6 Effective Ways to Increase Employee Efficiency
Employee efficiency has a direct impact on the productivity of your business. However, the word ‘productivity’ comes with a lot of baggage. In many people’s minds, it translates as the work that people do for the benefit of the company and the company’s profit margin. While there is a degree of truth in this, what’s often overlooked is that an increase in efficiency can have positive ramifications for the staff, as well as customers and management.
Increased efficiency can leave employees with a greater sense of personal fulfilment, an improved sense of wellbeing, and encourage a greater sense of camaraderie between colleagues. In addition, this positive mindset can have a beneficial impact on the way employees interact with customers and the way they relate to those in managerial positions.
Where does the responsibility lie?
An essential part of the formula is ensuring the well-being of employees. A study by the University of Oxford concluded that, “there are measurable, objective benefits to wellbeing in terms of employee productivity and firm performance.” However, it would seem that the onus isn’t necessarily on workers to self-motivate. According to the results of research by the Chartered Management Institute, positive and empathetic leadership plays a huge part in ensuring employees’ wellbeing and, in turn, their efficiency. The results showed that:
• Poor leadership tends to result in a high staff turnover, as workers who feel undervalued are more likely to look for other jobs than those who feel appreciated.
• Poor leadership often results in employees failing to meet goals. Staff that feel uninspired by their superiors are less likely to throw themselves into the task at hand or ‘go the extra mile.’
• Positive leadership can lead to improved customer satisfaction. The study revealed that positive customer engagement rose by around 4% when conducted by employees under a positive leader. In terms of profit, this alone resulted in an increase of 1.5%.
• Poor leadership can harm employee satisfaction which, in turn, leads to a decrease in efficiency and productivity.
To put these statistics into fiscal terms, it’s estimated by The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy that the cost to the UK economy of poor leadership, and the resulting decrease in productivity, weighs in at around £19billion per year.
However, it’s never too late to show your employees just how much you value them. At Avansas, we’ve researched six effective ways to improve employee efficiency:
- Remote working. In the light of the Coronavirus pandemic, working remotely has become the ‘new normal.’ While you might be concerned that your employees are shirking rather than working, research by the Nasdaq Stock Market found that those who worked remotely increased their productivity by 13%. Around 9% of this improvement was attributed to employees putting in extra time to jobs they were assigned. In addition, the same workers were reported to have taken fewer sick days and shorter breaks. If that wasn’t enough, they reported a greater sense of job satisfaction, backed up by an increase of focus and concentration of 50%.
- Upgrade your tech. As technology advances, it can turn time-consuming tasks into quick jobs. There are also things like tablets, notebooks, and laptops, which allow your employees to work on the go. If your workforce is office-bound, don’t forget the little extras such as wrist rests and monitor screens. Not only do these allow your staff to feel more comfortable at their desk, but it also communicates the idea that you care about their wellbeing.
- Change the furniture. With many employees spending more time at work than they do in their own homes, it seems only right that they should be working in a warm, friendly, and welcoming environment. However, giving your office furniture a level up isn’t merely a case of aesthetics. Ergonomic chairs, which give support in all the right places, have been found to boost employee efficiency by around 17.5%. In addition, they were seen to have a positive impact on employee wellbeing and overall mood. However, if your budget won’t stretch to replacing every chair in the building, check out our range of office chair backrests and footrests, which will do just the job at a fraction of the price.
- Communicate clearly. Not all changes are about furniture and gadgets. Setting clear goals is as much a part of good leadership as setting the task for the day. Where the challenge is a significant one, break it down into bite-sized chunks, so that employees can ‘tick off’ each section as they complete it. Where necessary, encourage collaboration. Although a principle of work, collaboration encourages communication which, in turn, fosters team-building and results in a happier and healthier working environment.
- Give constructive criticism. It’s all too easy to dish out negative feedback, just as it can be a quick fix to bandy praise around the boardroom. A study by the Harvard Business Review called ‘Your Employees want the Negative Feedback you Hate to Give’ revealed that 57% of employees would prefer to receive constructive criticism than nebulous approval. Not only does constructive feedback help to clarify what you expect from your colleagues, but it also has been found to have a positive impact on their professional growth and efficiency. Similarly, the right words at the right time can reinforce positive behaviour and prevent high-performers from slipping into complacency.
- Ask and listen. A study by software company Sideways6 found that 34% of employees believe that their superiors aren’t interested in listening to their ideas for improving the business. The findings also revealed that 82% of staff feel they have innovative ideas that might benefit their company – which means that only 48% of suggestions are being ventured. Sidewways6 CEO, Will Read, said that, “As businesses grow and innovation becomes increasingly more challenging, it is essential that decision-makers are listening to the people who know their business best of all – their employees –to find new ways to help their business succeed.” If efficiency and productivity are an issue in your office, go to the people who deal with the details every single day, and be prepared to listen with an open mind. A culture in which employees feel able to voice their opinions can only benefit the company in both the long and the short term.
At Avansas, we’ve got a superb range of solutions that can help you to promote efficiency in the workplace by showing your employees just how much you value them. From ergonomic accessories and tech solutions to flip charts, teas, and coffees, the best way to increase efficiency in your business is to treat your workers as colleagues, rather than subordinates.