We can all agree that 2020 hasn’t been the year we all hoped it to be. It’s been a rollercoaster to say the least, and many organizations around the world have suffered economically.
According to research from Durham Business School “It seems likely that the UK will follow the same pattern as post-2007 but with deeper ‘cuts’ in productivity and a longer recovery time to follow.”
However, it’s not too late to turn things around. Although we are having to do more with less, the one thing that will affect productivity is your people. Now is the time to invest in them because they will be the ones to push your organization forward.
Giving clarity to employees, listening to them and having good manager-employee relationships will help improve employee performance and engagement, which will improve productivity overall. However, a recent study by Mind Gym found that:
One in five workers don’t know what’s going on day to day with their team
Two-thirds of workers claim their manager has made things worse or had no impact on their performance during lockdown
A third of the workforce have been less productive whilst working from home during lockdown.
To optimise productivity and engagement in the “new normal,” we’ve created a 5 Step High Productivity Model which outlines key areas you should focus on. The details of the productivity model are explained in our eBook on “Maximizing productivity in the new normal.”
Let’s discuss through some of the key themes that the 5-step productivity model covers in our eBook:
A productive workforce requires clear meaningful and motivational goals
When employees have meaningful and motivational goals, they are far more likely to deliver individual and collaborative success and contribute to higher levels of productivity across the team and organization. This is because clarity on goals gives employees a sense of purpose to how they contribute to the organization's overall success. If employees are clear about how their role impacts the overall company goal, they feel more engaged and motivated in their work which makes them more productive. In this eBook we explore a newer way of goal setting. We modernize SMART with the 5As test. Under the 5As test, objectives and goals need to be Aligned, Agile, Assessable, Accountable and Aspirational.
Coaching conversations enable higher achievement
Productivity can be improved by coaching conversations which help employees achieve their goals. Coaching conversations should happen between a manager and an employee in their check-ins. This provides a space for managers to give regular feedback and help employees understand what they are doing well and how they can improve. Regular conversations allow managers to give feedback in the moment and help remove any obstacles that are getting in the way of the employee achieving their goals.
Organizations and employees need to take ownership of wellbeing and engagement
Workplace wellbeing and engagement is critical to achieving high performance and productivity—it isn't just a COVID related issue. However measuring engagement and wellbeing isn’t enough. Organizations need to take action to improve it. This starts with encouraging your people to take ownership and be more aware of their wellbeing. It shouldn’t solely be the “job of HR '', but it should be the organization's job to nudge employees and managers to have wellbeing conversations and allow employees to be more aware and honest about their work engagement levels. Regular coaching conversations which talk about wellbeing and engagement can really help create a culture where this becomes the norm.
Intrinsic motivators are essential for recognition
Research shows that productivity, performance and employee engagement is higher in organisations that foster recognition. Many organisations recognise employees through extrinsic motivators. That means, their behaviour is driven by monetary rewards and promotions. However, research shows that the effects of such extrinsic motivators do not last long. A more effective way to recognise employees is through intrinsic motivators which rely on autonomy, mastery and purpose (we go into more detail about this in the eBook). For organisations to recognize employees through intrinsic motivators, they need to embed a culture of meaningful feedback, and decouple pay from performance conversations.
Taking a moment to reflect and action plan forward
In this eBook we talk about the importance of continuing to learn and adapt. Employees should be encouraged to take a dedicated moment for deliberate reflection and be open to the need for revisions. This enables individuals and organisations to continuously learn, adapt and grow and therefore optimise performance and productivity. For individuals, continuous feedback, targeted personal development goals and reflection conversations can help them “reflect and revise”. At an organisational level, HR should take a look at their performance management process and think about whether it’s delivering its intended purpose.
To read more about the 5 step productivity model, download our eBook on “Maximizing performance in the new normal.”