given or some time off provided as endorsement of a worker’s value to the company.
5. Increase Worker Productivity by Listening
Companies closing and workers conducting their work remotely has indicated that one communication skill, namely, listening, is key. Workers were dealing with many and varied interruptions, such as by family members and pets: all these distractions can influence their listening abilities. Listening is related to recognition. This is since you recognize a staff member if you stop and listen to him or her. In turn, this boosts productivity. More so, 41% of high-performance companies conduct surveys of their staff sentiments. Some 28% of low-performance businesses simply monitor the staff sentiment. About 27% of high-performance businesses offer feedback mechanisms; whereas 7% of low-performance companies do not offer feedback mechanisms at all.
Therefore, in short, listen to your staff, and you can boost productivity. More so, 63% of workers want to have feedback, compared with only 27% who do not want feedback from employers. To listen to workers, run polls on their job satisfaction. Utilize yearly staff-engagement surveys. Additionally, offer a chat channel for staff members to obtain feedback without having to provide their details. However, despite companies in the US spending around $700 million to increase engagement through research efforts, the engagement level is a mere 35%. More so, 30% of workers believe that their company efforts are meaningless.
6. Increase Worker Productivity with a Virtual Assistant
Employing a virtual or remote assistant became even more meaningful during the pandemic. Many people were working remotely, similarly to the traditional virtual assistant, but were costing companies the normal outlay. A remote assistant is there to do the same type of work but often at a lower wage. However, the wage may well be considered a good one in the remote country. This is a win-win situation.
Most VAs will tackle the arduous and unexciting repetitive tasks such as data entry, invoicing and payment, or email management and scheduling. What the virtual assistant can do to help onsite workers to boost their productivity is to take over the admin tasks. The company will benefit − the cost of hiring a VA will be lower than hiring an onsite worker. The onsite worker will be able to focus on their core work – the work they were hired to do. More so, executives and managers can also benefit from the amount of time freed up. In fact, onsite workers and executives can save up to 16 hours each week on these daily tasks.
To round up
Disengaged workers could cost a company $3400 for each $10000 of yearly salary simply in lost productivity. This equates to up to 4 months of lost productivity per year, not to mention the time spent on hiring new workers − only for them to leave the company. However, there are remedies such as investing in education, offering wellness programs, employing proper communication, importing new technology, and onboarding virtual assistants to deal with the admin work.
The result will be increased productivity, but also engagement and retention. It is with this in mind that Virgin founder Richard Branson opined, “Customers come second, employees first.” This is a philosophy that brings unexpected benefits to both the company and its clients.