An employee is not like a computer. You can’t just get more productivity by adding RAM, or a new hard drive, or a faster graphics card. Humans simply don’t work that way. With a computer, you are mostly just interested in number-crunching productivity. That is not at all the case for employees.
Productivity is a multifaceted idea. It is not just one thing. It is not enough to say you want to maximize productivity without defining what that means. Do you want the most out of your employees, or the best? Believe it or not, those are not even the only options.
There are a lot of workers who are extremely productive. They stay very busy and push a lot of paper. But they may not be the most valuable employee in the company. Employee value cannot be limited to a single metric. Here are a few ways to get the most from your employees, and the different ways productivity can be measured:
The Most Motivation
All too often, your most productive employee is not the best at the job, but the most motivated. No one maintains high levels of motivation all the time. Motivation comes in fits and starts. Self-motivation only takes one so far. There is a lot you can do to provide that little extra that makes all the difference.
Companies like EDCO provide custom trophies and awards that managers can use to motivate a team. This method works especially well for short-term projects. It is all about recognition. Some people will work harder for the recognition of their peers than they will for a monetary bonus.
Everyone in the company makes money. But only a few get their name on the big trophy in the hallway, or the plaque of achievement on the wall. Some people are greatly motivated when there is an end in sight, and a tangible reward within reach. If you want to see a mediocre worker outperform a superstar, just provide the right motivation.
The Most Production
Sometimes it is not a matter of the best, but the most. It is not easy to get the most from a person who is paid an hourly flat rate. Increasing productivity from a team may be best achieved with cold, hard, cash.
You can augment the base income with production pay. You get a $10 bonus for every 100 units you do. Earn a bigger bonus by completing more units. Cash is not the only thing that will work in this situation. Sales spiffs like gift certificates work just as well.
You can motivate a team by offering a team bonus such as a trip, a celebratory dinner, or a paid day off for the winning crew. These types of incentives will not necessarily net you the highest quality units. But when quality isn’t really a factor, this incentive will almost certainly net you the greatest quantity.
The Most Quality
If you want the highest quality work, you are going to need something more important than money. You are going to have to find a way to tap into an employee’s pride. A person will achieve greater heights for pride than they ever would for money alone. Just ask athletes trying to get into the Hall of Fame.
Athletes will play while injured long after they have achieved their bonus. The reason is they want to win. Make your employees want to win. Let it be known that a particular team is responsible for an important project. Mention them by name. Suddenly, their personal standing is on the line.
Give an employee a sideways promotion that gives them more prominent responsibility. The thing about spotlights is that they demand performance. Put your workers in a favorable spotlight, and they will show you what they are made of, and remind you of why you hired them in the first place. If you want the best from your employees, shine a light on their work. And let them take a well-deserved bow.
Motivating your employees is just a matter of the right incentive. Maximizing production is a matter of showing appreciation for effort. And getting the most quality is a matter of tapping into pride in a job well done. Be the most you can be as a manager, and you will always get the most out of those who work for you.