It happens to every business. Things are going smoothly, productivity is up, sales are up, and then all of a sudden everything drops. It can almost come without warning and leave everyone scratching their heads and wondering what happened. The reality is, there are warning signs of the impending change and there are ways you can combat it long before it happens. Here are some causes of low productivity and how to combat those issues.
The Dissatisfied Employee
When morale drops, employees don’t feel appreciated or fulfilled in their jobs. They begin to feel like a cog in the machine and fail to see their value. This is an important time to step in and do something to let your employees know that you appreciate their hard efforts day in and day out. Recognition awards, employee appreciation days, and even catered lunches are a great way to acknowledge those who give tirelessly to the business and encourage more hard work. It sets a positive tone for the work culture and nurtures healthy relationships that will grow as new employees come on board. When new employees come on board, you want the other employees to spread the good news on why it is so wonderful to work for the company.
Poor Management Skills
Another big reason for a drop in employee productivity is related directly to poor management. Either your management team is developing its own slump or you have a few eggs in the basket that need tending to before they spoil.
There are several ways to also combat the management slump and all of them involve appropriate training measures. It is important that your management team completes sensitivity training so that all lines of communication are open and functioning appropriately. One manager who allows for drama can bring down the whole management team and morale amongst employees. Knowing the proper channels for communications is extremely important so you can avoid “sweeping things under the rug”. Anytime you try to ignore an issue, it will come back to haunt you.
Occasionally, you may find yourself with someone who is just bad at managing a team. Either their personality isn’t the right fit or they presented themselves as something they are not. It happens and it should be dealt with swiftly.
Sometimes the reason for slow productivity isn’t the people but the systems. Old systems that crash too often or simply function too slowly won’t keep up with your productivity needs as the business grows. Your system should be able to grow with the company but sometimes you can’t help it. Stay on top of all your systems and check in with IT often about the functionality of the business.
The minute IT recommends upgrading to a new system, follow their advice!! You don’t want to hang on to an old system because when employees can’t do their jobs well due to a slow system, you are going to have some very dissatisfied employees and that can cause even more productivity issues. Deal with it quickly so that minimal effects of slower productivity occur.
Personal Issues Can Get In The Way
Every so often, you will have an employee that suddenly shows signs of slowing down. They are late to work a little more than usual, they seem forgetful, can’t find work that they have allegedly already done, and they stop engaging with other employees. It also happens to occur out of the blue. They were once a great employee and now they are your worst. Most often, it’s a sign that there is a personal problem that is affecting their work. It is a good idea to offer counseling options in your benefits program so that the employee can reach out for help quietly and on their terms. You can also offer them some sick/vacation days to handle the problem. Whatever it is, don’t allow it to go too far before you are stuck firing them!
Productivity is what will keep your business stable and growing. By incorporating just a couple of these steps, you should see productivity improve by the next quarter.