How to Improve Productivity

Seven steps for getting the best out of your workforce

Dr. Iwan Jenkins, President, Riot Point Research Corporation.

Dr. Iwan Jenkins is president of Toronto-based Riot Point Research Corporation. With extensive experience in strategy, marketing, and leadership effectiveness through direct experience and consulting, he has successfully managed growth in mature and emerging industries. Jenkins has a special interest in the link between organizational effectiveness and business performance, conducting empirical research for a number of executives and publishing in numerous academic and trade journals. Here are his tips for a more efficient and effective output.

Create a culture of openness

If you want your workforce to implement a tough plan, they first have to feel free to debate it, challenge it, understand it, and then accept it. This requires a culture of openness and honesty. Command and control drives away true talent.

Focus, focus, focus

Overloading is a consequence of modern life, but we are not hardwired to deal with it well. High productivity requires [us] to focus on what must be done, not what should be done. An open culture and clear goals help reduce this problem significantly.

Only enter events you stand a chance of winning

Nothing enhances confidence and motivation faster than success. Don’t set your organization up for failure. Don’t enter marathons if your organization is full of sprinters. An open culture and clear goals help reduce this problem significantly.

Live the corporate values

People are watching. Demonstrate explicitly and consistently any sacrifices or shifts in behaviours to expect from others. Nothing destroys trust faster than “one rule for them, another for us.”

Ask your team why they’re there

Every employee should be able to articulate an answer to this question. A strong link between our work requirement and our unique capabilities turbo boosts our motivation.

Communicate progress reports frequently

We all need feedback on the impact of our activities. Our human brains are hardwired to demand it, which is why social isolation is considered a punishment.

Know that recognition is the most powerful reward

We all need to feel we are making a difference. It determines our social status and our individual self-esteem. Give employees a chance to shine, and acknowledge them in front of their peers.