Understanding your Organization to Increase Productivity
Asking employees to work additional hours in the evening will not make them more productive - it will simply increase burnout. A good leader gets this and understands how to align employee engagement activities with intrinsic motivation to get employees to work harder and smarter.
1. Use your data.
If you don't think you have time to work with a consultant or go through a rigorous program to learn how to motivate employees. That's fair. Instead, think about these concepts that could help your management team to understand your workforce: If you are at all capable of creating feedback loops, utilizing data from surveys, performing stay and exit interviews, culling themes from performance reviews and development plans, and making use of demographic data gathered for compliance - you can build a highly informed motivation and retention program in just a few short months.
2. Leadership must ask questions and say "I don't know" sometimes.
I can't stress enough that successful people are not born that way. These people, these leaders, know how to get things done, who to keep in their corner, and how to motivate others. They are smart enough to say "I don't know" are capable enough to remember who has the right answers. It's incredibly easy to ask employees questions...and then do something with that information.
3. Spend money on people and they will pay you back in dividends.
One of my clients has had incredible retention rates (nearly 97% over the past two years) despite the turmoil and chaos of a tumultuous industry. This client's leadership team is entirely unapologetic and unabashed about why people stay - they consistently focus on investing in people practices and professional development. They have meaningful work and like the work environment. Check out my list of clients, many successful small and large business leaders understand that they have to invest in employees in order to expect high levels of productivity from them. Great leaders don't question the Return on Investment (ROI) from employee retention and engagement.
Create a positive work environment
Recently, when working with a high profile client on their transformational program for women in leadership, they were proud to discuss how they utilize internally derived data to retain employees and maintain morale. They used information and concepts from The Energy Project, a program that helps organizations understand how to motivate the workforce. Check out a recent article in the May 30, 2014 New York Times entitled Why You Hate Work (Schwartz, T. & Porath, C., 2014) about The Energy Project concept and the impact of a positive work environment on productivity. I like this concept personally because it feels like a reasonable solution to finding more hours in the day. While I don't generally focus on a single concept as a solution with my clients, The Energy Project is pretty compelling (you are welcome, Tony Schwartz) to consider as part of a holistic solution for long term organization development.