POPin Blog

Improving Workforce Productivity Through Engagement

Have you ever heard the term “presenteeism”? It refers to employees who are physically present at work, but disengaged and distracted — and it costs the United States some $344 billion every year.
Employees who come to work when ill, or who are just going through the motions, can seriously hamper workforce productivity. All hope is not lost, however. Check out these ways to engage your employees, improve morale, and boost your bottom line.

Be a Mentor, Not a Manager

The traditional hierarchy of upper management, middle management, and — for lack of a better term — managees is rapidly falling out of favor. It fosters a culture of buck-passing, blame, and resentment. Of course, every company needs to designate people who will make decisions, implement policies, and ultimately be responsible for a department’s success or failure. However, you can engage employees more effectively by mentoring them, rather than just managing them (or worse yet, micromanaging them). Start by finding out what your employees would like to achieve in their position or their career. Then strategize a path to reach those goals together. Chances are that employee productivity will improve as a result. Mentoring means sharing your experience, but also asking employees to draw on their own experiences. Instead of implementing top-down rules and enforcing them with punitive action, involve workers in the decision-making process. Communicate with them and give them a voice, and you will get great results in return.

Try Twenty Percent Time

This concept, famously put into practice by internet juggernaut Google, is responsibleGmailGMail, AdSense, and a host of other innovations. If your company can’t afford to grant employees 20% time, try 10% time, or schedule regular company “Hack Days.” Letting employees use the company’s time and resources to pursue their own passions might sound counterintuitive. Wouldn’t it slash workforce productivity, not improve it? It turns out that allowing little bit of leeway and freedom actually drives increased employee engagement. Engaged employees are productive employees.

Employee Engagement Starts with Office Environment

Some of the smallest changes can reap the biggest rewards. To engage employees, try offering some perks — free snacks in the break room, a monthly happy hour, or a dog-friendly office policy. Encourage cubicle-dwellers to dress up their space by hosting a decorating contest. Bring in a ping-pong or foosball table. Treat employees to premium Spotify accounts, or regular chair massages. Perks like these aren’t a panacea, and can’t make up for truly poor management or working conditions. But they will definitely send the message that you truly value your human capital.

Consider Flexible Hours or Work-from-Home Policies

In the past 10 years, the number of people who work remotely has increased by 115% — and for good reason. The ability to telecommute, or to set one’s own hours, is a fantastic way to improve workforce productivity. When people can choose where and when they work, they will choose the places and times that allow them to do their best work. It’s pretty simple. (Bonus: it can help cut down on overhead, too.) Even offering just one day a week as “office optional” can have a huge trickle-down effect on the overall productivity.

Workforce Productivity Within Reach

Naturally, there are many pieces to the productivity puzzle. These are just a few of the techniques for boosting engagement that you can try. For more ideas, or to learn about how our crowdsourcing platform can work well for your team, give us a call!