What are the most common obstacles faced with employee productivity?
I am writing my dissertation on conflict resolution in the workplace and employee productivity (or lack thereof) is one main factor. I would appreciate your input to help me learn more about this phenomenon in its practical aspect. Thank you.
Employee productivity and conflict resolution are two separate issues and need different treatment. Employee productivity could be a employee issue in which case counseling, cajoling and warning may be the recourse. It could also be an issue with work method. Ths is when people remain busy, but fall short in terms of outcomes, timeliness, quantum of output and/or quality. Part of the solution could be in the way we assign responsibilities, measure and recognize productivity. Often people focus on process alone and keep themselves busy. I found if we keep the eye only on outcome (output, timeliness and qulaity), the productivity starts improving. Employees are then forced to develop intelligent methods and ways of working smarter. Their work related internal process improvements, needs to be part of their goal. For instance creating work assets that can be reused so that same or similar tasks can be performed much faster. This will create additional bandwidth to do more and consequently increase productivity.
Take a look at 'psychological contracts'. When one feels that this contract has been broken for whatever reason the individual begins to disengage with the company resulting in poor productivity and absenteeism. At worst it can lead to 'workplace deviance' where they may make deliberate, malicious attempts to sabotage the organisation.
I think the most common obstacles are
Everyone deals with money concerns occasionally --- employees are no exception.
Job security stress is another common problem that affects workers. When workers are unsure about the company's future or their personal success, they may not work to their full potential.
Where your employees work great impacts their ability to get work done. Too many companies ignore this. Noise, clutter, inadequate facilities. All of these reduce your team’s effectiveness.
Senior leadership (and HR) loves to implement policies without regard as to the productivity impacts they create. No offices. No closed door policies, etc. One company I worked with eliminated all offices to encourage team unity. Within 3 months, no one could get any work done because they were all over each other. Team members couldn’t even hold a conversation because they had eliminated all the office walls.
Technology is supposed to be a work enabler. It is supposed to allow workers to get more done, not to hinder them. Yet, many companies continue to struggle with technology. Needless restrictions. Inadequate tools. And simply non-working systems.
“If you don’t do it right the first time, you will end up doing it over.” This applies from the smallest status update to multi-million dollar corporate projects. Unfortunately, many companies do not learn this until after spending the millions.
Solutions that be used:
-Instead of continuing to ignore the productivity issues in your company, tackle them head on.
-Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. (Because often it is not working…)
-Stop doing the things that are sapping your team’s ability to get their work done.
-Enable your employees with common sense and a work environment that allows them to actually work.
I always start with detailed job descriptions for each of my staff members. Begin with their job title. From there, list each task in job. This also helps when hiring staff. The job description should match the staff members qualifications including education and experience. A second item to consider, if someone is not producing, there's a reason for it. Could be illness, bored with the job, a major change such as a death or divorce in their immediate family, and a change in leadership. Job descriptions also make it easier at annual review time and when you need to coach a staff member when they are struggling. Also, if a staff member wants to learn another job in the company, let them. A valuable staff member is gold even if they are not reporting directly to you. It's about the company being profitable, right?
When people do not know what they are supposed to do next from lack of direction from management people procrastinate. I know when I was unsure of how to proceed with a project and there was no one to go to, my work progress obviously faltered. Good management leads to employees knowing what to do and how to do it and if they are stuck there is someone to go to to help. Just my experience!! Good luck!
Hello Diana, I have to share this with you it is really up to the company because from many surveys done, it was always the company that effected the employees productivity, I know you may not fall in any of the categories I may mentions, but at least it will provide something for you to review, First question is what do you do for your employees? by way of benefits, environment of workplace, team building, employee events, support system, management, promotions program, community events, incentives etc. this is just a few things that matter and the list goes on. Especially Motivation review these things above and there lies your answer.
Have a home based business staff work remotely and it is a real struggle to know if they are doing the right thing or even what they are doing at all. I am convinced I have staff claiming hours that have not been worked but I am finding it impossible to clarify.
My company helps organizations with workforce performance so everything we do is about employee productivity.
There are some great answers here - particularly the immediate supervisor's role (up to 70% of people are sitting on an issue that is impacting their performance, and half of them aren't addressing it due to concerns about their leader), and the impact of negativity at work (it takes 8 positive and productive employees to counter the effects of one negative employee).
Our company considers that there are four main elements to ensuring productivity (we call them the 4 pillars):
1. Ensuring the individual knows why they are there. That's about clear roles and performance expectations, but also believing in the mission and vision of the company
2. Feeling that they belong : that's about being part of a high performing team, and feeling that their opinion matters. The organization needs to treat the employee as more than a number.
3. That they have the tools and resources to be successful: that might be equipment, but it might also be about how they are empowered in their job
4. That they know how they are doing : what gets measured gets managed and what gets rewarded gets repeated. People need feedback and recognition to ensure they become and remain productive.
These are functions of three things : culture, immediate leadership and team. Team is growing in importance as organizations become more matrix and flatter, but equipping the immediate leader is a great place to start because they impact the individual every day, have influence over team dynamics and help shape culture.
Hope that helps. If you would like to discuss further, feel free to connect.
I think the old saying 'one bad apple can ruin the whole barrel' applies here. I've seen where one lazy, grumpy, or know it all employee can rub off on the whole crew. Who wants to be the one working his or her tail off when other(s) are standing around visiting. Furthermore, it seems to me that this 'bad apple' is also the one that complains about everything, won't take orders, or thinks up ways to do what you told him but still somehow manages to not get the job done right. The solution is to rid yourself of those types ASAP.
I know one fellow that owned a truck wash (18 wheelers) and he said he would only keep 2-5% of his help past the first week. I know that seems like a lot of 'work' to hire and let go that many but his operation was successful and profitable.
The number one influence on an employees performance is their direct supervisor. Working to improve the coaching skills of front line managers usually has the best ROI of any performance improvement initiative. Investments in training and tools can generate high returns as well and those returns get even better when front line managers have the skills to encourage the competence and confidence of their direct reports.
Leadership might be one thing, yet I have discovered that poor knowledge and awareness of the differences between individuals and the value they offer the team is equally, if not more important to Conflict Resolution an employee productivity.
Great leadership can only come about when a leader has great awareness and acceptance of each individual's strengths and their innate value to the team, and how other team members can best leverage this value. And then using this knowledge to place people in roles and give them activities and responsibilities that allows them to spend the majority of their work day playing to their strengths, and leveraging others in their team to take up activities and be responsible for the things they're not naturally strong with.
In discovering the unique strengths of each individual - which may not be obvious as education systems and most workplace performance focus on improvement of areas that need development (not an individuals strengths), plus each person can learn skills and be good at activities aligned to their role and this can overshadow what their true talents and strengths are and therefore the evidence of them in the work place.
From my observations and experience working in 100's of businesses and teams, the most common obstacles are lack of understanding of an individual's specific strengths and how they can be best leveraged within their role and team for greater benefit. And more importantly where the strength or talent gaps are in the team, (given both the team and individuals in the teams responsibilities) that means the trust of each other and the flow and productivity cannot be increased in a sustainable way.
I suggest always to have the employee and employer to understand the expectations of both parties...Make sure trust is developed, you can start to lose trust overnight, and incentivize and praise good work...Trust is all about building relationships that work in both human and financial terms, if that is not working productivity goes south quickly
For the employer, finding people with intrinsic intent that matches the parameters/characteristics of the processes/tasks to be accomplished is crucial. I put this mostly on the employer since many people will take jobs as "cashflow" instead of a career or as following their bliss.
Some companies (Zappos?), allow the new employees a period of integration/decision during which time they decide to stay or not - interesting allowance - yes/no? Also, companies like WordPress.com have extensive "on boarding" processes that allow time and visibility to test "fit."
Once an employee is in place, the most common drags on productivity are lack of clear direction (purpose), poor work instructions, ineffective resourcing (tools & communications), and, of course, conflicting organizational structure and rules.
Hi Diana , From my practical experience The most important is leadership in this process as long as leadership is strong to lead workers in proper way then other problems can be solved easily , that dosent mean other problems are not so important , but dividing workers in proper way in orser to get the maximum effeciency in productivity , giving alowences according to their productivity reduces many of the obstacles . Raw material in stores effecs productivity & its very important to keep it at certain level in stores .
"How do I incentivize my employees to work more effectively?" asked my client, a small business owner.
"First, remove the disincentives," I responded. So we looked at all the ways that taking initiative and doing productive work were punished.
Hi Diana, I agree with everything that is being said so far. Usually it's a lack of leadership or micro-management that prevents employees from performing to a higher standard.
Also lack of training and coaching is another aspect that many employers underestimate. Many employers think in order to motivate staff, they need to improve the salary or wages. Although it might help, over 85% of people in employment are not driven by money, but by recognition. Money is just a small aspect of a healthy environment but not the only one.
What we found in our business is that in order to bring performance levels up, regular coaching and training needs to be provided to employees.
One major aspect why performance is low is that employees can not identify with the business they are in. This is a major obstacle for many businesses. Imagine you open your own business, you are excited about it, you love what you do (hopefully) and you create the business in a way that you see fit as the business owner. You start early, finish late. A business is like having a baby, it needs constant attention, feeding and help to grow. You have to believe in your business in order to make it work. Identify benefits for your customers, solve your clients problems etc. An employee does not have the same drive or motivation as you do as the business owner or CEO.
This provides multiple challenges for a business. You need to create an environment that is healthy, motivational, creative and challenging.
In order to get employees to perform better, you would need to help them identify with the business, their role in the business and understanding of the business goals and targets.
We identified a unique way to do this, by merging personal goals with business goals. The challenge again is that the business needs to be willing to help the employee to achieve their personal goals (whatever it may be) and as an exchange you will get a lasting and highly motivated employee who will do anything in their power to help you achieve your goals (if that makes sense).
Reviewing not only business related goals with your employee but also their personal goals is key in this exercise and will help any business to thrive and create a better work environment that is motivational, inspirational and rewarding for both sides.
Of course you will always have this one employee who is not willing to work or interested in changing his/ her way. Then it's up to the business owners to decide what to do with a person like that. This is rare but it does happen that an employee is not interested or doesn't see the benefits.
I hope you find this useful and good luck with your dissertation.
Let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
Thank you and regards
Employer being a controller of his organisation, he is also responsible for his employee productivity. An Employer need to understand always:
Employee salary is paid against a certain task or objective
If we want them to perform extra ordinary, "they need motivation, appreciation, recognition, etc."
You can refer to Maslow's Hierarchy
Recent case 1: a client came to me complain that an employee of his did not produce as expected due to laziness. Upon detailed study, lacking of proper supervision and inappropriate leadership skills are the main cause of the poor production.
Recent case 2: another client came complained that despite detailed instructions and clear direction given, an employee just cannot produce much things (even though she was or seems to be hardworking). I suggested that maybe she is over-guided without understanding the real intention of her boss and she is new to the job, needs sometimes to settle down.
To prove my suspect, I made two levels of studies at two occasions on the areas of communication and capability of the employee. Although I am correct that she is over-guided causing her over rely on the boss and reluctant to react when new situation arise, however I was wrong in believing she is new to the job. In fact, another main reason for low productivity is due to the communication is overshadowed by very high ego of her causing reluctant to learn and accept mistakes which lead to a lot of conflicts,misunderstandings, procrastination, and errors that slow down productiveness.
Suggest you take a look at my two blogs on this topic: Delegation, Science not Art & Micro-Management, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.