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How to boost employee productivity?

I'm especially interested in real life examples from your experience that you know to work.

Answers

Michelle Jones
Title: Bookkeeper
Company: Ciao Bambino
LinkedIn Profile
(Bookkeeper, Ciao Bambino) |

For our sales reps we designed a tiered pay system. As they sell more their salary and commission go up, but if their sales drop they both go back down. This has been very effective in tying sales performance to pay and increased their productivity 100 fold.

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

One of our many products is Bluetooth speakers. We have several options available from low to high priced. We couldn't get our sales team to sell them for anything. We held a contest one month the most speaker sales would get a $100 gift card. We sold more speakers that month than any other month to date.

Dan Nakahara
Title: Controller
Company: Yandell Truckaway, Inc.
(Controller, Yandell Truckaway, Inc.) |

I have found that simply paying attention to performance and celebrating success have a great impact.

One example I can think of was our AR. When I first arrived, AR was a mess because collections work was being ignored by the account managers. I came up with a couple of easy metrics and simple processes, and started having a bi-weekly meeting to review AR with everyone involved. Then, when things started to improve, I made sure to point out the results of the good work.

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

Get them engaged and make them own the result. If they have this as well as well written objectives with the understanding they will be measured against them, employees will perform at their best.

Anonymous
(Founder) |

Patrick, good idea to get them more engaged. It sounds like more stick than carrot (Michelle & Christie's examples above). Do you find that works best or is there a carrot in there somewhere?

Also, not directed at Patrick specifically, but does anyone have experience with any organizational or work efficiency examples that really helped productivity?

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Anon,

What made you think you needed to boost productivity? What signals are showing you that productivity is slipping?

Look at the roles you expect your staff to play. Then ask them:
-what are the top 3-5 things that they would like to stop doing, things that they believe don't add value but eat into their time
-repeat the question for the 3-5 things that they would like to start doing, things that add value.

Ask them to be open and honest, make sure you can cope with the answers (e.g. please don't micro manage me, or please give me the authority to solve a customer complaint, within boundaries, immediately).

Then commit to them that you will work with them to help them:
-define clearer policies
-define clearer expectations of what you want them to do, including agreed metrics where necessary
-provide more training to help them perform.

There are different ways to motivate/ provide recognition to different generations and cultures and personalities.

Looking back at my career, one thing is constant: I was far more interested and engaged when I could trust my boss. Trust as in: fair, honest, ethical.

Anonymous
(Founder) |

Michelle, Christie, Dan, Patrick & Len,

Thanks for the ideas. Len, my question springs from knowing I have done a poor job of managing this. Being a self-starter and upon further review, I think I have always just expected employees to be more like I think I am... always looking to put more points on the board.

Lately I have come to the conclusion that all people are not motivated this way and it is my failure for assuming so to begin with.

I try not to be anecdotal in my perceptions of productivity and yet I really am... I notice a lack of goals, a lack of struggle to get more done, a lack of prioritization. Of course, I have done a lousy job of managing this in folks who manage others, so what do I really expect?

Having admitted this, I would like to do better and I'm looking for some ideas.

Gary A. Pokorn
Title: Sales Enablement Manager
Company: Oracle I NetSuite
(Sales Enablement Manager, Oracle I NetSuite) |

Excellent topic and great suggestions. Of course, one obvious approach is to hire more self-starters like you and "transfer" those that don't measure up "off the bus". Thx, GAP

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

Anon (Founder),

I will answer you in general terms because as they say, there are a number of ways to skin a cat.

My take is that productivity is just a "byproduct" of 4 main factors.
(1) Morale
(2) Company Culture
(3) Quality of Personnel
(4) Resources

So I think that looking at "productivity" as a problem in a specific sense will NOT help you in the long term. Short term efforts may increase productivity but it will not be sustainable. I believe that tackling (examining) the four factors I have mentioned will increase productivity and will deliver longer term results.

Note that I did NOT include "motivation" as I see motivation as a factor of nos.1, 2 and 3. As you tried to explain, YOU (and I would think that most of us here are) are a self starter and it is more of a reflection of the kind of person that YOU "inherently" are than what any short term motivation can give. This should be a common factor all throughout the company. In your analogy, you cannot forever dangle a carrot or forever whip them with sticks.

I did NOT exactly answer the question "how" but I hope that giving you focus on the underlying "whats" would be of help.

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