Are You Focused on Boosting Employee Productivity

Written by Jesper Bach

No matter what industry you are in,  there’s always a lot of work to get done!  Business leaders  need their teams to complete projects, achieve milestones, and otherwise demonstrate a high degree of productivity as part of their job responsibilities.

That is especially true for us in the hardwood lumber industry.  Whether it be our team of foresters meeting with landowners, our sawmill employees helping us turns logs to lumber or our administrative team helping provide the right hardwoods at the right price and time to our customers.  They all look for ways to boost productivity!

improving employee productivity imageWe are constantly striving to support a collaborative workplace, where ideas get freely shared, and employees feel motivated to give their best. IN doing so, we find these few approaches to be helpful.

Communicate and listen. Employees are often at their best, and often more productive, when the workplace culture emphasizes communications and transparency. Look for opportunities to share more about how the business is faring, what challenges may lie ahead, etc. Employees will appreciate the effort and work harder to reach objectives everyone agrees upon.

Strengthening your listening skills also helps with communications. As we have noted before, “listening is just as important as talking when you are looking to move your team towards increased productivity.”

Pay attention to the physical workplace. This has certainly been a moving target in recent years! However, assuming at least some members of your team work onsite, it’s important to establish a physical environment conducive to greater productivity.

As TechBullion notes, “Many factors can contribute to a happy and healthy work environment, including vibrant design, color, and lighting,” as well as “natural elements such as greenery and sunlight.”  We also like to think about thinks like spacing, eating areas and parking.  And don’t forget the unique needs of your hybrid or remote employees!

Offer opportunities for cross-training. All too often, employees burn out when they’re doing the same thing eight hours a day, five days a week. Don’t neglect an opportunity for generating more productivity by cross-training employees to expand their skills and responsibilities.

For us, that is finding ways to have our lumber traders work with our trucking departments, or our kiln operators share ideas with our yard managers.

Just be careful not to throw employees into a new role without preparation. “It’s a common misconception that allowing [workers] to practice other tasks on their own is a good way to cross train them,” notes BOSS Magazine, “but not everyone can be self-taught.” With proper guidance—through on-site seminars, online webinars, guest presenters, etc.—cross-training can engender more productivity and higher morale.

Recognize employee abilities and build on them. If you’ve hired talented employees, they come to your organization with certain strengths. Leveraging those abilities to get more work done is an effective way of boosting productivity.

Rather than “focusing on what employees aren’t doing well, focus on what they are doing well and give them more opportunities to use those strengths in their work,” advises BenefitsPRO. Such opportunities as “mentorship, increased collaboration, job shadowing [and] project ownership, provide valuable experiences that can lead to increased employee confidence and work satisfaction.” 

Remove obstacles. In some organizations, employee productivity slows due to an abundance of organizational red tape and/or multiple layers of bureaucracy. As much as possible, streamline the approval process and get rid of hurdles that get in the way of making things work. Employees will often demonstrate improved productivity once they stop bumping up against the same obstacles time and again. Consider asking your employees what slows them down. You might be surprised by the answers!

What are some employee productivity boosters you like to incorporate into your business?  Let us know!  We would love to hear from you!

Tony Cimorelli
Baillie Lumber Co.
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