Expert advice on Business Leadership and tips on becoming a more effective Leader.

Leadership Lesson: Motivating Employees to Increase Productivity

It’s considered common knowledge that congratulating someone for a job well done makes that person feel accomplished and motivated. Yet, in many companies, these simple acts of recognition from managers and co-workers rarely occur. Why is this? It could be that because it is such a simple and easy thing to do, that it is easily overlooked, and soon months have gone by without a single employee receiving positive feedback or appreciation.

Why is this such a big deal? First off, it’s a problem because it is highly prevalent. A survey from Sirota Consulting found that 51 percent of workers aren’t satisfied with the level of recognition within their company, and that 20 percent of the total workforce are frustrated with their jobs. So, unless you already have an effective recognition program in your company, more than likely your employees are unhappy and frustrated. Secondly, lack of recognition takes a significant toll on productivity directly affecting profits.

Now that we have established why you should be paying attention to this, let’s take a look at some ways recognition can improve productivity.

1. A Sense of Meaning

Without any form of recognition, most of us begin to see ourselves as work horses. We show up everyday, do what we are told to do, and are paid for our labor. It doesn’t take long before we have no personal commitment to our work or awareness of how we are contributing to the good of the company. On the other hand, letting employees know that their work is appreciated and showing them the results of what they have done can be invigorating as they find new meaning to the repetitive and sometimes boring work they do from day to day.

2. More Job Satisfaction

Most of us hate doing chores, which is why we get them done as quickly as possible and otherwise avoid them. Employees with little to no job satisfaction often approach their jobs in the same way. They spend more time on Facebook than they do working, and may be absent frequently. High job satisfaction, on the other hand, keeps employees engaged throughout the day, getting many more tasks accomplished. A positive work environment where an employee feels appreciated is crucial to improving job satisfaction—thus providing another reason to offer praise.

3. Greater Employee Retention

Constant turnover takes a significant toll on productivity, as managers must take the time to hunt for, interview and train new employees. New employees also require several months to become as efficient as those that have been around for a while. Unfortunately, employees that don’t feel appreciated will jump at the chance to leave a company for one that will appreciate them. As such, the best way to fight turnover and increase productivity is to have a good recognition program in place.

4. Increased Creativity

Employee recognition can serve beyond improving productivity on already established procedures; it can also spur employees to go above and beyond, and start thinking critically about how to speed up their work or perhaps better reach out to customers or clients. In other words, employees will start living up to their full potential.

5. Familial Support

Finally, an employee’s family can tell if they don’t like their work and will often start to begrudge the company and manager if they see the work taking a toll on their loved one. As this negative attitude spreads, the family may encourage the employee to not be so committed to their work. On the other hand, families that see how appreciated their loved ones are will likely support some extra hours and devotion if it is needed.
Robert Cordray is a freelance writer and expert in business and finance. He has received many accolades for his work in teaching solid entrepreneur advice.