Streaming your business

Practices and processes: question, review, measure and improve

Productivity is dependent on the integration of good people, smart practices, and efficient processes.

A regular review of practices and processes results in continuous improvement of methods and outcomes. This is key when considering how to improve employee productivity.

You and your people should regularly question, measure and make changes to processes to enable the business to deliver faster, and reduce costs without compromising product or service quality.

Eyes wide open

If you have good people and are wondering how to enhance employee productivity, the first consideration is your practices and processes. 

You’re able to avoid passing on increases in the price of your inputs allowing you to maintain or even build sales volume. You’ll be more competitive, and able to offer special pricing to gain market share or stimulate demand while maintaining margin and profit.

Using sound processes, you’re in a stronger position to drive up productivity giving you a significant advantage over your competitors.

And if you focus on improving processes or systems, so your people can be more productive, this enables more effort to be directed at exploring new opportunities and business development.

The challenge is to use these productivity gains to build market share without sacrificing profit, and to seek to improve every major resource in your business, from people, processes and management systems to plant and equipment, premises, suppliers and raw materials.

Further challenges for your business are to identify which productivity measures should be looked at on a regular basis, which of these can be taken down to an individual employee level, and which should be managed on a company-wide basis.

Best practice tips: how to increase employee satisfaction and productivity

  • Acknowledge and recognise your good staff are the backbone of your business.  Consider all options for how to attract, keep and develop your top-performing staff.

  • Avoid cutting back on staff, particularly good skilled staff, simply to cut costs. 

  • Communicate openly and transparently (where appropriate) about all decisions being taken in the business.

  • Deliver positive messages to staff whenever possible. 

  • Determine how busy people really are and how that matches up with the work volumes the business needs to remain productive. 

  • Engender respect, trust and loyalty amongst all your staff. 

  • Get out of the office and visit the coalface. Find out for yourself who the productive members of your staff are and identify those who are underperforming. 

  • Give clear direction and management support. 

  • Implement flexible working arrangements that work both for the business and your top performing employees. 

  • Include staff in the decision-making where possible and seek their input. 

  • Listen to what your staff have to say – they speak daily to customers, suppliers, representatives, distributors, etc. 

  • Offer both financial (where possible) and non-financial incentives to keep top performing staff. 

  • Offer coaching, training, mentoring and support. 

  • Provide continual feedback. 

  • Show appreciation and recognise, praise and reward performing staff whenever possible, and publicly where possible. 

  • Strive to make the workplace an enjoyable place. 

  • Treat your people like they are important business partners and the custodians of your business’ culture.

Sound processes are also key

  • When considering how to increase employee productivity in the workplace, ensure you have sound policies and efficient procedures that provide staff with guidelines for ‘best practice’. 

  • Analyse your business processes. Ask your staff “Are we easy to do business with?” If the answer is no, ask why not and address these issues. 

  • Be informed about what is going on around you – anticipate problems before they attack your bottom line and get staff input and feedback.

  • Communicate openly, clearly, and honestly. Tell your people what’s happening, why it’s happening, and how it affects them. 

  • Communicate successes with staff when they occur to demonstrate positive results and maintain enthusiasm and confidence. 

  • Design and implement flexible working arrangements that work for both the business and your employees.

  • Engage employees and motivate managers and seek their ideas and input for adding value and doing business better. 

  • Identify how individuals can support each other to increase the team’s effectiveness. 

  • Involve your work teams in identifying when they’re more productive, and when they’re less productive. Identify which spects of the workflow could be improved, changed or eliminated, and why.

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