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5 Practical Ways to Increase Staff Productivity

Every business owner’s dream is to have a team of staff that are highly productive, as this contributes to their success as a business. The reality, however, is that people don’t tend to run on one hundred percent productivity one hundred percent of the time. Luckily, you can still reach a level of productivity that meets your standard if you put a few measures in place. It will require demystifying your staff and for you to figure out what motivates them and how to keep that momentum going on a daily basis. To figure this out, you’ll have to engage in a bit of trial and error and then find what works best for you. Below we discuss five practical ways to increase staff productivity.

Show You Care

One of the ways that you can attempt to improve staff productivity is by showing them that you care about their wellbeing. It may come as a shock to you, or perhaps not so much, to know that a recent survey carried out by the NPD Group found that at least 31 million Americans don’t bother eating breakfast in the morning. Seeing as breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, your staff skipping breakfast could result in them having decreased levels of energy and being less able to concentrate. It will ultimately affect their productivity and how well they perform at work. A solution to this problem could be providing free fruit, bread rolls, and tea or coffee every morning if your budget will accommodate it. It should give staff the boost they need to start the day off on the right note and help increase their output. Try and see if you can get a grocery store or restaurant to deliver fresh fruit and bread every morning. You could also get the office secretary or assistant to look for Office Coffee Deals that deliver. Staff should appreciate this for the most part, or at least have something to look forward to every morning.

Offer Support

You usually hire an employee because they seem to be knowledgeable and suitable for the advertised role and have been able to pass the assessment given to them impressively. It, however, doesn’t mean that they won’t need support throughout the time they’re working for you. Consider supporting your staff by providing them with opportunities to progress such as dedicated training to help them perform better if you can afford to squeeze it into your budget. There is a tendency for organizations to focus on training for people in leadership positions. However, staff who are at the incipient stages of their career may need it more. Other ways to support your staff include giving them flexibility, so they have time to de-stress and don’t feel overworked. You could also think about replacing old equipment so they can work better and be understanding when they’re enduring work-related or personal issues. This kind of support is a way to build trust and loyalty amongst your staff.

Give Feedback

You can’t always control the way people will react to criticism. However, ensuring that it’s constructive could go a long way in improving employee productivity. It is a management skill to understand each employee’s unique personality and be able to find a way to provide feedback in a way that encourages and motivates them. Also, make a note to give feedback as regularly as possible and ensure it is detailed enough as well as balanced. Let them know areas in which they’re excelling as well as where they need to improve. Take the time to find out what their challenges are, and again, what support you can offer to help.

Offer Incentives

Offering incentives and rewarding good behavior might help increase work productivity. Not only does it make people feel good when they’re recognized and rewarded for achieving, but it also gives them something to look forward to. Common incentives you can try are bonuses for those who meet targets or free coupons to enjoy some form of entertainment. You could also try gift vouchers at stores that you think they’re likely to shop at. Explore different incentives and see which works best to encourage staff to be more productive. Better still, it might be a good idea to conduct a survey and simply ask staff their preferences. Bear in mind, that incentives alone most likely won’t give you long-term results for increasing productivity. Combining incentives with the opportunity to grow and feel like a valued part of the work community should create more long-lasting results.

Don’t be too strict

Putting too many restrictions in place at an office can make employees feel like they’re working in a jail. While it may be helpful in increasing productivity, it can likewise be counterproductive as it may affect their enthusiasm towards work. An example of this is imposing internet restrictions in the office. There is a plethora of valuable information on the internet in this day and age, and on social networks too. You may then find that allowing them to be free to browse and visit social media may help spark their creativity or give them a wider variety of information. It could improve their work productivity, especially if you’re in the media or digital marketing industry or your company has social media platforms. It is understandable that you don’t want your staff spending valuable office hours liking their friend’s pictures. Remember, however, that staff can be unproductive even with all of the restrictions in place.

To increase productivity, you have to think of ways to create an environment that your staff enjoy being in. Although people have different reasons for joining an organization, they’re more than likely to give it their best when they feel its adding value to their lives. This value could be in the form of money, support, and personal development as well as feeling like they’re a part of something significant. Hopefully, these tips help improve productivity, and you’ll have a happy owner and happy employees.  Ultimately, the most productive people are those who feel deeply connected to the work they do and what it contributes to society.

Smart Strategies for a More Effective Business

Running a business is a difficult thing to do. It is even more difficult to do when you are not running your business as effectively as it should be. When your business processes are sub-standard, it means that you are doing more work than you need to, while at the same time producing worse results. The successful business is one that can look at itself, find its weaknesses, and work on improving them. A successful business is one that works on becoming more effective, and one that constantly strives to improve. This is particularly important with how fast new innovations and trends take hold of each and every industry. If you cannot keep up, then you fall behind.

To ensure that your company is as successive and effective as possible, adopt these smart strategies today:

Create a New Business Plan

Though you should have already created a business plan when you first started, it’s important to periodically create new reports. That way you can stay on top of trends, on changes, and can ensure that your company moves forward in the right direction. Creating a new business plan is also an excellent opportunity to analyze and reflect on your current business strategies and work on improving them.

You need to know where your weak points are if you can ever hope to succeed, which is why you should conduct a SWOT analysis as soon as possible. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and it can be vital to drafting a successful business plan. Without this analysis, you cannot move forward and you cannot fix areas that are holding you and your company back.

Improve Work Productivity

When you or your team waste too much time trying to find a document, you are being inefficient. This inefficiency means more important things are held off, that your money isn’t going towards bettering your company, and that you workforce is too slow. Instead, improve your systems to that work can be done quickly and easily. This means using management tools, and training your employees so that they use the same methods to store and retrieve data.

Other ways you can improve your productivity is to actually improve how well you treat your employees. For instance, having a great break room can actually help you improve how well they work when they are on the job. Further if you have cooking means so that your employees can bring food from home (even if it’s a ready-meal), it means that they aren’t wasting money eating out, and aren’t ruining their health with the fatty, salty foods that are available.

Other ways you can improve your employee’s productivity is to give them more incentive. When your employees see your success as theirs, they will work harder for you. Do this by making them feel valued. Give them rewards once they reach milestones, listen to their suggestions and give them genuine responses, and treat them every once in a while. Even something as simple as taking a team who has done well out for lunch can help boost morale and make your office a great place to be. The more you care about your employees, the more they will care about you.

Save Money Wherever You Can

It is a huge mistake to simply accept the first product or replacement that a supplier offers you. By rule, they will want to sell you the most expensive option they have. They want to do this because it means better business for them, but it isn’t a good way to run your business more effectively. Instead, take quotes from several suppliers or businesses, and always try to haggle down.

A great way to save money is by doing price comparisons. That way you get the best deal, even if the product is the same. That is why businesses should visit Side By Side Reviews. That way you can ensure to get the best deal.

Getting the best deal in other areas of business, however, requires a lot of cunning and negotiation. One of the best ways to do this is to be extremely effective in your networking. People help out their friends, and when you network effectively, you become friends with all the right people. Remember to be genuine, and to offer help first. You cannot expect others to do favors for you when you are not willing to do the same in return.

Build a Community

When it comes to your customers, the notion of networking remains the same. You need to be genuine, you need to have a certain “personality” and you need to give before you can hope for them to buy from you. If you don’t work on building relationships with your customers, then you are working extra hard for each and every sale.

Build a community that not only like your products or services, but who also enjoy you as a company. Many companies have seen their public image increase substantially from good PR. Have an effective enough company persona, and people will follow your social accounts for the joy of it. When that happens, you benefit from word-of-mouth, from increased SEO, and from becoming a household name.

Build a community, because when you do you have a circle of repeat customers and a circle of those who will recommend you to their friends and family. Word-of-mouth advertising is the most effective way to get new sales, because we trust our friends. In order to nurture this community, you need to provide great content and even better customer service.

How you treat your customers will dictate how well you are received, but you need to remember that customers are rather savvy; if you are a large business without any bad reviews, for instance, you are immediately suspicious. Don’t delete the negative reviews you receive, but instead respond to them in a courteous manner. This is especially important in a public forum, because it shows other potential customers how well you deal with complaints.

Being a more effective business means working better – it could even mean working less! Don’t bog your business down with inefficient policies or out-of-date practices. Reevaluate, and innovate.

3 Simple Steps to Immediately Improve Your Business and Life

If you want something done right, you do not have to do it yourself. The cliché about this is wrong — unless that something is the thing that you do best. This might sound counterintuitive but DIY can be a trap for small business owners who wear too many hats. The only hat they should wear is the one that focuses on the core of their business.

Doing anything else is a waste of time, and time is the most important startup capital small-business owners have. Still, many of them do know how valuable their time is, and it’s worth much more than they realize.

The following three things are easy steps you can take right now to address the No. 1 problem most small-business owners face: time and resource management. These steps apply whether you’re trying to build the next Facebook or just balance your life better so you can spend more time with the people you care about.

1) Realize that “cheap” is not the same as “efficient”: It might be cheap to do something yourself, but unless it’s something you’re an expert at it’s probably not efficient. You have to put a price on an hour of your time to better understand what you should and should not be doing. Otherwise, you’re wasting a lot of it — and that’s something no business can afford. Time is worth much more than money. Luckily, the age we live in offers more opportunities than ever to build a team of experts on a tight budget. Once you have, you’ll be able to focus on what’s most important.

2) Embrace the idea that little is the new large: Things just keep getting better for David while they get worse for Goliath. Today, being small and dexterous is the biggest advantage anyone can have — and many Fortune 500 companies can’t do keep up. Small businesses can compete with bigger competition in ways they never could before. All it takes is adopting the new tools that are available. Do so and you’ll race past your bigger and slower competition and take their market share. Let them be the modern-day equivalent textile weavers in the eighteenth century. The only way to survive is to stay nimble and forward-thinking. Strive to be the first in your niche to automate what used to be costly and tedious.

3) Harness the new value chain: New technology and the old wisdom of the assembly line go quite well together. It allows you to build a team that’s more efficient, cost-effective, and profitable than you may have thought possible. It allows you to build and lead a team that is never doing mindless labor. Once you have the right people in the right place — including yourself — each person will help your business grow more efficient than ever before because they will all be doing work specific to their skill sets, as well as the needs of your business. The promise of the digital age is being realized with affordable human and technological resources just a click away. Now, even the smallest business can afford to hire a receptionist, a bookkeeper, and a personal assistant at pennies on the dollar compared to what it used to cost. Outsource all your small yet important jobs. Never work on your website again. Hire an expert to do it. Never write a brochure again or send a tweet (unless you love tweeting). Sites such as Upwork have thousands of freelancers who can do all of this and more — and they’ll do it better than you can. That’s a blessing, too, because it means you can focus on making your business the best it can be.

Small-business owners rarely fail because of a lack of effort, will, or talent. Far too often, they fail because they fall into the DIY trap. Sometimes all it takes to go to the next level is managing your time and resources better. Take these steps today and you’ll see immediate improvement in your bottom line and your personal life.


About the Author

Justin E. Crawford is the founder of Agents of Efficiency and author of the international bestselling book, Live Free or DIY. Justin has been featured in over 200 major media outlets, writing and speaking regularly on the issues of growth hacking and startup & small business operational process refinement.

3 Reasons to Automate Your Business in 2015

If you’ve added ‘being more efficient’ to your list of New Year’s resolutions recently, you may be struggling to find ways to generate more productivity with little effort. Chances are, the solution (and the problem) is literally right in front of you. Your mouse and keyboard are major sources of inefficiency. Communicating with colleagues, manipulating spreadsheets, entering customer information into a CRM… these are all examples of time-consuming manual processes that can be done better and faster by someone (or something) other than you.

If your idea of fun is copying and pasting text all day then by all means, continue doing what you’re doing. But we’ve got some thoughts on why you should at least consider ways to automate business processes in your organization and be more efficient in 2015.


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About the Author

Richard MilamRichard Milam, Founder and CEO of EnableSoft Incorporated (www.enablesoft.com). EnableSoft, is engaged in offering game changing software products and services to the business and financial services industry, healthcare and a dozen other markets. EnableSoft serves over 500 corporate clients worldwide. Prior to founding EnableSoft in 1995, Richard was a partner and served as Senior Vice President of FiTech PLUSmark, Inc. Richard designed and implemented a business plan to offer bank merger data conversion services which resulted in the successful merger of over 50 financial institutions.