Just about every manager is concerned with how to help his/her employees be more productive. Often there are pressures to accomplish more with less and find ways to streamline processes without affecting quality. How can a manager succeed in making this happen?
I recently spoke with a manager in a very large diversified health and well-being company which recently earned a top ranking in FORTUNE's 2011 Most Admired Companies list. She was telling me of a training program which was very beneficial to her called Managing Your Career. She told me it gave her an opportunity to look at what aspects of her job were meaningful to her so she could bring her career into alignment with her values. She felt very motivated by this class.
Daniel H. Pink, in his book Drive explains, "The secret to high performance and satisfaction–at work, at school, and at home–is a deep human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world."
When managers help their employees align responsibilities with personal values and meaning, productivity automatically increases. Employees are inspired to do great work and stay loyal to their company.
Create a Shared Vision
Employees often lose sight of the vision and goals of a company, or group within a company, because often vision and goal statements are put on a shelf once they are written.
Employees also often lose sight of their particular contribution amidst the daily to do list and project schedules.
Reminding your employees of the company vision/goals, your department's vision/goals, and how he/she is contributing to this shared vision can be very motivating and help employees feel a part of something important.
Give Your Employees Some Ownership
Employees also need to feel they have a say in the job responsibilities and in their learning. Beginning with a conversation about what is important to your employee and what specific parts of the job are meaningful can give you good insight into what makes that person tick and gives your employee the the opportunity to have some input.
Be sure to have this conversation separate from a performance review so you can have an honest and open conversation without having to layer on suggestions for performance improvement. Also be sure to tell your employee that this is the beginning of an open discussion and process–you will take this information into consideration when making assignments and it is a process of working together to figure out how to achieve company and group goals and how to make jobs more rewarding.
Once you've had these conversations, you may identify an opportunity to shift some work within your group which will help everyone to be more productive. As new work comes in, you'll know to whom to assign the work. You will have opened a constructive conversation in which you've had an opportunity to re-communication your goals/vision ensuring you and your group have a united vision.
With this information, you'll know how to inspire and engage your employees to increase their performance and effectiveness on the job. More importantly, you've opened communication in your group and the trust of your employees.