All businesses want to be successful, and a productive workforce is imperative for this to happen.

By increasing the productivity of your workforce it is possible to increase output with the same resource, saving your business time and money. A productive workforce will complete tasks faster, with greater accuracy for an improved end product. To help you facilitate productivity, increase motivation and employee engagement we have looked at five ways you can create a more productive workforce…

1. Increase flexibility

Embracing flexible working can actually improve employee productivity. By allowing employees to work flexible hours or from home increases morale and is likely to motivate your staff. RobertHalf.co.uk reported, “The vast majority of UK employers took the view that it is necessary to offer flexible benefits, with 80 per cent saying the main objective of their choice plan is to stay competitive. More than half (55 per cent) claimed that these schemes also help from an employee engagement perspective – meaning they have the potential to improve levels of motivation, and in turn, productivity.” In fact, Research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals indicates that 85% of employees rate flexible benefits as very important.

Further to this, a report on DemandMetric.com found that businesses who have over 50% employee engagement manage to retain over 80% of their customers. This shows how flexible working helps businesses retain engaged staff, creating a happier and more productive workforce… 36% more productive to be precise.

2. Improve Accessibility

By making your business systems accessible to remote workers you can increase both accuracy and productivity. For instance, if a member of staff is at a client’s site and they have to wait until they’re in the office to update your system with notes, it is likely some information will be forgotten, or be inaccurate. Whereas if that employee was able to update your systems immediately from a mobile device you can be assured of timely accurate information. In fact, 76% of Chief Sales Officers think mobile CRM improves overall sales performance.

To facilitate this, you must modernise your IT. There are a variety of cloud and mobile business applications to choose from which allow your workforce to work remotely. Just as Microsoft state, “With more businesses moving functions to the cloud, your firm’s hardware must be able to cope. Employees who are sat waiting ten minutes for their PC to boot up in the morning are not productive workers.”

The use of cloud software and connected mobile solutions such as smartphones and tablets allow employees to keep working while they are away from the office.

3. Learn to collaborate

It is important that teams and departments work together toward the same goals. Software that facilitates collaboration by connecting all departments can significantly increase productivity. Creating new processes as part of a companywide strategy is key, and will ultimately simplify communication and enhance efficiency within the business.

In her recent acticle, Alix Hagan quoted Dr. Jaclyn Kostner, leadership effectiveness expert and CEO of Bridge the Distance, who stated, “…workforce teams that collaborate the most often are 36% more productive than teams with less collaboration. Companies that make increased and improved collaboration a top priority can see improvements across a number of departments or functional areas, including customer service, profitability, and employee engagement.”

4. Reward and Respond

Often the biggest driver for employees is feeling valued within the workplace, and offering positive feedback won’t cost you a thing. On the other hand, if employees do not receive positive feedback they can become unmotivated, less productive and eventually leave. Each time a skilled employee leaves it costs time and money to find a new untrained recruit, it can actually cost over £30K to replace a member of staff.

Make Their Day Research Firm found that 88% of employees say praise from their managers is extremely motivating, and 76% find praise from their peers to be incredibly encouraging. It’s important to recognise team work, but also individuals. The same found that 69% of employees find being recognized as an individual over a team to be more motivating.

By offering regular feedback you can encourage workers to go above and beyond their usual duties. As Elinor Robin explained on Entrepreneur.com, “Recognize and respond. Everyone appreciates positive feedback. And, once it becomes clear that you are willing and able to provide it, most employees will go the extra mile in order to get it.”

5. Set realistic targets

Setting realistic targets for both individuals and teams to reach is incredibly important, however, unrealistic targets can hinder your efforts to increase productivity. Targets that are too optimistic can burn out even the most motivated employees. Encourage them to go above and beyond by giving them the means to reach targets (point 2) and reward them when they do (point 4). You could even implement team incentives to encourage teamwork, communication and collaboration.

And finally… Develop your culture

To develop and create a happy and healthy work culture, you should aim to implement a combination of the above methods (if not all), as not one can work in isolation. By doing this, you will have happy and engaged employees that will bring a positive return on investment for businesses.

You might also be interested in our blog post, Reimagine Productivity with Dynamics 365.

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