Employee productivity and efficiency are key to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) success in the competitive business world. To better understand how to improve these aspects in the workplace, Isabel Soto, president of the Puerto Rico Chapter of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), shares six effective strategies that SMB owners can implement to increase their employee’s productivity and efficiency:
- Foster a healthy work environment
For Soto, maintaining a healthy work environment is paramount. It’s important to establish a work culture that fosters respect, collaboration, recognition of work, and communication at all levels. The human resources expert explained that by cultivating mutual commitment between the company and its employees, greater productivity is achieved, fostering teamwork, and enhancing people’s commitment. “Also strive to know employees’ opinions and offer them the company’s viewpoint. It’s the only way to improve the work environment and help them develop new skills,” she said.
- Analyze processes and implement improvements
Secondly, every business owner must frequently conduct an exhaustive analysis of the company’s processes to identify weak points within the operation and determine which areas require improvement. Soto commented that by staying current on industry best practices, SMB owners can implement changes that increase efficiency and productivity in daily operations.
- Train and develop your employees’ skills
Investing in staff training and development is a key strategy to increase productivity. Providing learning and professional growth opportunities helps employees acquire new skills and knowledge, which translates into more efficient task performance. “This goes hand in hand with maintaining a healthy work environment, as a motivated employee will perform better,” Soto pointed out.
- Motivate and retain staff
Motivation and retention of staff are essential to maintain a committed and productive work team. SMB owners can implement recognition, incentive, and benefit programs that promote employee satisfaction and engagement. This, in turn, will encourage greater productivity. “Currently, it’s challenging and expensive to recruit new personnel, so keeping a person motivated is one of the elements to maintain your productivity processes in your operation,” Soto indicated.
- Implement technology
Adopting technology aligned with the needs of an SMB can improve efficiency within the organization, assist in establishing goals and objectives, and enhance communication between work teams. Process automation and the use of collaborative tools help work to flow easier and increase employees’ productivity. Technology also provides data that will help you analyze processes and correct any weak points within your operation, Soto affirmed.
- Set clear goals and share them with employees
Every company must be transparent in its operational objectives, and they must be constantly reviewed if the projected results are not being achieved. This will also help in terms of employee productivity and operational efficiency. It’s also vital to share this information with the work team. “Employees become more focused on their tasks when they know they are working toward a specific goal. When they know the goal, they strive to achieve it,” Soto added.
Challenges for SMBs
According to Soto, one of the main obstacles for implementing these strategies to improve employee productivity and efficiency in SMBs is the lack of knowledge and skills in human resources management. To overcome this challenge, she recommended training managers and supervisors to maintain a healthy work culture and develop the necessary skills and aptitudes to manage personnel efficiently. If an SMB doesn’t have a Human Resources Department, Soto urged employers to seek external consulting services or explore the courses and offered by the Society for Human Resource Management in their Tools section.
Implementing effective strategies to improve employee productivity and efficiency can significantly impact the growth and success of SMBs. Investing in staff training and development, motivating and retaining employees, and taking advantage of technology can make a difference in a company’s success, regardless of its size.
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