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Productivity experts often focus on tools, processes, and measurable results, hyping the power of time-tracking software and optimized workflows. Although certainly important, workplaces also depend on people, and people come with complex emotions that impact performance.
To truly unlock productivity, businesses need to focus on the human equation. Great teams build great products and services. Whether by improving workplace diversity and inclusion or creating positive and engaging environments, businesses need to find ways to build great teams that contribute their best.
Here are five tips to get you started:
Re-design roles for autonomy
Employees get frustrated by micromanagement, as it limits their potential and outcomes. Granting autonomy does the opposite. It gives individuals and teams control over decisions in their domain, which builds motivation and empowerment as workers feel more involved in the work they do.
Of course, accountability and coordination remain essential. However, managers should find ways to re-design roles to maximize autonomy. For example, you could enable groups to self-govern based on guidelines rather than top-down commands. Alongside driving engagement, greater autonomy contributes to higher performance, job satisfaction, and commitment.
Promote a sense of purpose
Connect employees to the deeper purpose and meaning behind what they do. For example, explain how their daily work ties into creating superior customer value and serving community needs.
Set aside time for brainstorming the bigger-picture impact. Schedule meetings to address how families benefit from offerings and build cross-functional collaborations to reinforce shared goals across departments. Furthermore, link company values with employee behaviors. When corporate strategy resonates emotionally and individually, employee happiness and performance improve.
Warning signs like exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced efficacy signal the onset of burnout, which drags down productivity. Left unchecked, burnout causes top talent to quit because their constant stress goes unrecognized.
That’s why it’s important to take active measures to prevent burnout. Some of the most helpful strategies include:
- Tracking overtime
- Shifting schedules between high-intensity projects
- Mandating real vacations completely disconnected from work
- Promoting reasonable expectations around availability
- Maintaining a line of open communication so employees feel comfortable voicing any concerns.
Foster a psychologically safe environment
Diverse teams drive innovation and revenue by incorporating different perspectives. However, if they aren’t truly inclusive, then all that potential gets muted as marginalized groups will feel psychologically unsafe sharing ideas and taking risks.
To avoid that, create a psychologically safe environment. Establish ground rules where everyone’s voice matters, regardless of seniority or demographics. In addition, shut down insensitive statements, openly recognize prejudice in society at large, and seek input from those who are less vocal. When psychological safety is cultivated, employee engagement and performance are known to thrive.
When skill sets stay stagnant so do careers and productivity potentials. Unfortunately, however, many employees hesitate to develop capabilities beyond their current responsibilities due to a lack of motivation or urgency. To drive growth, managers should counteract this trend.
Actively nurture personal and professional growth by facilitating access to courses, events, mentors, and growth opportunities aligned with individual interests. Budget for outside workshops or conferences and allow attendance during working hours. Furthermore, embrace stretch assignments, job rotations, and new initiatives that broaden capabilities. Lastly, recognize and reward the acquisition of new knowledge and skills. This fosters an achievement orientation that boosts productivity to new heights.
Even the most tool-optimized workplaces fail when the human equation is ignored. Sure, you might still have efficient execution, but truly exceptional productivity relies on engaged, empowered, and committed teams. Apply the above workplace psychology tips to build just such a team in your workplace.