Today’s businesses face innumerable challenges in their mission to grow and expand market share. The nature of many of those challenges tends to shift depending on the industry, but there are two that are common to all. The challenges I’m referring to are maintaining employee engagement and high productivity – and they’re two sides of the same coin that require some serious attention to keep at a high level.
To illustrate how tightly interwoven the two concepts are, consider that polling firm Gallup recently found that highly engaged employees are 17% more productive. That’s a boost that no firm can afford to ignore, particularly within industries already plagued by labor shortages and other business-threatening difficulties. The key to unlocking that boost is in understanding which strategies will have a positive effect on both goals, rather than helping elevate one without the other.
The good news is that it is possible to encourage engagement and productivity at the same time, through some simple and effective tactics. Here are three easy ways to do it.
Create Collaborative Workspaces
The first step every company should take to improve employee engagement and boost productivity is to introduce collaborative workspaces into the office environment. There’s a large body of research that indicates that people thrive when working with others towards a common goal. It’s even been demonstrated that creating the mere impression that collaboration is happening tends to improve motivation. For that reason, every effort should be made to create an environment that fosters teamwork, including plenty of quiet areas for individuals and pairs of employees to develop their ideas. It’s a best of both worlds approach that will keep employees, happy, motivated, and working at their best.
Encourage Communication With Technology
Today’s workforce is one that came of age with technology all around them. They’re comfortable with it, they expect it to be everywhere they go, and they make good use of the digital tools they’re given. To improve engagement and productivity, it’s a good idea to lean into that reality by providing state of the art digital communication and knowledge-sharing tools that everyone can access. Doing so removes the barriers between employees, departments, and even whole divisions of the companies that adopt such technology. It can provide a central knowledge repository as well as a means of accessing the experience and skills of the broader workforce instantly – both of which lead to better project outcomes, which are the linchpin of engagement and productivity.
Establish Two-Way Dialogues With Employees
Although it should go without saying, one of the best – and simplest – ways a company can increase both employee engagement and productivity is to work hard to establish and nurture ongoing dialogue between management and staff. In other words, checking in on employees to see how their work is going and to provide support whenever required goes a long way toward making employees feel valued and satisfied with their jobs. It also makes it possible for managers to remove barriers to productivity the moment they arise, rather than waiting until they blossom into full-blown crises. Both outcomes tend to enhance engagement and productivity and building those dialogues should be a central part of every manager’s responsibilities.
Worth The Effort
As you can see, the tactics outlined here are simple to implement and easy to maintain over the long term. None require major overhauls of the way companies operate, yet provide excellent benefits to both employee engagement and productivity. At a time when competition is fierce throughout the economic spectrum and every moment of every workday matters, even a slight improvement can mean the difference between success and failure.
It’s important to realize, of course, that these steps are just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of other ways to drive further increases in engagement and productivity. With the above basics in place, though, the groundwork should be laid to evolve a bigger and more thorough strategy to meet these twin essential goals. That makes them more than worth the effort as good first steps – and as a foundation to build upon.