Employee disengagement is a phenomenon that negatively impacts productivity and business outcomes. A Gallup poll found that only 34 percent of workers are engaged at work. A majority of workers are not fully engaged, and businesses need to look for ways to maximize productivity.
Gallup also found that management style was responsible for 70 percent of the variance in employee engagement. Strong leadership that promotes motivation, success, innovation and communication is the key to boosting productivity and outcomes.
Here are some strategies leaders can adopt to improve productivity and engagement.
Choosing The Right Framework For Decision-Making And Project Management
You need to adopt a framework for making decisions about how you select the projects your team will work on and how you will approach these projects. Include risk assessment into this framework as well as steps you can take to assess the workload and establish a reasonable timeframe.
There are different approaches to project management. The key is to find a project management strategy that doesn’t slow you down:
- The Kaizen framework is about identifying opportunities, finding solutions, tracking results and turning what works into new standards your team can follow.
- Kanban boards are another popular trend. These visual organization tools help you track progress and prioritize tasks.
- There are many other physical and digital tools to explore. Look for a solution that is easy to follow and that encourages innovation and continuous improvement.
Tasks And Goals
As a team leader, one of your key responsibilities is to assign tasks and set clear goals and expectations. The goals you set need to reflect clear expectations in terms of:
- The outcome.
- The quality of the work done.
- The time you expect team members to spend on tasks.
- The deadline.
Setting goals and assigning tasks isn’t about micromanaging. You need to strike a balance between providing these clear expectations and creating an environment where team members feel autonomous.
A project management platform is the best way to track progress for remote teams, but short one-on-one conversations with team members are a more time-effective way to check in on their progress. These quick check-ins are also an opportunity to provide encouragement and strengthen connections and communication within your team.
Productivity And Company Culture
If you want to maximize productivity, change needs to come from management. You need to create a company culture that is beneficial to employee morale. For starters, 40 percent of Americans say they would put more energy into their job if they felt recognized.
It’s important to recognize hard work and celebrate small victories. As a leader, you can encourage autonomy, respect, communication and self-care to boost morale and ultimately engagement and productivity.
Your attitude as a leader is important, but there are other things that will impact company culture:
- Hiring the right team members.
- The training opportunities you offer.
- The perks offered to employees, such as bonuses based on performance.
- Whether or not employees feel safe about speaking up and making suggestions.
Rethink Your Workflow And Work Environment
Maximize productivity by standardizing the way you approach your projects. If you don’t have a framework for breaking down projects into smaller steps and tracking progress, mapping your ideal workflow should be a priority.
Here are a few tips for building a better workflow:
- Employees are more productive when working in intervals of 90 minutes or 52 minutes, depending on the source. Keep this timeframe in mind when breaking down projects into smaller tasks.
- Build a more connected workflow by using a digital collaboration tool or organizational tools.
- Identify tasks that can be automated to lighten your team’s workload.
Adopting a more flexible work environment can have a positive impact on happiness and productivity. You will find the highest engagement rate among employees who spend between 60 and 80 percent of their time working remotely.
Look into adopting flexible hours, remote work or hiring freelancers to bring in new talent to your team for specific projects.
Communication And Productivity
You can maximize productivity by adopting time-effective communication channels and strategies. It’s estimated that American workers spend on average an hour a day in meetings. Rethink the way you communicate with your teams.
A weekly meeting can help keep everyone in the loop, but make sure you have clear objectives for each meeting and share in the information team members need to prepare for the meeting. Standing meetings are a new trend that you should think about adopting.
Instead of sitting down, team members stand up for a shorter and more dynamic meeting. You should also encourage open communication within your team and organize feedback sessions. Providing team members with new digital communication channels can help with productivity if they are spending a lot of time on emails.
A shared inbox is a great way to keep everyone on the same page, and an IM client can improve productivity if there is a need for quick responses.
Prioritize Work-Life Balance
Did you know that a million employees miss work each day due to health reasons? These missed days are often linked to stress. Team members need to get downtime in the evenings and during weekends. They will be more engaged if they get time off regularly.
Establish clear expectations about communication outside of regular business hours and how much time team members should dedicate to tasks. Block some time in your calendar for key tasks and encourage team members to do the same.
Team members who are expected to always stay in touch with colleagues and to put in long hours at work are more likely to experience burnout and to become disengaged. Finding this ideal work-life balance might mean that you will have to reduce the number and scope of projects that your team takes on.
Team Building Matters
Don’t neglect team-building activities! Maximize productivity by creating strong connections between team members. Your team members shouldn’t hesitate to help each other and should feel safe about speaking up. You can foster this positive work environment through team-building activities:
- Outdoor activities are a great way to relax and boost productivity.
- Find activities that will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of each team member.
- Team-building activities will give you a better idea of what motivates team members and how you can get them excited about your current project.
- Look for activities that promote creativity, develop confidence and encourage collaboration
- You can combine team-building activities with training opportunities.
Do You Need A Digital Policy?
There are some pros and cons to consider. On the one hand, 65 percent of employees say they use the internet for non-work activities during their workday. Checking personal emails and social media can negatively impact productivity.
However, there is a case to be made for trust and autonomy. Wasting time on these activities might also be the symptom of a workplace that doesn’t challenge and engage its employees rather than the cause.
Adopting a digital policy that restricts social media and personal email usage can be beneficial, but you might find that adopting a culture based on recognition and autonomy will result in employees no longer seeking these distractions at work.
Remember that your role as a leader goes much further than assigning tasks and tracking progress on your current project. You can set an example in terms of engagement, influence team members’ attitude and foster productivity and autonomy by trusting your team members and recognizing their hard work.
Your approach to increasing engagement at work should be adapted to the unique needs of your business and industry. HJR Global can help you identify the obstacles responsible for disengagement and low productivity in your organization and offer guidance in areas such as HR and employee management strategies.