The success of any business venture is solely determined by the efficiency and role of the management. Business management covers a variety of for which include asset management, financial management, production management, supply management and human resource management. What we realize is that employees play a major role in the success of a business because they are the ones who actually run the business (Ding, 2009). Human resource management is therefore very essential as the employees have to be constantly encouraged and influenced to be more productive if the business is going to succeed. This encompasses proper decisions and policy making to organize and control staff in pursuance of the intended goals. Harrison (2000) in his book Improving Employee Performance notes that employee satisfaction is the key to successful business. Many organizations have failed due to excessive staff turnover mostly caused by poor remuneration and non conducive work environment. This paper aims at analyzing how employees can be influenced to be more productive.
What causes low employee productivity?
A brief look as to why employees may not be productive will introduce a good discussion ground for this topic. Employees are happy when they work in conducive environments (KirkPatrick, 2006). A conducive environment in this case refers to the situation at the workplace. Physically, a work place that is generally dirty and unhygienic is not comfortable for the workers to work in. An environment that exposes people to hazards is not desirable among employees and therefore it may affect their productivity (KirkPatrick, 2006). Carter and MCMahon (2005) notes that the level of interaction between employees and the management also forms the environment. A department where a supervisor constantly quarrels employees or uses extreme reprimanding, coercion and punishment cannot be conducive for productive functioning (Carter and MCMahon, 2005).
The limitation of employees on airing their own views and contributing to management decisions makes them less productive as they have no sense of belonging and feel like they are not recognized in the business (Ding, 1991). Monotony and repetition of the same tasks over and over creates boredom resulting in poor outcomes. Poor promotion strategies probably due to discrimination which leave out some deserving employees can cause detrimental effects on employee performance. Improper job placements so that some employees work in areas they are not well endowed in skills and abilities can be a source of poor performance (Harrison, 2000). The lack of skills and knowledge on how t do the job best slows down the performance of the employees and hence the need for constant training and career development (Ding, 1991).
Giving the right rewards and remuneration: Rewards and remuneration are the basic tools that the management can use to influence employee performance. Employees should get a competitive share of the fruits of the organization’s activities as they are the major contributors to its success (Harrison, 2000). Victor Vroom in trying to validate his expectancy theory of motivation notes that human beings will work best when they are expecting to get something at the end of the job (KirkPatrick, 2006). Every employee wants to see that he or she is getting good compensation for the services rendered to the organization. An employee should not feel underpaid because this causes loss of morale which in turn leads to unproductiveness. Motivation through compensation according to Carter and McMahon (2005) gives employees a reason to come to work every morning and not desire to quit or leave the organization for another one.
Besides giving employees the usual compensation package, rewards such as bonuses and fringe benefits which include insurance, retirement benefits, mortgage funding among others have a positive influence on employee performance. Security in the future according to Harrison (2000) is a need in Maslow’s psychological needs which every human being wants to achieve. Knowing that one’s life is insured and that they have security during the old age is motivation enough for your employees to love and do their job diligently.
Recognition: Every employee has a need for recognition and will work better if he or she knows that the employer recognizes his or her presence, achievements and contributions within the organization (Ding, 1991; Harrison, 2000). Recognition can be made in the form of physical rewards as well as verbal praise and encouragement from the supervisors (Carter and McMahon, 2005). Rewards depending on performance should be given to the employees as they indicate that they are being recognized. Most companies do this through establishment of awards such as best employee of the year, giving good performance certificates and bonuses. This keeps employees working harder as those recognized want to maintain the same while the rest want to get that kind of recognition too.
Set departmental goals: The management in addition to setting the overall goals and objectives of the business, departments must be given their share of responsibility towards the attainment of these goals. Setting departmental goals according to KirkPatrick (2006) creates a sense of mission within the organization. This calls for close working relationships with heads of department to ensure that they put pressure on the employees to attain these goals. The call for departments to meet their goals will make them work hard towards the same hence improving performance of the employees.
Evaluate Performance: Performance can only be measured through staff evaluation otherwise known as tracking performance. Most businesses use this method for determining staff placement and promotions (Harrison, 2000). Performance evaluation helps the firm to establish how the employees are doing by focusing on their ability in meeting deadlines, commitment to meeting set goals, teamwork ability and management ability (Ding, 1991). As KirkPatrick (2006) puts it, as employees aim at getting a high score in the evaluation, they are more likely to perform better especially if rewards are available for the best performing employees or those who show a significant positive change.
Proper employee selection and job placement: Employees perform best where they are best endowed in terms of knowledge and skills (Ding, 1991). Giving an accountant the job of a customer care personnel may not bring out the best results. This is because the accountant does not have the right skills for handling customers because he has no training and experience. Similarly, the business should make sure that employees are selected carefully so as to ensure only the best performing employees are taken. This is mostly during the recruitment period. The human resource department must identify the best qualified personnel to ensure maximization of productivity (Kirk Patrick, 2006).
Get commitment and emphasize on performance standards: Employees must be committed if they can effectively contribute to achievement of the company goals and objectives (KirkPatrick, 2006). According to Harrison (2000), management positions especially require high degrees of commitment as the managers influence the performance of the whole department. To obtain the best form the employees, the management must emphasize their expectations in each particular job to give guidance to the employees (Harrison, 2000). Before recruiting employees, every manager must lay down all the conditions of employment and let the employee make a choice of joining the business’ workforce. Commitment in any business is important as it gives the management confidence that the employee is going to perform (Harrison, 2000). Commitment involves accepting to work in the company unconditionally, accepting the salary package offered responsibilities and a promise to do a good job. By telling the employee the standards that are expected before recruitment, the management increases the probability of having only productive workers (Harrison, 2000). KirkPatrick (2006) recommends that employers should be serious about their jobs and show future and existing employees that they mean business and that every one of them must accomplish the set goals within the department.
Don’t forget Career development: Training and development plays a major role in improving performance standards of employees and consequently increasing productivity. Training increases employee job knowledge as well as develops new skills which come in handy in improving performance (Carter and McMahon, 2005). Employees who have benefited from education opportunities either fully or partially paid have exhibited loyalty towards their employees and their desire to be more productive besides adding more skills to the business (Carter and McMahony, 2005). Career development as employees climb the professional ladder helps to ensure that future management is obtained from within the organization. Carter and McMahon (2005) note that since they are well conversant with all the procedures in the business they save on the work of training new managers from outside.
That Occasional treat: The management should always aim at making the employees feel appreciated. The management can adopt ways of treating their employees from time to time. The company can for instance make a habit of organizing an end of year party for its employees, giving occasional lunch surprises, rewarding the employees with occasional Friday afternoon leaves, team building outings among others will go a long way in building motivation for the employees. According to Harrison (2000), team building exercises sponsored by the employer have proved to help in motivation of employees as well as the improvement of interrelationships within the organization. Treats given to employees makes them feel appreciated by the management and hence induce them to work harder.
Carter, E. M. A & McMahon, F. A. (2005). Improving Employee Performance Through Workplace Coaching: A Practical Guide to Performance Management. London, UK: Kogan Page Publishers.
Ding, M. L. (1991). Answers to the competitive challenge to employee productivity. Chapman University Economic and Business Review. December Issue.
Harrison, N. (2000). Improving Employee Performance. London UK: Kogan Page Publishers.
Kirkpatrick, D. L (2006). Improving employee performance through appraisal and coaching, 2nd edition. Broadway, New York: AMACOM Division of American Management Association.