17 Tips for Taking an Active Role in Small Business Productivity


You’re a small business with an awesome team of employees. They love you and you love them. So what could possibly be better than that for a local company? Few things, really, but a little bump in productivity and performance never hurts! We know what you’re thinking now, “why fix something that’s not broken?” While your business isn’t broken, you may be missing out on a few opportunities to make it even more awesome than it already is with a more efficient platform.
The problem here is that most employers go overboard. They pour over hour sheets and focus on the negative in an effort to increase productivity. While this might work at first, it drives employees to start looking for employment elsewhere… In other words, we want to help you increase employee productivity while building your employee culture and actually increasing employee loyalty. How, you might ask? Check out our 17 tips below to find out!

1. Consider Desk Setup

Your employees’ workspace is their number one tool. How is it setup? Is it setup for them to move freely and think creatively? If not, you might want to adjust a few things to make it that way!

2. Schedule Breaks

Breaks are a big deal. We know you think this takes away from your bottom line, but it actually does just the opposite. Your employees need a breather to perform at their best. Allowing them a quick 5-10 minute break every hour or so is huge.

3. Offer Incentives

Your small business may not have the funds to give your employees a pony every time they complete a task. That’s not what we’re asking here. A simple shout out is enough to get your employees going. Maybe get creative and do this via social or through the company email system. Just let them know that you notice when they reach goals and do awesome things.

4. Spark Interaction

A happy workplace leads to a good day’s work. Encourage your employees to interact with one another. Schedule new employees with others who they share common interests with. Keep up on things and nurture a friendly work environment.

5. Set Goals

Without goals, your employees have nothing to work towards. What individual goals could you set for each employee? How can you approach these goals with positivity? These are starting questions you’ll need to ask yourself to set and achieve effective yet realistic goals for your team.

6. Encourage Teamwork

Two minds will always be better than one. Encourage your team to work together to get the job done. No one slacks on nightly chores – not even you and the management! Sales and projects? Those are also better with two employees on board. Schedule whiteboard meetings and quick brainstorming sessions to increase capabilities and expand skill sets.

7. Assign Tasks

Get specific. What does each employee need to do to complete the week’s work? How can you encourage them to go above and beyond by breaking up tasks and distributing them evenly?

8. Update Technology

Few things in life are more frustrating than a slow computer system or faulty in-store equipment. Keep up on these things. It shouldn’t be your employees’ responsibility to take time away from their daily tasks to deal with outdated technology.

9. Invest in Training

Effective training is a big deal. Even if your initial training program is the best of its kind, ongoing training is key to employee success. Get creative. Make training a game, offer interesting videos and reads, take time to find out what your employees have learned and what questions they’d like to ask about it.

10. Keep it Clean

A messy workspace can seriously hinder employee productivity. Plan for a weekly desk or workspace clean out. Help your employees get organized and clutter-free.

11. Encourage (AND listen to) Feedback

Asking for and actually listening to employee feedback are two different things. Encourage feedback and implement the ideas that you can. Try to choose at least one idea to implement after every round of feedback. Be sure not to neglect the input of any one employee though!

12. Brush up on Your Management Skills

It’s not always them, sometimes it’s you! Are you being the best manager you can be? Realistically, no manager is. Take part in online management trainings and keep up on news and updates within your industry to continue improving your skills as a leader.

13. Conduct Exit Interviews

Employees will inevitably come and go. The best thing you can do is learn what you can as they leave. Why? They’ll be more likely to tell you exactly what they think at this point. Ask what they liked about your workplace, what they didn’t like, and what they think you can do to improve employee management and overall service.

14. Focus on Outcome, Not Output

A lot of companies preach this, but do they actually practice it? Nine times out of ten, no! This is where you need to take a step back from focusing on hours and stats and look at what your employees are really doing. Are they making your customers happy? Are they contributing to a positive image for your company in your industry? Are they getting the job done and following through to make sure it was done well? These are the things that really matter.

15. Maintain a Healthy Company Culture

Your employees’ attitudes about coming into work seriously affect their performance when they actually get there. What can you do to make it more fun? How can you encourage comradery? Consider company outings or even just a catered lunch in the break room. Help them make friends within the company while showing them you actually care!

16. Establish Roles

On the flip side of the last point, it’s still important to establish yourself as a leader first and a friend second. However, this should be approached carefully and positively. Give praise and encouragement, not criticism, to establish your position as a boss.

17. Keep Improving

One of the most important things to remember is that no system is fool proof. If something isn’t working, toss that tactic out and opt for another. Keep looking for guides like this one to perfect and refine your strategy.

You might be wondering if we just came up with all of these tips on our own. The answer? Nope! We searched the web for the best tips and info we could find to provide a diverse range of tips and info from experts. So without further ado, we’d like to say a big thanks to the following resources for their insights!
6 Simply Steps to Increase Employee Productivity – Sabah Karimi, BusinessBee.com
Tips for Measuring Employee Engagement – Rich Hein, CIO.com
The Complete Guide to Improving Employee Productivity – Chad Halvorson, When I Work