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How to Tackle Low Productivity by Staff Engagement

Founder of Personal Development Industry and one of the renowned authors on goal setting, personal and professional development, Paul J. Meyer says: “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort.”

This axiom holds true for companies as well as employees. Productivity of an organization and its staff are intertwined: employers and workers are equally responsible.

Often, companies that offer great salaries and perks may encounter low productivity levels from all or some employees. There are several reasons for this phenomenon.

Low Productivity Causes

There are several causes for low productivity among staff. Generally, low productivity is a direct result of lack of motivation at work. This can be caused by several reasons ranging from:

• Lack of Appreciation
• Long Commutes
• Inadequate Skills
• Addiction Problems
• Personal Finance Issues

Fortunately, you can overcome these factors affecting your company’s profitability and growth through effective staff engagement.


Lack of Appreciation

This is the main cause of low productivity among staff. Your company could be paying the best wages in industry. Yet, if workers feel unappreciated, they will not perform to the best of their abilities.

A simple and proven method to express appreciation is by introducing ‘Employee of the Month’ system. Engage all staff to select the best employee for the month. You can implement this system for separate departments of your organization or all workers. Ask employees to select three employees they believe merit recognition and ask them to vote for the best.

Participation by all employees makes the winning worker feel appreciated. It also encourages healthy competition among team members to vie for the award.


Long Commutes

US Census statistics state: “There were a little over 139 million workers commuting in 2014. At an average of 26 minutes each way to work, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, that works out to a total of 1.8 trillion minutes Americans spent commuting in 2014. Or, if you prefer, call it 29.6 billion hours, 1.2 billion days, or a collective 3.4 million years. With that amount of time, we could have built nearly 300 Wikipedia, or built the Great Pyramid of Giza 26 times -- all in 2014 alone.” These staggering figures reveal extent of losses American businesses face due to long commutes.

Commutes sap employees of energy and lead to imminent drop in productivity. Your organization can engage employees to prevent this loss by holding interesting remote meetings and training sessions that can take the bite off such commutes. Myriad apps for smart-phones make such meetings and training sessions possible for employees during commutes. Alternatively, your company can organize carpools or provide transportation.


Inadequate Skills

Technology outgrows itself almost daily. Your employees are highly susceptible to losing enthusiasm if they find their skills lag behind prevailing industry standards. Generally, workers expect employers to help upgrade technical and other skills, since they are vital for increased productivity and higher profits.

Engage your employees by conducting short training sessions that keep them abreast with latest technologies and imparts required skills. Training employees not only helps boost productivity, it also reduces attrition rates. This, in turn translates as higher profits for your company since you save costs on fresh recruitments and training imparted to fresh employees to fit in.


Addiction Problems

A study published in 2015 by the British Medical Journal points out, people working longer hours - or more than the recommended time- are extremely prone to alcohol and drug abuse. Additionally, a few of your employees could be binge drinkers or chronic alcoholics.

US government statistics reveal, seven percent of America’s population has alcohol abuse disorders. “Abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs is costly to our nation, exacting more than $740 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and health care,” laments the US government’s National Institute of Drug Abuse. Understandably, your company too could be inadvertently affected by this phenomenon.

Staff engagement can help tackle low productivity linked to addiction. Encourage team-work that takes away the need for long hours. Designate an expert in the field to work as counselor to engage staff facing addiction problems.


Personal Finance Issues

Everyone faces financial crises at some point of life. While your company could be paying excellent salaries and perks, employees riddled with financial problems will always lag in productivity. There is a major psychological reason for this syndrome: Employees in debts feel that working hard is useless since the money cannot buy them a good life. They find their earnings vanish as a result of heavy debts. Paying alimony and childcare also takes a toll on income of employees.

Engage your staff by starting a small corpus fund from which deserving employees can take interest-free small loans to pay off outstanding debts. The amount can be adjusted recovered by deductions in monthly pay. This way, you will have saved precious money an employee would lose due to high interest rates on credit card purchases and similar debts. While boosting productivity, this system also helps develop staff loyalty towards your organization.


More Steps

Before taking any of these steps, it is also vital for Human Resources managers to identify specific causes that cause low productivity. Often, it can be lack of motivation for some reason. These could be anything from an irascible boss to office politics.

Create opportunities within your organization that allows for meritorious employees to be promoted. Involve staff in selecting colleagues who deserve promotion.

Additionally, you can also take suggestions from staff about how to improve productivity or achieve targets and objectives of the company. One of the keys to reducing productivity losses is to keep employees updated about targets and expectations.


In Conclusion

Low productivity translates as reduced profits meaning lesser emoluments for workers. These three factors cause the proverbial vicious circle from which many organizations may never recover. Before demoralization for any reason seeps in to your organization, it is best to take steps to stem rampant loss of productivity. Low productivity can be effectively tacked. It requires presence of mind on part of the human resources department and top management of the firm to take concrete steps to resolve the problem, before it occurs.

Further information

Author Bio:

Pritam Nagrale is a blogger and running a digital marketing company in Mumbai. His blog MoneyConnexion writes about make money ideas & tips on Saving Money.


Page last edited Mar 12, 2018 History

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