Boosting Employee Productivity and Morale

Employers need happy and productive workers. Yet if employees don’t have autonomy, the freedom to make mistakes, learning and growth opportunities, a sense of mission, etc., morale and productivity often plummets.

Two Sides of the Improved Productivity Coin

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This post offers productivity tips. Yet, in addition to tips on what to do, we’re also going to offer tips on what not to do because positive morale and high  productivity often are results of the “don’t” as much as it is of the “do.”

What Not to Do

  • Stop skipping breaks.

We know how it is: your workers are on a roll, they have “just” an hour or two left on this project and even though they’ve been working on it for two hours already, they’re loathe to take a break because they worried they’ll “lose momentum.”

Make sure they take the break! It’s not true that momentum trumps rest. Instead, even just “stand up and walk around” breaks help our brains relax and rejuvenate and “improve focus.” Try it yourself. You’ll be amazed at how new ideas pop into your head when you resume the task and how much energy you’ve regained.

  • Stop with the meetings! (So MANY meetings!)

Researchers at UNC Charlotte found that executives (in this research) spend up to as much as 23 hours a week in meetings. How much deliverable work or “output” actually gets DONE in meetings? We believe pretty much none. Instead, encourage walk-and-talk meetings. Not only will meeting-goers get a bit of a break from sitting, but meetings will be much shorter and ideas may flow as a result of the short exercise session.

  • One word: stop!

Many of us believe we do well – if not very well – on tasks we do at the same time. This is a myth. In fact, multitasking, according to Stanford University professor Clifford Nass (a multitasking expert), instead produces people with low attention spans.

  • Stop aiming for the perfect.

Good enough is…good enough! Perfectionists tend to have lower productivity. Instead, help your employees embrace the “good enough.” Note that we’re not talking “Ok” or “so-so.” We mean “good,” just not “perfect.”

  • Email can wait; stop checking it constantly.

Checking email more than three times a day makes us less productive. It can wait. If necessary, encourage your workers to let people know that they check email at set times each day and only then. (Doing so lets people emailing them know why replies aren’t instant.)

What to Do

  • Help your employees learn to relax…after work.

People who constantly think about work after work never really are away from work. Which makes it pretty much impossible to relax after work hours.

You can help your workers relax after hours by helping them create a “closing down” process every time they get ready to leave the office. Do so and don’t be surprised if productivity at work increases because they’ve been able to truly decompress once they leave for home.

  • Encourage employees to take short “exercise” breaks.

And what we mean by exercise is a walk around the block (or three), some stretching for a few minutes, perhaps some deep knee bends at their desk or even some pushups. Short exercise bursts are proven to rejuvenate people and help them focus. In fact, you might consider allowing employees to exercise on the clock for at least 30 minutes a day for terrific results.

  • Help your employees work in chunks of no more than 90-minutes at a time.

Florida State University researchers found that those who do so tend to be more productive than those who work in intervals of 90 minutes or more.

  • Encourage employees to minimize interruptions.

Concentrated work takes….concentration, and having a friendly colleague pop by for a quick chat can ruin that focus. So make it Ok for employees to shut an office door, make offices available for cube-farm workers who need some quiet time, etc.

Are your employees overwhelmed with work and therefore finding it hard to get all that needs to get done done well? If so, you may need to bring on more people.

Helpmates can provide you workers for short-term assignments, long-term needs. Contact the branch office nearest you and speak to one of our recruiters.

 

 

 

Got Ghosts? Here’s How to Bust Them

A turbocharged economy has drastically reduced unemployment and created a buyer’s market for jobs. This state of affairs has given rise to a new phenomenon in recruiting, and a new word has entered the recruiting lexicon to describe it: ghosting.

It happens when a job candidate – or even someone who’s accepted your job offer – simply drops from sight. They’ve become a ghost.

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It can happen at any stage of the recruiting process.

  • The recruiter may try to get in touch with the person without any response. No return call. Nothing.
  • Or the person may be scheduled for a job interview and not show up. No notice, no explanation. Again, simply dropping from sight.
  • Or the person may actually be hired but fail to show up for their first day of work. Here again, there is no warning, no communication. The person just disappears.

It’s happening more often because there is such a labor crunch. Employers are struggling more than ever to find qualified people. As a result, top people are often receiving more than one offer. They have options. And, although it may not be the most professional approach, some have a cavalier attitude toward employers, dropping them without a second thought if something better comes along.

If you are an employer, what can you do so that you don’t fall victim to ghosting? Simply put, you need to take care of your job candidates. They need to feel that the company values them and their time. They need to be treated well, just like a customer.

Communication is important. The company needs to stay in contact with candidates and keep them up to date on status status – where they stand in relation to other applicants, what comes next in the process and when, how long the whole thing is expected to take.

Companies can no longer afford to keep candidates in the dark or impose on their time by dragging out the hiring process. If a firm does this, top prospects will simply go elsewhere. It’s all about giving job candidates a good experience.

To begin with, you need to reexamine every step of the hiring process, from the time a job candidate makes first contact, through the interviewing process and onboarding.

  1. Recruiting

To prevent ghosting, you need to attract candidates who are a good fit for the job. So you need to make sure your job descriptions are current and accurately describe the kinds of skills and experience needed to be successful. Skip the boilerplate and describe what is really involved in the job.

  1. Interviewing

Hiring managers need to prepare for the interview just like candidates. First of all, hiring managers need to be clear exactly what skills, knowledge and experience they’re looking for and interview questions should reflect that so that they produce the information needed. All of the candidates should answer the same questions to provide a basis for comparison.

Hiring managers also need to ask questions about company culture and soft skills, the person’s ability to communicate, collaborate, their work ethic, and resilience.

Doing all of this will help ensure that you find candidates who are a good fit for the job and the culture, which will make it less likely that they’ll ghost you.

  1. Onboarding

The onboarding process should give new hires the orientation they need to make a good start at the company. That means welcoming them, introducing them to people in their department, reviewing the duties and expectations of the job, preparing their workspace with everything they will need, and being available to answer questions or concerns they may have.

  1. Employee engagement

Ghosting also occurs after an employee has been working with you for awhile. If you have employees who are engaged and excited about their work, there is little chance they will leave without notice (ghost). To cultivate engaged employees, you need to show you value them and their work. Younger workers, especially millennials, want frequent feedback on how they are doing and what they need to work on.

To improve employee engagement, you need to recognize employees for their work and reward it, provide opportunities for growth in their careers and offer training opportunities, such as mentoring.

All of these things will make for employees who enjoy their work, thus helping you retain them.

Have you just been ghosted? Need to “bust” that departure quickly? Then call Helpmates! We can have one of our associates with the skills you need at your location quickly….and ready to get to work! Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information.

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