Maximising employee efficiency in a small business

If you manage a small business, you’ll understand the importance of surrounding yourself with a supportive, motivated, and dedicated team. Driven and enthusiastic employees can do wonders for their company, while disinterested or contemptuous ones can be downright damaging to your livelihood. If you have any concerns about your employees’ efficiency and motivation, the good news is that there is a lot you can do to turn things around, often without outside intervention.

Motivating and managing your employees

One of the best ways to motivate your employees, and to ensure that you’re really getting the best out of them, is to lead by example. Engage with your staff, lead with confidence, be open and truthful about who you are and what you expect from your employees. Encourage questions and suggestions, while promoting creativity. Weekly meetings in which goals are set, successes applauded, and failures discussed as a team are another way to increase your employees’ efficiency. Employees will come to know what is expected of them and be more inspired to fulfil your expectations. Team building days, whether they are your cup of tea or not, are proven to lift staff mood, and a good day at the office should always be acknowledged. Maximising efficiency is all about understanding your team’s strengths and weaknesses, and the ways in which people work together. By getting to know your staff, you’re already halfway there.

The type of environment you provide for your employees will go a long way towards influencing how efficient they’re likely to be. A light, open, and comfortable environment, which is never too warm nor too cool, and access to a break room will always be beneficial. Access to social media, books, or television during downtime has actually been shown to increase productivity in the office, rather than reduce efficiency as you may have been led to believe. Mundane tasks are a fantastic way to give stressed or overwhelmed workers a break, while ensuring they remain useful to the office environment. For example, how many times have you wished you could simply file paperwork or answer emails, instead of tying yourself up in knots with complicated acquisitions? Chances are your employees will feel a little overwhelmed at times too, so it’s a good idea to offer these small, but valuable tasks as a way to show you understand.

Health and motivation

Of course, one of the biggest causes of inefficiency in the workplace is illness. It is essential for employees to feel well looked after and valued. This may mean offering support and understanding in instances of ill-health. While coughs and colds, the flu, infections, and injuries are rarely avoidable, some occurrences of illness, or periods of unproductiveness, may be due to something a little more sinister. Drug and alcohol abuse is one of the most distressing causes of inefficiency in the workplace. It is essential that managers learn how to recognise the signs that one of their employees is struggling and to counteract the negative behaviour associated with addictions. Drug and alcohol addictions have the potential to ruin businesses, lower staff morale, and increase the risk of harm to other employees and even clients. The issue should never be taken lightly, as it can disrupt every aspect of your livelihood. Workplace drug testing, such as an oral fluid lab test or blood examination can confirm your suspicions that an employee is struggling, and allow you to put a series of measures in place. As a manager, it is your responsibility to support every staff member, regardless of what they’re going through. Productivity, efficiency, and morale will improve if you’re seen to be taking appropriate action, while disruptive behaviour can be tackled before things get out of control.

Managing a team of employees, no matter how small or large, can be a daunting prospect. After all, it’s your job to keep morale high, inspire productivity, and ensure that your business is fulfilling its maximum potential. As a good leader, you will encourage staff members, listen to criticism and creative input, and generally be available for your employees. Employees really need your guidance, and an office can only be as efficient as the one who’s in charge.