Improving Employee Productivity

Improving Employee Productivity

Unlocking Employee Potential! The Leadership Role in Improving Employee Productivity


Productivity statistics compiled by Voucher Cloud, indicate that the average worker who works an eight-hour workday is only productive for less than 2 hours and 53 minutes.

That’s pretty alarming when we consider the amount of time, effort and money that goes into leading and managing employees in the workplace.

It’s little wonder so many organizations find themselves grappling with the challenge of suboptimal productivity levels, despite investing in cutting-edge technology and implementing innovative strategies. While technology undoubtedly plays a significant role, it’s the leadership’s influence and guidance that truly shape the productivity culture within an organization.

First, let’s look at some more interesting statistics from ‘FounderJar’ about employee productivity:

  1. Research data from McKinsey shows that talented employees are far more productive than the less talented ones. The research indicates that talented employees are up to 400% more productive than any other average office worker.
  1. Statistics derived from research conducted by Cornerstone OnDemand, show being overloaded with work reduces employee productivity by as much as 68%. Where employees can’t manage to finish all of their work obligations and tasks in good time, which makes them feel unproductive and frustrated.
  1. Research by (HR Cloud) found that the higher the levels of employee engagement, the more productive a company will be generally. Companies with engaged employees outperform companies that have actively disengaged employees by an astonishing 202%.
  1. According to Business daily News research, statistics show that remote employees are more productive employees than those who work in the office. This is largely due to the fact that remote work significantly improves employee satisfaction, and remote working employees are up to 47% more productive compared to office workers.
  1. Meeting productivity studies (reported by Verizon Business) found that up to 39% of employees daydream during meetings, and up to 73% stated that they do non-work-related activities, 91% of them report sleeping at one time or other. Surprise, Surprise!!

Causes of Poor Employee Productivity

Understanding the root causes of poor productivity is essential before considering the transformative actions leaders can take to steer their workforce towards greater efficiency and effectiveness.

There are many causes of poor employee productivity, and the list below explains some of the most common causes:

  1. Lack of Clarity and Direction: When employees are unsure about their roles, responsibilities, or the organization’s goals, productivity suffers. Without a clear understanding of expectations, individuals may waste time on tasks that aren’t aligned with organizational objectives.
  2. Inadequate or Inappropriate Communication: Effective communication is the lifeblood of any organization. Poor communication channels lead to misunderstandings, errors, and a lack of coordination among team members, ultimately hindering productivity.
  3. Low Employee Engagement: Disengaged employees are unlikely to invest their full potential into their work. Factors such as micromanagement, limited growth opportunities, or a toxic work environment can contribute to disengagement, dampening productivity levels.
  4. Insufficient Resources and Support: Employees require the right tools, resources, and support to perform their jobs efficiently. When these essentials are lacking or outdated, employees may struggle to meet expectations, leading to decreased productivity.
  5. Workplace Stress and Burnout: Chronic stress and burnout can significantly impact productivity. Overloaded schedules, unrealistic deadlines, and a lack of work-life balance contribute to employee exhaustion and decreased output.

Why we need to maintain a  focus on continually improving workforce productivity

In today’s hypercompetitive business environments, the quest for sustainable success depends to a large extent on the relentless pursuit of efficiency and productivity. Companies that prioritize and continuously improve employee productivity gain a multitude of strategic advantages that are paramount for their survival and growth. Here’s why:

  1. Competitive Advantage: In an era defined by rapid technological advancements and globalization, competition is fiercer than ever. Organizations that consistently outperform their peers in terms of productivity gain a competitive edge, enabling them to deliver superior products and services more efficiently. By maximizing the output of every resource, from time to talent, companies can position themselves as industry leaders and stay ahead of the curve.
  1. Cost Efficiency: Improved employee productivity directly translates to cost savings for organizations. When employees work more efficiently and effectively, wastage of resources is minimized, and operational costs are reduced. Whether it’s streamlining processes, optimizing workflows, or eliminating bottlenecks, every incremental improvement in productivity contributes to enhanced profitability and financial sustainability.
  1. Enhanced Innovation and Creativity: A productive workforce is better equipped to innovate and drive organizational growth. When employees are empowered to focus on value-adding activities rather than mundane tasks, they have the bandwidth to think creatively and proactively seek out new opportunities. By fostering a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, companies can stay agile, adapt to changing market dynamics, and capitalize on emerging trends.
  1. Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty: Productivity improvements directly impact the quality and timeliness of deliverables, leading to higher levels of customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers are more likely to become loyal advocates for the brand, driving repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals. By consistently exceeding customer expectations through efficient and responsive service delivery, organizations can strengthen their market position and foster long-term customer relationships.
  1. Employee Engagement and Retention: Employees thrive in environments where their contributions are valued and their efforts are recognized. By investing in initiatives to improve productivity, organizations demonstrate a commitment to employee development and well-being, fostering a sense of purpose and fulfillment among their workforce. Engaged employees are more likely to remain loyal to the company, reducing turnover rates and retaining institutional knowledge and expertise.
  1. Adaptability and Resilience: In today’s volatile and uncertain business environment, adaptability is key to survival. Companies that prioritize productivity are better equipped to navigate disruptions and challenges, thanks to their leaner, more agile operations. By fostering a culture of continuous learning and improvement, organizations can proactively anticipate change, pivot when necessary, and seize opportunities for growth even in turbulent times.

Leadership Actions to Improve Employee Productivity

Here are 10 practical steps which leadership can take to improve employee productivity.

  1. Engage – Involve your people in setting goals and making decisions: Leaders must engage their people in framing clear, measurable goals and expectations for their teams. By providing a collaborative roadmap for success, employees can align their efforts with organizational objectives, fostering a sense of purpose and direction. LEARN MORE: LEADING EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
  1. Enhance Communication Channels: Establish open lines of communication across all levels of the organization. Encourage feedback, active listening, and transparency to ensure that information flows freely, enabling swift decision-making and collaboration. KEEP THE MEETINGS SHORT! LEARN MORE: MANAGING MEETINGS
  1. Cultivate a Culture of Recognition and Appreciation: Recognize and celebrate the achievements of individual employees and teams. Acknowledging their contributions fosters a positive work environment, boosts morale, and reinforces desired behaviors, driving productivity.
  1. Invest in Employee Development: Provide opportunities for skill development, training, and career advancement. Empowered employees who feel supported in their growth are more likely to be engaged and motivated, leading to increased productivity. LEARN MORE: MANAGING EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT
  1. Create a Flexible work environment: Whether viable, enable a hybrid workplace with a balance of working remotely and in the office. Adopt flexible work schedules and seek out ways to accommodate employee neds and preferences. LEARN MORE: MANAGING REMOTE WORKING
  1. Optimize Workflow and Resources: Continuously evaluate workflows, processes, and resource allocation to identify inefficiencies and areas for improvement. Invest in technology and tools that streamline operations and empower employees to work smarter, not harder. LEARN MORE: BUSINESS PROCESS IMPROVEMENT
  1. Promote Work-Life Balance: Encourage a healthy work-life balance by respecting boundaries, offering flexible work arrangements, and promoting wellness initiatives. A rested and rejuvenated workforce is more productive and resilient in the face of challenges.
  1. Lead by Example: Leadership sets the tone for organizational culture and productivity. Demonstrate accountability, integrity, and a strong work ethic in your actions and decisions. By modeling desired behaviors, leaders inspire trust and commitment among their teams. LEARN MORE: TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP
  1. Foster Collaboration and Teamwork: Create opportunities for cross-functional collaboration and teamwork. Encourage knowledge sharing, diversity of thought, and collective problem-solving to harness the full potential of your workforce. LEARN MORE: LEADING A HIGH PERFORMANCE TEAM
  1. Adapt and Innovate: Stay agile and adaptable in the face of change. Embrace innovation and experimentation to drive continuous improvement and stay ahead of the competition. Encourage a culture of learning and resilience to navigate challenges effectively. LEARN MORE: PROMOTING INNOVATION IN THE ORGANIZATION


In conclusion, improving workforce productivity requires proactive leadership and a commitment to fostering a culture of excellence, engagement, and continuous improvement. By addressing the root causes of poor productivity, prioritizing employee engagement, innovation, and operational efficiency, organizations can unlock the full potential of their workforce and drive sustainable growth and success.

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