Labour productivity is a hot topic at the moment. Companies are experimenting with 4 day work weeks and allowing employees to work remotely. So how do you increase productivity? Have a look below.

1. Match the right Jobs to Skills

The mark of an excellent manager is knowing your labour employees’ skills and behavioural styles. This is essential for maximizing efficiency. For example, a meticulous, deliberate thinker is probably a great person to do detailed work which needs to be accurate. However, they might struggle if they are given a task which has a time-intensive deadline which needs efficiency.

Instead of asking your employees to be the best at everything it would be far more efficient to ask yourself; “is this the most suited person for this particular task?” If not, seek out an employee with the suited skillset for the task at hand.

2. Track Staff Time

A lot of time is lost because staff arrive slightly late, or leave a bit early. Not necessarily because they are trying to cheat the system but because they have no reason to arrive on time. A simple, inexpensive tool like ClockInstant which allows staff to clock in and out using their phone will incentivise staff to be on time. It is human nature. This will allow extra time you never had to use your workforce effectively.

It also automates your timesheets meaning you can pay your staff accurately and your admin staff will love you for it!

3. Communicate Effectively

The most productive workforce is one which has a clear communication stream, both from their manager and other employees. Building relationships with your team through email, quite frankly, sucks. On top of this, McKinsey have released a study stating nearly 2.5 hours of an employee’s day is taken up by email.

Technology now allows us to contact each other instantly at an extremely low cost. Even in South Africa most labour employees have Whatsapp Messenger. Creating a team group means one clear message can be sent to a group of employees at the touch of a button. Watch as the camaraderie of your labour staff rapidly increases through this social, low commitment medium.

4. Keep Goals Clear and Focused

Employees cannot be expected to be productive if they don’t have clear and focused goals. If it is not defined and, therefore, not achievable then naturally your staff will be less productive. Let them know exactly what your expectations are and what the impact of their efforts will be.

We often talk about measuring your staff productivity on this blog. This is the easiest way to set clear, SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) goals for your staff.  It is possible to measure exactly how efficient, accurate an employee has been and set targets for the future by using software, like ClockWork.

5. Incentivise Labour Employees

Who doesn’t like a reward? The best way to drive efficiencies within an organisation is to give the workforce recognition of an efficient and great job. This will breed a positive team morale and encourage continued productivity. Here are some ideas for rewards when a member of your workforce hits a particular KPI:

  • Higher praise: Copy the head of your department in your email thanking the employee for his or her hard work
  • The Long Weekend: My personal favourite is when my manager allows me to leave at 2pm on a Friday so I can get out of town or feel that little bit more revitalised when I get in on Monday and enjoy my weekend that little bit more so I can be even more productive.
  • Free lunch: Instead having the leftovers from last night, take your staff member for lunch. Even better, celebrate victories with your whole team after a collective effort.

6. Train and refresh the memory

It is extremely frustrating and demotivating when you simply don’t know what to do. As a result, some labour employees are too embarrassed to come forward and ask for help. The result is substandard or inefficient work. Training and refreshers on certain aspects of the job can be invaluable in a labour intensive environment. Make sure you create a collaborative & interactive training session – some employees may have found more efficient way to perform certain tasks. This is a great way to roll them out company wide.