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14 Strategies That Can Help Improve Efficiency of Employees

Is your workplace productivity in a slump? If you’re trying to improve efficiency in the workplace, identifying the things that are getting in the way and improving the overall workplace setup can help. Improving employee performance and productivity can push your company forward.

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Why improve work efficiency?

Work efficiency is another way of talking about productivity — how much work your employees get done with both speed and accuracy.You can measure productivity to assess where you are now and monitor your improvement. This can also help you identify the problems that are making it difficult for employees to be efficient.

Efficiency is important because it’s cost-effective and gives your company more value. A highly efficient workplace means you’re getting a lot of value out of the efforts your employees are putting into their work. In other words, you’re getting your money’s worth for the salary you’re paying them.

When your employees are efficient, projects meet deadlines consistently without sacrificing production quality. There’s not a lot of waste of time or resources when everything is done efficiently. High work efficiency can help you improve your bottom line due to higher revenue and less waste.

1. Create an ideal environment

The work environment sets the tone for your employees and can affect how efficient they are. Positive work environments boost morale and can improve how efficiently your employees work. The physical environment is also a factor. A spacious, brightly lit space makes it easier to be productive and feel motivated. Find ways to bring in natural light, invigorating colors and plants. Create flexible workspaces with comfortable seating and various types of desks. Having quiet areas for people who get distracted easily is one example of a space that can support productivity.

2. Utilize employees’ skills well

Employees often have a range of skills beyond the scope of the job for which they were hired. Getting to know their additional experience, skills and talents can help you better delegate duties. This comes with observing employees and talking to them and their supervisors.

Employees are hired for certain positions, but those roles often overlap. Forcing someone to do something just because it’s in their job description can hurt work efficiency. Having fluid job duties with the option to shift responsibilities can help you make use of everyone’s skills.

3. Establish goals and expectations

Clear goals give employees a guide as they work on their projects. Developing SMART goals for your employees ensures the goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based. This breakdown makes the goals easier to understand.

You also need to communicate your expectations for behavior, performance and efficiency. Improving employee performance requires your employees to understand what you want from them. For example, your shipping department needs to know your expectations for how long it should take to pack an order so they can shoot for those averages.

4. Provide clear communication

Poor communication or not knowing what managers expect can interfere with productivity. Employees might assume they know what you want but go in the wrong direction, or they might second-guess themselves if you don’t answer their questions or give them guidance.

Ensure you’re communicating your goals and expectations clearly. Encourage employees to ask questions, and respond quickly when they do. Having established communication expectations and various communication channels can help you manage these interactions.

Keep in mind that too much communication can also interfere with the efficiency of your employees. If you’re constantly stopping by their offices or sending them emails, the interruptions take them away from their work and interfere with their concentration. Limit communications to important information to support productivity.

5. Automate when possible

With so many automation tools available, it’s easier than ever to reduce the number of repetitive tasks your employees have to do. Automation software is available for various tasks, including collecting customer data, responding to customer chats, completing payroll, gathering metrics, managing tasks, tracking time, sending communications and generating reports. Your employees might still have to do part of the tasks or follow up on the automated activities, but these programs can save a lot of time. Automation can also help improve compliance with various regulations and cut down on human errors.

6. Cut unnecessary activities

Some activities interfere with productivity. A perfect example is scheduling too many meetings that don’t have a real purpose. Review your meeting schedules and evaluate how productive those meetings are compared to how they interrupt work efficiency. Review other activities that have little value. Determine if some of the activities can be eliminated completely or shortened to save time.

7. Provide tools and resources

Staying on top of new trends, advancements and technology in your field can help your employees stay productive. They need the proper tools, software and other equipment to do their jobs. Replacing older or outdated equipment can increase efficiency. Chat with employees to find out if you’re missing any items that could make their jobs easier.

Remote employees might have different needs. They might feel disconnected from the rest of the team, so better communication and collaboration tools could help them. An employee with a weak internet connection might need a mobile hotspot that speeds up their work.

8. Create training opportunities

While training might seem like an unnecessary expense, it can add skills to your workforce that help to improve efficiency overall. For instance, an employee who attends a training for a new software program can put that program into practice or teach other employees how to use it. If employees don’t have the experience or skills to perform one or more of their job duties, find a training solution that gives them that information. Make training an ongoing perk that your employees get to keep their skills sharp.

9. Ditch the micromanagement

Micromanagement in the workplace hurts employee motivation and takes ownership of projects away from them. When you trust employees and empower them to handle their job duties, they can work much faster. Less micromanaging also encourages your employees to be innovative and share their ideas, which can help improve how you do things.

10. Offer incentives

Everyone can use a little extra motivation at work. Feeling like someone notices your efforts can be a boost to morale. Simple things like acknowledging employees’ efforts can motivate them to be highly productive. Incentive ideas to improve efficiency include things like extra paid time off, cash bonuses, casual days and free meals. You can hand out these incentives randomly or create a formal incentive program.

Another way to incentivize employees is by promoting from within. Seeing current employees getting new opportunities can motivate other staff members to improve their performance so they can have similar opportunities.

11. Give and receive feedback

Employees who receive constructive feedback about their performance know what to continue and what to improve. Regular performance reviews help your staff get feedback, but reviews are typically infrequent. Improving employee performance can be more effective when you give continuous, informal feedback. When you notice an employee doing something more efficiently than others, point it out to them. If they’re not meeting your expectations, tell them clearly how they need to improve to meet your standards.

You also need to receive feedback from employees to improve efficiency. Your employees know the roadblocks to productivity in the workplace. They might have suggestions for speeding up processes or eliminating those roadblocks. By asking for and listening to feedback, you can make changes to processes that can help with efficiency.

12. Offer flexible work options

When you offer flexible work arrangements, you let employees decide how they work most efficiently. For some employees, that might be working from home to cut their commute and eliminate distractions in the office. For others, it might mean shifting their working hours slightly to fit the times when they’re most productive or to fit their personal schedule.

Being flexible with employees can also reduce stress and make them happier, which can improve efficiency. An employee who can come into work a little later can get their child to school worry-free and still fulfill their work duties. Happy, less-stressed employees can focus on their work and might be more likely to stay with a company that values them.

13. Keep employees happy

Focusing on employee satisfaction can help you improve efficiency. Employees who feel valued and are generally happy with their responsibilities are often more productive. Conducting employee satisfaction surveys can help you gauge the current happiness levels and get suggestions for improving how your employees feel about work.

Employee satisfaction also improves retention, which affects productivity. If you have a low turnover rate, you can keep things consistent. Employees become more comfortable with their duties and colleagues learn to work well together. You don’t have downtime that comes when you’re replacing employees who leave.

One way to boost employee satisfaction is by addressing burnout. Encourage your employees to use their PTO and completely disconnect from the office when they’re away. If you notice an employee who seems overwhelmed, discuss their workload, deadlines and responsibilities to see if they need to be adjusted. Some employees might need additional mental health support to overcome burnout, so make it easy to access those resources.

14. Work on team building

Even when employees have individual job duties, their responsibilities often overlap. For example, a software tester relies on a software developer to get the new program out quickly. The developer relies on clear, detailed bug reports when the tester finds issues. Strong communication is essential throughout the process.

Incorporating team-building efforts into your company’s goals can help develop those relationships. When employees feel like a team, they can work more efficiently together. They learn how to interact with different colleagues to get things done faster. Team-building activities can also improve employee satisfaction and support employee retention.

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