perfect1Each day starts with best of intentions. There are deadlines to meet, essential work to be finished, important business meetings & phone calls and short and long-term projects to be started. As the day comes to a closure and we are wrapping up to leave, we discover that barely a fraction of what we had on our to-do list has been accomplished. As a result we make a mental note to come in early the next day, stay late, and work at weekends as well. Yes, we are busy, but are we productive?

A professional is hired for one reason, i.e., he demonstrates the potential to be productive at work. So now you are there in a cubicle, facing a computer with the expectation that you will do something good for the company. Do you feel like being stuck at work sometimes? Would you like to be more productive and feel a greater sense of accomplishment at the end of each day? Well you can. It just takes a desire and commitment to renew your habits and routines.

A productive environment leads to productive employees. The article below is divided into two parts. This week we will give an insight on why a productive environment is necessary to motivate and make employees industrious at work while next week we will focus on how can employees themselves inculcate productivity in their profession.

Why is a productive environment necessary?

Employees produce good results when their managers treat them well and the organization pays special attention to their professional needs. So the question arises: What do most talented, productive employees need from a workplace?

Good managers recognize employees as individuals and do not treat everyone at a collective level. They don’t try to “fix” people and their weaknesses; instead, they excel at turning talent into performance. The key to productivity is to make fewer promises to your employees and then strive to keep all of them.

What does a great workplace look like? Gallup took the challenge and eventually formulated the following questions:

The Twelve Questions to Measure the Strength of a Workplace:

  1. Do I know what is expected of me at my job?
  2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  3. Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best everyday?
  4. In the past seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing well?
  5. Does anybody at my job place seem to care about me as a person?
  6. Is there anyone, may it be a supervisor or a colleague, who encourages my development?
  7. Do my opinions seem to count at my workplace?
  8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel that my job is important?
  9. Are my co-workers committed to accomplishing excellence while performing their job responsibilities?
  10. Do I have a best friend at the organization I’m an employee of?
  11. Has someone at work talked to me about my progress in the last six months?
  12. This last year, has my job given me an opportunity to learn and grow?

The results yielded that the employees who responded positively to the 12 questions worked in business units with higher levels of productivity, profit, employee retention and customer satisfaction. It was also discovered that it is the employees’ immediate manager, and not the pay, benefits, perks or charismatic corporate leader, who plays the critical role in building a strong workplace. So it implies that people leave managers, not companies. This means that if your relationship with your immediate manager is fractured, no amount of company-sponsored daycare will persuade you to stay and perform.

Relationship between managers, employees & companies:

According to the Gallup survey:

  • A bad manager can scare away talented employees, hence, draining the company of its power and value. The top executives are often unaware of what is happening down at the frontlines.
  • An individual achiever may not necessarily be a good manager; companies should take care not to over-promote.
  • Organizations should hold managers accountable for employees’ response to these 12 questions.
  • They should also let each manager know what actions to take in order to deserve positive responses from his employees because an employee’s perception of the physical environment is colored by his relationship with his manager.

Bring out the best:

The Great Manager Mantra is:  People don’t like to change that much. Don’t waste time trying to put in what is left out. Try to draw out what is left in.

Managers are catalysts:

As a catalyst, the manager speeds up the reaction between the employee’s talents and the achievement of company’s goals and objectives. In order to warrant positive responses from his employees, a manager must:

  1. Select a person
  2. Set expectations
  3. Motivate the person
  4. Develop the person

Why does every role, performed at excellence, require talent?

Great managers define talent as “a recurring pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied”, or the behavior one finds oneself doing often. The key to excellent performance is: matching the right talent with the required role to be played.

“Excellence is impossible to achieve without natural talent.”

Every individual is unique and everyone has his/her own personality accompanied by a dignity and self respect to go with it. Without talent, no amount of new skills or knowledge can help an employee in unanticipated situations. In the words of great managers, every role performed at excellence deserves respect; every role has its own nobility.

Comfortable environment:

In today’s competitive corporate world, it is becoming increasingly important to focus on the appearance of the workplace. With a mounting number of people spending more time in their offices, the physical comfort, visual appeal and accessibility of their workplace has gained ever more importance. Wouldn’t it make far better sense to retain valuable employees by making small, yet meaningful, aesthetic adjustments to their work environments?

Studies have shown that employers, who care about their employees and their work environment, have fashioned more motivated and productive people. There is a strong relationship between motivation and productivity at the workplace. Employees who are inspired will be more diligent, responsible and eventually, more industrious.

Well lit, airy & clean:

Employees spend 6 to 8 hours at their workplace every day which makes a workplace their second home. It is up to the employers to see and make sure that the office is fully facilitated and is in good working order. It must be well lit and well ventilated with the right amount of lights, fans, air-conditioning. Cleanliness is of utmost importance as there are a huge number of workers working at a job place. The offices, cubicles, rest area, washrooms, kitchen & serving area must be neat and clean. The more comfortable the working environment is more productive will be the employees.

Safety measures:

An employer must make sure that he provides a safe environment to his/her employee. The security measures outside office include security guards and parking facility. While inside the office, there must be introduced a safe environment for male and female employees to work so that if an employee has to work late hours she/he should feel safe and comfortable working in his/her office. There must be no discrimination or harassment practiced and the employee should be given equal opportunity to grow as an individual despite being male or female.

The power of recognition:

Acknowledgment is a powerful motivator. If you praise your employees and acknowledge their efforts they will feel better about themselves and about the hard work they have put in.

The saga of raise:

Sometime back it was believed that a “salary increase” is the most obvious tool for encouraging employees to work hard. Today several studies have discredited the idea. Employees do not become more productive simply because they are paid more. After all, employees do not calculate the monetary value of every action they perform. Studies show that while a raise makes employees happy, there is an abundance of other things that can accomplish the same thing.

The power of praise:

A pat on the shoulder can produce wonders. For effective management, a manager must recognize that fairness and leadership alone cannot inspire his staff to work hard. Deep inside all of us, we crave for being appreciated. Praise is an affirmation that an employee did something right, and every time he receives compliments in the workplace he pushes harder to receive the same avowal the next time around.

The importance of incentives:

Incentives even with no monetary value are just as important as praise. Incentive can be categorized as, praise with a physical form. It is actually a reward for a job well done. Managers tend to ignore the importance of non-monetary incentives while these have been found to dramatically increase employee’s sense of worth in relation to actual work accomplished. They could be company logo mugs or shirts or business card holders, no matter what you decide to give to your employees as an incentive, never lose sight of the need to recognize their efforts, whether verbally or through small office gifts.

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