It doesn’t matter if your company depends on the brightest and innovative men and women or if you just need labor workers to get things done – if your employees aren’t productive, you’ll be shunned. Until you make your employees productive for you, you can’t change things. So I’m going to give you some advice on how to make your employees more productive.

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Here are 10 ways that can increase productivity in your employees

1.Use the language of encouragement

The language of encouragement is always positive and focuses on the employee’s effort. It gently guides the employee to concentrate not only on what went well but areas that can be further enhanced. It is reaffirming and makes it clear that you notice their efforts and they are appreciated.

2. Recognize their effort and improvement

Projects and work goals do not always succeed as originally planned. This is the time that employees feel especially discouraged and not motivated to “give it their all.” Perceived “failure” can affect future performance. This is an important occasion to let employees know that you recognize their effort and the contributions they make. To feel adequate, employees must feel useful and know that their help counts.

3.Public recognition

Part of cultivating a good morale in the workplace is to just verbalize your appreciation. But you want to take it one step further. If you have a company newsletter, then showcase an employee who has done an excellent job in some way.

4. Competition

There is good competition and there is bad competition, often mislabeled as “friendly” competition, which isn’t friendly at all, but demeaning to those who lose.

Depending on what your business is, try to develop a fun competition where the prize is a non-monetary reward. It can be something like they get to leave an hour early on Friday, or a longer lunch hour. You might give them a casual dress day. If you have certain tasks everyone hates doing, let the winning team give their task to the others.

5. Coaching or Training

Inform the group ahead of time that you’ll have extra training available on a certain date – and invite them to attend. If you can’t spare the time during the workday, then invite them to a working lunch and stress that it’s not mandatory.

To those who show, make sure you express how thrilled you are that they wanted to advance their skillset. Make a mental note to yourself that this is a motivated employee who is willing to learn and grow.

6. Listening to Ideas and Implementing Them

Your employees have ideas about ways to better the business. There might not be any harm in at least trying someone else’s method of doing business. If you know for a fact it will harm your bottom line, then obviously don’t do it. But if there’s some room to test things out, it’s a good idea to solicit their insight and put it to the test.
You can do this by announcing to your employees that you value their opinions and know there are some great ideas lurking out there.

7. Casual Days

Depending on your place of employment, this may not even play a role. But if you have a stiff office environment, with neckties for the men and pantyhose for the women, you can be sure there are days they’d like to rip those off and strangle someone with them.

8. Flexible Schedule

Small flexible hour alterations are a way to offer a perk to your employees. Maybe even allow them to work through lunch and then take off early, or arrive later – whatever they need to accommodate their personal lives.

9. Delegation and Responsibility Empowerment

When you talk about adding responsibility, it might initially sound like a bigger burden to the employee. But there’s an amount of pride in the fact that you’re being given increased responsibility in the workplace, especially if you have the authority to delegate some other less important tasks to co-workers.

10. Elimination of Monotony

This may or may not be doable in your workplace, but if there’s a way to allow workers to try new positions in the company, to shake things up and let them get rid of boredom, it can sometimes be uplifting and recharge their attitude.

Be very careful to avoid tacking qualifiers to your words of encouragement. Don’t give with one hand and take away with the other. Phrases like, “Now why can’t you do that well every time,” are actually discouraging. Likewise, comparisons with other employees mean someone always comes up short. Comparisons invite competition and jealousy. Not the behaviors that lead to solid team performance and synergistic thinking.

Resist the temptation of setting standards so high that they invite failure and discouragement. People pursue success at a different pace and with different styles. Sometimes small steps towards success work best.

Sarah is a passionate business blogger and organizes workshops on how to improve employee turnover.