Who doesn’t want to increase employee productivity? Unfortunately, not all companies understand that by reviewing their management practices, they can make employees feel engaged and work at full productive capacity.
The following suggestions are practical steps and games that management can take to improve productivity, by putting employees in a more productive mindset.
10 management practices to boost employee productivity:
1. Learn to hear things that you don't want to hear
Now this might some sound a bit crazy, but sometimes when employees tell you that they have a lot of work, it could actually be true. Before you assume that what you’re hearing isn’t valid, take some time to listen and understand the complaints.
The problem may be bad time management or because an employee is legitimately overloaded and not able to do the work as a result.
So no matter the reason of the complaint, it is essential that employees are listened and heard by you.
2. Provide regular, constructive feedback
Provide regular, helpful feedback on what your employees are doing. Learn to do this in a manner that encourages, not discourages employees. That doesn't mean that you have to consistently give positive feedback. Don't be afraid to criticize, but make sure that the critics are relevant and fair, and will not discourage an employee.
3. Respect employees as individuals, in addition to the job they do
Respect is an important and powerful motivator, yet for some reason, often neglected. Simply being respectful of employees and their work, can inspire them to go the extra mile and genuinely want to help the company succeed.
4. Make sure that managers of all levels receive adequate training
Often companies heavily invest in “leadership training”, forgetting about supervisors and middle managers while they do the most of the managing.
Ensuring that the middle and lower level managers receive adequate training will essentially improve their management skills. As a result of better management, teams and departments can cooperate better and finish tasks/projects earlier or better.
5. Provide support when it’s needed
It can come in any form: new equipment, emotional support when needed, flexible support for a reasonable level of work-life balance. The support you show in the time of need will never be forgotten; it builds employee goodwill and loyalty.
“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” ― John C. Maxwell
6. Fall out of love with meetings
First of all, before you schedule a meeting, ask yourself if it is really necessary. Every day in the US there are over 25 million meetings. At least half of them are held for no valuable reason.
So before holding a meeting clearly define what you want to achieve from it and who should take part.
7. Change the way you hold your meetings
It does make sense to hold a meeting in a conference room when you have a very important topic to discuss, or you have to discuss it with a big number of people.
But what if you take it outside? It’s a great idea to hold a meeting for 3-4 people in fresh air because you get fresh brains and fresh ideas!
8. Don't be afraid of recognition
Just like respect, recognition is important. Yet there is a difference between oral and financial recognition. Employee studies have shown that oral recognition is often a more powerful motivator than money.
So don't be afraid to express some appraisal to your employees.
9. Make sure that rank-and-file members feel as a part of the team
Nothing boosts employee productivity better than a feeling of being part of a team. When employees feel engaged and needed, they will go the extra mile without even the need to be told to.
Developing and maintaining a consistent management approach that engenders esprit de corps is a key link in the productivity process.
“Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.” ― Paul Hawken
10. Set clear goals
This might sound silly, but the majority of managers don’t know how to set goals properly.
Explaining to the team what has to be done, and what shouldn’t can significantly shorten the time of the task execution. it will also help if you explain which result you want to achieve.
Now let's have some fun with 10 games to play!
Consider allowing your employees to play office games on a regular basis. Proper office games are a lot of fun. Not only do they increase productivity, but they can also strengthen team spirit, improve communication skills and boost creativity.
Feel free to adjust these games to your needs and possibilities. Establish awards or prizes as an incentive.
1. Try and build it
This is a great game that develops creativity, communication and problem solving skills. Divide employees into teams and give them equal amounts of a certain material, like pens, pencils, sticky notes, marshmallows, etc. Now come up with what they have to construct. Let’s say: which team can build the tallest and steadiest tower or which team can do it the fastest.
Another classic team-building game that develops communication and trust is minefield. This game is perfect for the office because you can use everything as an obstacle.
So arrange an obstacle course and divide employees into teams. Employees take turns walking the “minefield” while blindfolded, and their teammates have to guide them. To make the game more interesting and complicated, require employees to only use certain words or clues to make it challenging or content-area specific.
3. It’s a Mystery
Many people enjoy a good mystery, right? So why not create one that must be solved cooperatively? Give each employee a numbered clue. In order to solve the mystery — say, the case of the missing chocolate bar — employees must work together to solve the clues in order. The “case” might require them to move from one area of the room to the next, uncovering more clues.
This game is great to develop problem-solving skills and improve communication.
4. Ten Ways to Kill a New Idea
Never kill an idea ever again! All you need is a poster and a marker. Make a list of negative words and phrases that kill ideas and place them in the conference room. Anyone who uses the idea-killer word or phrase during the meeting must put a quarter in the “negative-jar”.
When there’s enough money in the jar, you can take the team lunch or anything else you decide on. Secondly, employees learn to offer ideas in a positive way.
5. Mission Statement
The purpose of this game is to create focus and group buy-in. Materials needed: pens, paper, and any team requests.
Each person finishes the sentence, “My vision of a team that works is …” The entire team now creates one statement or visual that represents the total of these vision statements.
The desired outcome of the game: the team finds commonality of purpose and is more willing to cooperate.
6. Drop the ball
You will need two balls (golf or tennis ball will do the job), straws and tape.
Split into two groups. Each group receives 12 straws and 18 inches of masking tape. They have 10 minutes to build a “ball-catcher”, that will catch the ball from about ten feet. Each group selects a ‘ball dropper’ — that person stands on a chair, holds a ball at eye level. That group places its container on the floor under where it thinks the ball will land. Each group gets three attempts. The group that gets a ball to go in and stay in its container wins.
Not only this game is entertaining, but it also gives employees some physical exercise.
7. Airplane caper
Brighten up a tough day! Make a lot of paper airplanes, then form two teams on opposite sides of the room. Begin throwing the airplanes to the other side. The goal is not to let any airplane land on the floor.
You get physical activity and laughter at the same time!
8. Hit the Mark
Tired of sitting in a chair? Get up and shake that body! Here’s a game to relieve stress and demonstrate the power of team encouragement. All you need is a piece of paper, marker and tape.
Tape a piece of paper high up on the wall. Split into two teams. A player has to run across the office and jump as high as possible, placing a mark on the paper. The next player of the opponent team has to place the mark even higher. Employees are prohibited to use any kind of booster, like a chair or help from the team. Participants can only do it through encouragement. The game finishes when the team is convinced that they can not place the mark higher anymore.
9. Hula Hoop Fortune (no hula hoop needed)
Here’s an awesome way to stimulate creativity. Everybody should take a piece of paper and a pen. Now imagine that you have just inherited a warehouse full of hula hoops. You've got 30 seconds to write down what you would do with them, when done – share the ideas.
Now, return to the real problem you’re trying to solve. This game breaks up the tension and blocked thinking, so it is supposed to help you solve the problem, when you’re stuck.
10. Five truths and a lie
Split into teams. The speaker should prepare a certain number of statements (depending on how long they want to play the game) and read aloud five at a time. Four out those statements are true and one is false. The goal of the game is to find the false statement. The team that finds the false statement or finds it faster – wins.
Play this game to relieve stress, and develop speed of thinking.