According to New York Post writer Gregory Bresiger, U.S. firms lose some $15 billion annually to employees’ personal smartphone use alone.
Consider that unauthorized smartphone use is just one of myriad productivity-sapping activities that occur with regularity in the workplace and you begin to realize the potential scale of the problem. However, in a tight labor market, employers do not always have the luxury of instituting draconian policies designed to boost productivity, as such policies may well sap morale and prompt talented employees to look for other opportunities.
It is therefore imperative for employers to motivate their employees to be more productive without alienating them. These five strategies are all proven to work, provided they are applied deftly.
- Issue Company Mobile Devices
In recent years, many companies have adopted “bring your own device” policies by which employees can use sanctioned personal devices for official purposes. If you’re currently operating a “bring your own device” organization, consider switching back. It’s far easier to control employees’ activities — and limit distractions — on company-issued devices. It’s also easier to hold employees accountable for violating digital policies. Use guide to choosing the right company device.
- Lead by Example
Good work habits begin at the top. Before you institute any new policy, be sure that you and fellow senior managers are willing and able to follow it. If you cannot abide by your own rules, how can you expect your employees to do so? This is doubly important at firms with multiple subsidiaries; Miami entrepreneur George Otte holds employees at four Otte Polo Group companies to the same general standards, including those governing productivity and workplace demeanor.
- Offer Performance Bonuses
Offer cash, stock, and fringe benefit bonuses to highly productive employees. You may wish to implement verifiable, quantitative measures of productivity that apply to employees of a particular classification or role, then hold out bonus opportunities to employees who either meet those measures or reach the top quartile, quintile, or even decile.
- Step Up Pay Regularly
Don’t forget to step up pay to compensate for rising living costs and wage inflation in your employees’ respective specialties. Even if regular pay raises are not directly tied to productivity or performance metrics, employees are far more likely to meet your productivity expectations when they’re compensated better than peers at other firms.
- Give Each Employee Responsibility for a Specific Metric or Goal
Hold each of your employees accountable for a specific company goal or metric. In practice, you may need to institute several such goals or metrics: some for shorter timescales, others for longer. However, it is crucial that you be able to measure your employees’ productivity objectively and ensure that you know who to hold responsible for shortcomings.
What’s Your Productivity Secret?
Every entrepreneur has a slightly different approach to managing time, people, and company resources. In all likelihood, your comprehensive productivity strategy involves more than one of the tips and tricks outlined in this article. It may involve practices not mentioned here, as well. How you maximize your team’s talents and productive time is less important than that you do so, after all.