6 Cultures That Boost Business Productivity Immediately
We all know business productivity is crucial for all business.
However, with so many things to do and manage, it is extremely hard for entrepreneurs to set aside time for business productivity.
Here are some 6 simple cultures that you can easily implement into your business.
A company culture is “a blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time,” as defined by Entrepreneur.com.
A Columbia University study shows that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with rich company culture is a slight 13.9 percent, whereas the probability of job turnover in poor company cultures is 48.4 percent.
The reason for this is simple: unhappy employees don’t tend to do more than the minimum, great workers who don’t feel appreciated quit, and poor managers negatively affect workers and productivity.
With these six culture builders that boost happiness and productivity, you don’t have to fret about your office suffering from culture breakdown:
- Cultivate Value-Adding Qualities (PhD)
- Honour Employees at All Levels
- Use IT
- Embrace The Pantry
- Minimise Meetings
- Provide Constructive Feedback
1. Cultivate Value-Adding Qualities (PhD)
No, not the certificate. I’m talking about Passion, Heart (commitment) and Desire (ownership).
A culture of productivity is cultivated by:
- Passion in execution,
- A heart that yearns to bring projects to fruition, and
- The desire to play a significant role in the company’s continued growth and success.
These are value-adding qualities that CEOs should first possess, then look out for in employees.
When conducting interviews, remember to observe these qualities in job candidates.
Give them opportunities to exercise these qualities using situational questions. Screen their social media platforms and resumes to see if the activities they are involved in reflect these values.
A scholar defines passion as “love for an activity in which one invests significant amounts of time and energy, and that is an important part of an individual’s self-concept”.
The activity becomes internalised within the person’s identity.
For example, someone having a passion for teaching comes to identify him/herself as a teacher and not simply someone who teaches for a living. Being a teacher is part of who that person is.
Committed employees do whatever it takes to excel.
Savvy employers reward these work habits by offering chances for advancement, which reduces turnover, and attracts talents who are willing to show the same degree of commitment.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can expect all your employees to work overtime all the time, and free of charge, for you. Lead by example – put in more to what matters, and a committed team will come on board with you.
I’m sure the word ownership has come across every business manager’s mind before.
Most managers often make the mistake of expecting their subordinates to take ownership as a work ethic. What they fail to realise is that the ball is actually in their court.
Employees are empowered by higher authorities to take ownership. When employees are trusted to succeed in their tasks, and given the necessary tools to accomplish their tasks, they will naturally develop an ownership mentality.
One practical way to empower your employees is to ask for their feedback and opinions about projects, goals and important decisions affecting the company.
Of course, you won’t be able to act upon everyone’s opinion every time, but simply hearing them out goes a long way toward enriching relationships and fostering collaboration.
2. Honour employees at all levels
Usually, only top-performing employees are celebrated and praised in the company.
However, employees will be touched by their bosses’ sincerity and humility when all employees across levels are appreciated for their efforts. When their “inner tanks” are filled, they will naturally have more to give.
Employees, like bosses, are human beings with genuine emotions. They too want to know that their contribution to the company, big or small, obvious or subtle, is meaningful and appreciated.
Demonstrate your appreciation and belief towards your employees by acknowledging their assignments, efforts and results.
Celebrate their presence in your everyday work life. Employees want to know that they add value to the company and to you.
Some practical ways to honour your employees:
- Give all your attention to them when engaging in a conversation
- Commend and thank them for their work in front of other colleagues
- Ask them for their thoughts and open yourself to their responses
- Keep your office door open as much as you possibly can
- Greet an employee before issuing your first instructions of the day
Doing these little things will go a long way!
3. Use IT to improve your business productivity
Here are some statistics on Business IT:
- Two thirds of small businesses would find it a major challenge to survive without wireless technology (AT&T Small Business Technology Poll 2013)
- 41% of small businesses used email marketing to customers in 2013, a 25% jump over the previous year (AT&T Small Business Technology Poll 2013)
- 66% of small business owners are using mobile devices or solutions as part of their day to day operations (Constant Contact 2013)
- 4 out of 5 consumers use smartphones to shop (ComScore, 2012)
- The cloud has helped SMEs reduce IT workload by 42% (Microsoft 2012)
So if you have begun using IT, congratulations! If you haven’t, do consider the technologies that can help ease your burdens.
Tedious accounting/payroll procedures?
Get an accounting software.
Lacking manpower in business operations?
Explore the various machines that could help.
Overwhelming competition in the market?
Build rapport with your market online, through emails, social media platforms and blogs.
Is your website simply existing, and not contributing much to your sales?
Expose your online platforms through SEO or SEM, digital marketing, and analytical tools.
Want to ensure sleek delivery of customer service, quality control, and service recovery?
Design and thrive in managing customer service with a CMS software.
Want to level-up your business infrastructure?
Invest in a cloud-based ERP system.
(we can help you with these! click here.)
4. Embrace The Pantry
And all the employees say yes! to this point.
This doesn’t equate to staying at the pantry for an hour to convene and converse with fellow skivers.
Instead, it is the place where employees can take a breather, rest their eyes, (take a nap?), catch up on breakfast, have a snack or sip on a hot cup of tea. Food supplies sugar, which gives energy!
Walking to the pantry also offers employees some sort of exercise.
With a comforting and welcoming pantry, employees’ quality of working life will increase tremendously and they will be happier at work.
Economists have conducted a study on the correlation between happiness and productivity. Statistics show that productivity raises by 12% in general when employees are happy. For Google, it’s 37%!
A few of Google’s employee perks:
- Never-ending free gourmet food and snacks
- Pet-friendly environment
- Massage Credits
- Free fitness classes and gyms
- Extended time off to follow their passions
- Exposure to amazing people and great thinkers
No wonder they attract and retain the best talents in the world.
A few things that enhance your office environment:
- Potted plants
- House furniture rather than office furniture
- Cushions and Bean Bags
- Dome-shaped CFL or Halogen light bulbs
- Personal and Meaningful Art
- Filled refrigerators and food shelves
5. Minimise Meetings
According to a survey by OfficeTeam, a division of Robert Half International, 45 percent of senior executives surveyed said that their employees would be more productive if their firms banned meetings for a least one-day a week.
Bottomline: There is a high tendency for meetings to cause low productivity in the office. Employees are deprived of time which they could use to do something better.
Then again, meetings are unavoidable. Hence, here are guidelines for a good meeting:
- Always start the meeting on time, regardless of people who are late
- Reduce the length of meetings to one hour maximum, and preferably less—try 30, 15 or even 10 minutes
- Decide who needs to attend—productivity goes down with increasing numbers of participants
- Allow the right for employees to decline their attendance
- The meeting leader should enforce only one person speaking at a time, and to the point
- At the beginning of the meeting, ensure that the desired outcome(s) are stated clearly
- Respectfully interrupt people who either repeat what they have said, or repeat what someone else has already covered
6. Provide Constructive Feedback
Giving feedback to your colleagues and employees provides them with an observer’s insight into how their performance is progressing, as well as advice to solve any problems.
However, this well-intended gesture often generates fear and anxiety, putting the receiver on the defense.
While giving and receiving feedback can be a sensitive process, there’s no doubting its value in helping to identify issues and solve them.
Business owners should manage feedback in a positive way so that it can do what it’s intended to do: Help improve and grow your business.
Here are five tips that can get you on track to giving productive feedback:
1. Create a safe environment. Believe it or not, people who receive feedback apply it only about 30% of the time. If the person receiving the feedback doesn’t feel comfortable, the feedback is ultimately unproductive.
2. Be positive. Give at least as much positive feedback as you do negative. Positive feedback stimulates the reward centers in the brain, leaving the recipient open to taking new direction. Meanwhile, negative feedback indicates that an adjustment needs to be made and the threat response turns on and defensiveness sets in. You don’t need to avoid negative, or corrective, feedback altogether. Just make sure you follow it up with a suggested solution or outcome.
3. Be specific. People generally respond better to specific, imaginable directions. Avoid saying things like, “You need to be more talkative in meetings.” It’s too ambiguous and can be interpreted in a lot of personal ways. Instead, say something specific, such as “You’re smart. I want to hear at least one opinion from you in every meeting from now on.”
4. Be immediate. The adult brain learns best by being caught in action. If you wait three months to tell someone that his or her performance is average, he or she usually can’t grasp the changes needed in order to change direction. It’s far too ambiguous and relies on memory, which can be faulty. Productive feedback requires giving it frequently.
5. Be tough, not mean. When someone drops the ball at work and you have to give him or her feedback, start by asking his or her perspective on the situation. Resist saying how stupid his or her actions were, even if they were.
Click here for a glimpse into Microsoft’s culture, during Microsoft Developer Day 2016!