How can I raise the productivity of my employees?

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by Tonny Fer, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. Tonny Fer

    Tonny Fer
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    I don't know what they do all work day long. I feel that many of them spend much time idling and that's influenses the revenue of my company.
     
  2. Vicktor sdygf

    Vicktor sdygf
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    Oh. It's not only in your company. I have a small comp. and faces the same problems. Many of my employees have the permanent access to the Internet, work with computers and spend a great deal of time surfing entertaining web sites, playing poker, sending private mails. I tried to use different methods but all of them have their pros and cons. I've heard about the soft that fulfills all the functions I want. But I have no links with the company that has developed it. If anybody knows anth about it write please.
     
  3. Fergal

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    Welcome to our business forum Tonny Fer, your situation is not unusual, lots of business owners have difficulty motivating their staff.

    Sounds like you need tighter management controls so that you have a better understanding of how they are spending their time and how productive they are. What roles do your staff have? Do they do work, e.g. like production that is measurable?

    Have you considered ways that you could reward your staff, based on what they achieve? Perhaps something similar to the way sales people are motivated with commission. Or you might even consider something along the lines of a profit sharing scheme.
     
  4. LA Electrician

    LA Electrician
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    You should definitely find ways to come up with promotion/marketing concepts with all your employees so that they are contributing during their spare time. Sometimes there will be slower days and your employees will be bored. I definitely agree with Fergal on having tighter management and being firm with your employees. At the same time, do not make them feel that they are work slaves. I think it's fine if employees are surfing the internet and handling personal things online as long as they're on top of their work and it does not get out of hand.
     
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  5. Tecknowoman

    Tecknowoman
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    The last company I worked in as GM I worked really hard to bring the owner on board to communicate his vision (or aspiration statement as we called it!) for the organisation and communicate it to his team. It was difficult for him but it helped make his team feel part of his team working to embrace his ideals. We also put out a Charter and our team commitment.

    At the same time we began seriously recognition of ideas and suggestions for improvement making drastic implementation steps and creating a culture of inclusivity. Being inclusive created a greater sense of ownership - when your team are part of the direction and decisions - they embrace them far more passionately and work harder to achieve them.

    The biggest disincentive I have seen in companies is not knowing the overall direction, not being part of the bigger dream, not being included or communicated with. It was almost shocking to the owners of that last company to learn how interested people in clinics were about the new clinics being opened. Strange I know because of course your team want to be part of a growing, progressive adn stable organisation.

    So always try to establish positive conditioning - work hard to catch people doing the right thing and reinforce it with praise and benefits. Make policies where social media use is acceptable under certain conditions and contingent on goals, tasks and targets being met.

    Make your workplace a place people want to be and enjoy being productive in. Be the boss people want to work hard for. For example I had an employee who worked really hard for me and was always using her initiative to give more than I asked. I understood why when I was leaving - to her I was the best boss she'd had. I appreciated and encouraged her and she repaid my investment in her.
     
  6. Kay

    Kay
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    If you're not measuring how they spend their time in any way, you can't expect to manage them properly. Get them to fill in old fashioned daily time sheets to find out.

    Break the timesheets down into two lined columns, one that covers 15 min intervals of the working day, and the second column leaves space to say what they were doing for that period. Timesheets are easy to make. They'll hate it, but they'll soon get used to filling them in. Tell your staff it's a productivity and time management exercise and run it for a month minimum. If you find it works well, extend it. Make sure their names are on them and save them for further review.

    It's a very useful thing to do. I've done it with staff before and if nothing else it focuses their attention on how much time they are wasting. It also shows what jobs are sucking up a lot of time and gives you and your team the chance to brainstorm how to make processes faster yet still efficient. The whole exercise needs to be presented to them in a positive light. At the end of the day, you'll be making their lives easier too.

    You can also shadow each of them for a day or two and find out exactly what they do. The more you understand about their work and the obstacles they face in their day to day work, the better a boss you'll be. Your staff will also feel happier that you're taking an interest in their individual roles. Be open to suggestions for improvements and discussion during these shadow sessions. You'll be surprised how many good ideas come out when people get a chance to sit down with you on their own.

    You're the boss so take control! It's your responsibility to lead and set an example. Not having a clue what they do all day isn't a good example. You'll be able to manage them far better after this, I guarantee it. :)
     
  7. Fergal

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    The idea of time sheets is an excellent one and it is something I should really start using myself, to manage my own work. However, it is something you need to be careful with, as Tecknowoman said you want to be the kind of person that people want to work for and I'm not sure how many people will want to work for someone who asks them to account for every 15 minutes of their time. If workers resent having to complete those time sheets, you risk losing some of your workers - and unfortunately when we lose staff we generally lose the best staff, not the under-performers.

    As I said I would advise caution, but I definitely think it's an idea worth seriously considering. Perhaps you could tell your staff that you will be using time sheets for a short period of time, to help you understand how to better bill your clients.

    If you do try it out please post back to let us know how it works, I'd love to hear the outcome.
     
  8. Alexishost

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    Small Improvement.
    I got same situation as yours. Here is what I did.

    1.I put My company vision and mission in big letter in my company so every key people in their role can understand what my company value, and we are working on something.

    2. I set up nice working environment for my employee so that the love working. and they don't feel work at all.

    3. Arrange small birthday party for employee who had birthday. It is cost a litte. but, it works nice.

    you may give us update and tell us how does it work in your company. :)
     
  9. Swastik

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    Get RescueTime, install it on every computer (assuming its computer related work?) and track what is being done. Tracking is very, very important.

    Also, as someone else said above, the environment is very important, too. You, as the leader, should set an example others (your employees) could follow.

    Always keep rockstars in your team because if you settle for any less than that, it'll slow down your company's growth and the team won't be able to get well together.

    Watching these four videos might help:

    [YOUTUBE]GpSF7UDmjDE[/YOUTUBE]
    [YOUTUBE]EZYzI9TTrWM[/YOUTUBE]
    [YOUTUBE]xlWJcobrNuM[/YOUTUBE]
    [YOUTUBE]z8On2m4pLrw[/YOUTUBE]

    There's a big difference between working a lot, and getting a lot done.

    :)
     
  10. Kay

    Kay
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    I know I said they'll hate it and some do initially but it's surprising how they adapt to it. I found the best performers liked it because it showed in black and white that they were the best but everyone's temperament is different. You'll know yourself best the most likely reaction from your own staff, Tonny. The reason we did the timesheets mainly was because the company wasn't billing nearly enough hours that should have been, simply because staff were guessing at the month end an approximate number instead of tracking it. I was horrified when I came to the company and found that out. Our billable hours significantly increased when we did this because they had all been rounding down for fear of overestimating. It was a mess, quite frankly.

    I suggested a month too because it's long enough to give you a good insight into what's going on and short enough that they can say to themselves if they really dislike it, "well it's just a month." Our staff was small and by the time the month was over, they had got into the routine of doing it and liked it. We continued on with it after that.

    What's also important to keep them posted about the good it does. When any improvement is made as a direct result of that exercise, let them know! Then if you want to do it again, you can point out how well it worked before. And introducing bonuses for increased percentages in billable hours helps too.
     
  11. Tonny Fer

    Tonny Fer
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    Guys your ideas are really great. I'll use some of them from this week. I like them a lot. On weekend I've heard form one of my friend about the soft that monitors the screen activity of employees and the key strokes. And in comparison with CCTV it monitors only the work activity but not a private life, communication with others... and it is not spying too because the employees know about that soft. It's visible for them. And the employer can see the work activity of any employee at any time. So I hope they will spend more time working but not idling. Also this soft has some additional, very useful functions.
    Also I thought that it will be useful for the security. Because it can prevent me from frauds and betrayal. With the help of this soft I can learn about me employees looking for a new job, selling ideas to my competitors, stealing ideas of their colleagues.
    Why not to try it in my company. Besides the I can use free trial for unlimited period of time and see the results. I'll combine it with the blank sheets of achievements, celebrating birthday parties and improving the work environment.
     
  12. Fergal

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    Thanks for the feedback Tonny Fer, I'm happy to hear that you got some useful ideas here and I look forward to reading more of your posts on our forum. Good luck with getting more productivity from your team.
     
  13. Tonny Fer

    Tonny Fer
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    Thanks for your preciously useful information. It really helped me a lot.

    If you have any questions about this soft ask me. May be I can help you more.
     
  14. Tecknowoman

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    Thanks for giving us all feedback on our responses Tony. Let us know how you go with your implementations won't you?

    Oh Fergal and Kay re timesheets you can frame introduction in a positive way - we did that too once. We had some people paid by client seen but to ensure if things were slow they could still earn we had extra jobs that received an hourly fee. We knew some people diddled this system so we needed to ask everyone to account quite precisely for their time. The way we introduced it was to make a big issue about the fact we didn't know how long different tasks took as they'd never been measured so we were trying to get some real data on different tasks and times that needed to be allocated etc etc so the emphasis was on the employees helping us help them by filling in timesheets!

    The only other thing I forgot was that we put out a statement of expectations for positions which included what they could expect from us as an employer and what we expected of them in return!!
     
  15. Tonny Fer

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    I'm going to use those timesheets until I will have the possibility to install the soft on the computers of my employees. It will be much easier for me and for them too. They won't spend time to fulfill them and I will have a permanent access to their achievement.
    Besides I told them about that idea with soft and timesheets and they are not against it. I was surprised but the majority of them supported me. And of cause it will be easier for me to evaluate the contribution of every employee and make a decision whether raise salary/ promote person or not.
    So for the first 2 month I will use timesheets and them the soft, because the unlimited free trial will be available in 2 months. And then I'll install it to every computer of my employee.
    Thank you a lot for your skillful and kind advice.
     
  16. Fergal

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    Good luck with all that Tonny Fer, glad to hear that your employees were positive towards the changes. As has already been mentioned in this thread, the higher achieving employees are probably happy to see this improvement in control, as it will ensure that their good work and positive contributions can be recognised.
     
  17. jimmysmith

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    What i would suggest is to build a deadline based system. Tell them about the last date of any work and what you expect from them. Just put everything clean and clear in the mail and circulate it to your employees. Make them accountable for what they are doing. Tell them they are the owners of their projects and every right and wrong belongs to them.
     
  18. firstchoicecar

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    If i may just ask, are they working most of the time using internet or computer? If yes i believe this will help you. I have a friend who has this software Odesk Launcher. It is a software where in it will capture the screen or do a lot of screenshot on the computer every 5 minutes and if the mouse wont move in 5 to 10min depending on your set up this software will be idle. On that way you will get the exact screenshots of your employee to know if they really working or not. Hope this will help.
     
  19. Kay

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    Unless it's changed, to get the Odesk Launcher software you have to be registered as an independent contractor at Odesk. It's used to monitor the freelancers that work on contracts they get from there. Good idea, but I think Tonny would need to find a stand-alone product that's not associated with Odesk. Swastik mentioned RescueTime earlier in the thread which also looks a cool tool now that I've had a chance to look at it a little.

    Tonny, it's great to hear how well accepted the idea was!! Fab. :) Keep us posted on how it's all going.
     
  20. BizDoc

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    Hi Tonny,
    I'm late to the game in this response. I advocate measuring employee results, not activity. And doing that covertly. Most senior workers especially will not appreciate having their activity watched - they think of it as micromanaging - but workers work best in an atmosphere of freedom. So it's a straddle between liberty and ensuring the work is satisfactory.

    If you can, I suggest you use your software to track results. Some employees are harder to quantify results than others but most have a tangible result that can be measured. As your workers achieve expected results, reward them. The ones that don't, drill down and set up monitoring (unobtrusively.) I'm going to be discussing this on my blog shortly as well as a few other tricks on managing that my former firm taught to our corporate clients. Check it out at bizmd.blogspot.com if you're interested.

    Hope this contrary opinion helps :)

    Cheers!
     

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