The last thing any employer wants is to have a workforce that puts procrastination over productivity. Unfortunately there are just some employees who are going to push against that envelope at every chance they get. It’s one thing if you have someone who works best under pressure and can still turn out a fantastic product reliably in a short time frame. It’s another if that someone is simply easily distracted or doesn’t mind producing a lackluster product and would rather spend time playing games on Steam.
So what do you do? How do you make sure that your employees stay on track?
1. Monitoring Software
Some companies will install monitoring software that will allow them to “log in” and see what any employee is doing at any given time. If you have some particularly problematic employees, this might be a good way to “catch them in the act.” Another good way to go is to use Network Monitoring Tools that track and record details like traffic, resource allotment, etc. This way, even if someone minimizes a window when you walk by (or in case you “log in”) you can see how much bandwidth they are using. If you know the volume of resources they should be using, telling who is spending more time surreptitiously watching YouTube will be obvious.
2. Regular Reviews
Performance appraisals (some employers choose to call them, simply, Performance Reviews) are a great way to improve employee productivity (nobody wants a bad review!). The trick is to have them regularly. Most employers will only do them once every twelve months because, frankly, most employers hate doing performance reviews more than the employees! It’s better to have them at least every six months. If you have the time or your employee pool is small enough, having them every three months can keep productivity levels high. It also helps you maintain contact and keep tabs on how your business as a whole. It is helpful, particularly if you are going to have them more often, to strive for an informal and conversational style. Encourage feedback from your employees as well as asking them to accept the feedback you give to them.
3. Provide Helpful Tools
There are lots of different productivity apps out there that you (and your employees) can use to help manage time, stay on task and increase productivity. Embrace the technology and implement it on all of your work-related machines. Foot the bill for the better, and more expensive, apps so that your employees don’t have to.
4. Offer Great Benefits
In addition to basic health care benefits, other benefits like company cars (or gas allowances), free childcare (or as close to free as you can offer it), paid kid sick days and allowing employees to telecommute when they need to can all help improve your employees’ productivity. Why? Who would want to risk losing a job with all of those sweet benefits? Further, those benefits help your employees relax while they are on the job. That relaxation feeds into their desire to give their best performance at work. Everybody wins.
There are lots of ways to incentivize your employees to stay on task and to be as productive as possible. The hardest thing is not deciding whether or not to offer those incentives but which incentives you want to focus on.
Kelly Jane Brown is an aspiring writer, entrepreneur and student at UCLA.