Tips to improve employee productivity – Part 1

by Ashvini on November 18, 2011 · 17 comments

in Management,Productivity

A lot of People don’t start their own business because it is more demanding than a 9to 5 job. However these days, even 9 to 5 jobs are  almost like business and the business risk partly falls on employees’ shoulders a bit. If for example, organization does not perform well, the employees lose bonus and get fewer pay raises. Businesses are thus pushing employees harder for getting more  productivity.

Unfortunately pushing employees beyond their capacity has a number of disadvantages. A few of them are

  • Employee attrition
  • Lower morale
  • More  sick leaves
  • Reduced self worth
  • Lowered respect for organization

A famous experiment called as Hawthorne experiment provided a glimpse into what makes employees more productive. Even though it may have criticism but it confirms the theory that workplaces that have better working conditions are more productive.

The better way to create and run a great business is by improving employee productivity and not the number of hours they work.

Great companies such as Apple, Google , Facebook are often termed as great places to work. They spend tremendous amount of money providing employees with services and facilities that make their employees happy.

However small business do not have such luxury. They have less money to spend on the employees than the bigger companies. So if you own a small business , how can you provide a productive environment to their employees which is also cost effective for you?

Improving employee productivity tip #1: Acknowledge contribution from employees

Acknowledging employee productivity is at the top of the list. In my experience, it has the most amazing effect on the morale of the employee. Superiors may acknowledge the contribution of the employee by

  • Sending appreciation mail
  • Letter or certificate of contribution
  • Public appreciation in front of the team

Improving employee productivity tip #2: Celebrate success and milestones

The best way of keeping a team together and managing it well is to celebrate small successes. For e.g  having a small get together at the end of a successful go live of a project is a great way for team to bond together. This helps build team spirit and encourage team members to contribute more. It also means that management is aware of their contribution and acknowledges it 

Improving employee productivity tip #3: Let employees manage their work life balance

The best places to work are those where employees are allowed to manage their time. Employees control how much time they spend in office and how much they spend on their families, leisure and hobbies without slipping on the work.

Here is a link from Bryce’s blog on work life balance. Office Bliss (An Infographic on Work-Life Happiness)

Improving employee productivity tip #4: Focus on the outcome and not on person

Managers spend too much time monitoring the activities of employees. The best managers often concentrate on tasks at hand and the performance of employee with respect to that task. Interfering and over monitoring of the employees may cause employees to stay “below the radar” and still continue what they were doing.

The best thing thus is: Concentrate on result oriented task and intervene only if necessary. Do not over-monitor

Improving employee productivity tip #5: Build a business oriented environment

An office where hard work is not appreciated, customer focus is not rewarded and office politics is supreme is hardly a place for good employee productivity.

Building a stress free work place where business orientation and results are rewarded is the right way to improve employee productivity.

What in your opinion can improve the productivity of employee at the workplace? What makes employee tick ? Can you narrate an interesting incidence from your office?

About The Author


Pudge Ortiz December 14, 2011 at 6:33 am

Great Post!
These are just very simple tips but they are most of the time neglected. On our company, we have this contest every week, and I have to admit, it makes us motivated to do more and work hard. If I could add one tip, most employees tend to be more productive when you have a time tracking software. You may think it doesn’t respect your staff’s privacy but it really does help them avoid distractions. You just have to be clear with them when you install it. Also, be careful on choosing an employee monitoring software. You should make sure it tracks time accurately.

Ashvini Kumar Saxena December 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Hi Pudge Ortiz,

I am really glad that you liked these tips. I am not a fan of time tracking software though I agree that in certain cases it might be necessary

Sonia December 3, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Sorry for the late reply Ash! This post hit home for me because you know about the dramatic places I have mentioned in other comments that I worked out. But everything you mentioned is why some companies also have a “high” turn-over rate too.

In larger service companies they have the luxury of treating their employees with service perks within the office, but they don’t because they don’t pay their employees well either. Most get minimum wage and to start offering fun perks might get the employees to frown on them when they would rather have the pay increase isteand then some free “donut”.

I remember working at a start-up during the dotcom boom and it was fantastic. We had free food, everything in the vending machine was free with a push of the button and I took advantage of it “trust me”. When I saw this I was didn’t know what to believe and I remember hiding extra stuff from the vending machine in my desk because I always thought it was just too good to be true. Note: my previous job was in service companies, so seeing perks like that was awesome to me. After sometime, the free lunch became less and the vending machine started asking for a “quarter”. I remember hearing people complain about that and I sat their thinking”, are you serious”.

Then I went over to Google (before they went public) as a temp and my life was never the same after that. They give their employees everything for free food. They go out of their way to make extra perks and daily life easier to manage. Don’t have time to wash your clothes? No problem, they have an onsite laundry mat. Really? You only wish your company did the same thing, but alas, most companies can’t afford to do extravagant things like that, let alone offer it. Of course Google expects you to do your job, but happy employees work harder for you

The tips you provided in this post are much more valuable then something offered for free. People know that not every company can be like “Google”, but can still give it back by the way it’s employees are treated. Perception is everything in business and if the employee gets acknowledged for a job well done, it can go a long way over free food. If companies started taking small steps to give back mentally and verbally to its employees, they would see them work harder, smarter and better.

Excellent Post Ash! Now on to part 2. Sorry for rambling…you know me!

Ashvini Kumar Saxena December 5, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Hey Sonia,
No problem with late reply.
That is one heck of a comment :). Almost like a blog post :). I was not aware that you worked at google. It must have been really great place to work at isn’t it :) . I have nothing much to add here except that you have really covered the ground from all angles, everything that I wanted to say :).

Carolyn@The Wonder of Tech December 2, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Brilliant post, Ashvini! In these tough economic times, businesses have few resources to increase monetary compensation so are struggling to retain top talent. Your suggestions are innovative ways that businesses can improve morale, help employees work better and staunch attrition without having to invest extra funds.

Ashvini Kumar Saxena December 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Hey Carolyn,
I totally agree with your comment here. Monetary compensation is necessary but there are other ways to improve productivity of the employees .
Glad that you like these suggestions :)

Veronica Cervera November 30, 2011 at 11:17 am

Employee motivation has to go beyond monetary. For as long as the employee has a sense of contribution and belonging, these people will stay and continue to be productive.

Aswani November 27, 2011 at 9:15 am

This is one of the best ever articles on your blog and I am saying so because it is very realistic. I can relate it to my professional experience till date. The very first point which you have shared is what I feel is a must do for any manager or an employer. Most of us are missing the same thing here and one may say that ours is a small organization but does it really matter in this case ?? As a senior employee in my organization, I find only 2 ways to boost employee morale – Either you pay a better salary or Give regular feedback with an appreciation for the work being done. Unfortunately, I have been missing both. Having been into sales and marketing, I have been doing my best in recent times to get the required results and honestly, it has worked out to a great extent. But nothing to cheer here. No appreciation, No incentives, nothing…! And it is not only me. It is the same story for all those in Sales. Apart from a fixed salary, nothing more one gets. While the scenario is completely different with the IT people, less work or no work…you still get much better salaries than any other people in any other department. This is one the single biggest factors which is bound to affect productivity from an employees part…! To me, it looks being biased which is why employees find themselves demotivated to perform. I wish employers/managers could read all your points and implement it practically to boost employee morale and thus make them more productive..!

Ashvini Kumar Saxena November 30, 2011 at 10:43 am

Hi Aswani,
Thank you for your awesome comment.
It has happened to all of us. Lack of appreciation is a huge dampener when you work hard. The best part is that now you know how to “not manage” your subordinates. That means that as a manager you will have good idea to motivate them. I wish you all the best

Aswani November 30, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Thanks Ashvini…!

Aswani December 1, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Ashvini…I don’t know why but I was very harsh with my words when I left comment for this post. Honestly, we can put everything to the management. Some faults lie in us too. Those words were just out of frustration and so…things as not as bad as expressed here. I can see a change in me and of course in the overall management. That makes me feel better now..:)

Cristian Balau November 25, 2011 at 1:02 am

Bonding coworkers together by having a celebration party and stuff like that it will definitely work but all of this doesn’t really matter if you are stressed out at work.
I used to have a stupid office job with a lot of benefits and pretty well payed. But the stress was unbelievable, the boss was there all the time pushing our nerves to the limit every day. Eventually I quit and not just me, the hole team with few exceptions.

Max M November 23, 2011 at 3:43 pm

First of all I think that the most imporant is to have good work life balance when employees have time to work and spend some time private. That’s why may be flexible timetable can be an advantage You should bring up a company morale and treat your employees like humans, but at the same time you should be strict enough with them to remin who is the owner of the business.

Adam Paudyal November 22, 2011 at 11:17 pm


Great tips here my friend. Acknowledging employee’s work is one of the best way to motivate them for greater output. No doubt about it. I wouldn’t be motivated to work for a boss that does not appreciate what I do. Who would?

I also agree on the part where you mentioned about team work – both employee and employer working as a team for better results. That can create some motivating environment for both parties.

Great read here buddy! This is definitely something a lot of small business owners need to take a look at. Can’t wait to read the remaining parts…(O:

Bryce Christiansen November 22, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Thanks Ashvini for the link.

This is a fabulous blog post. I’ll be sure to share it through our channels as well.


Rohit Batra November 22, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Good One Ashvini.. many Managers just keep monitoring employees not their work and the company lands-up in loosing employees which are more beneficial to them.. And everyone has a dream to work in environments like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook they care a lot about employee satisfaction and that in-turn gives more than good results..

your points are really good if considered by small firms.. after-all you have a lot of Experience of Companies :)

Ashvini Kumar Saxena November 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Hi Rohit,
I find that having great employee practices is not a function of cost but a function of management’s commitment. Most of the points that I have written do not cost anything. Free and fair environment is a must to develop employee and even if we have one employee, we still need to keep him or her happy.
I am glad that you liked my post .
Thanks a lot for the comment.

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