Productivity is one the most important factors in your business success, but managing productivity can become time consuming and ineffective. Managing our own productivity is generally within our control, but what about our employees?
More importantly, how do you know if your employees are productive? We can start by looking for unproductive behavior. To learn more about the common warning signs that your employees are exhibiting counterproductive behavior, I reached out to Barbara Walters, President of the HR Advantage (www.thehradv.com). Barbara specializes in coaching, training, and working with business to solve people problems. She also works with businesses eliminate counterproductive workplace behaviors.
According to Barbara, these are some of the most common workplace behaviors that can affect your business productivity.
- Poor time management – Businesses today seem to be arenas of urgency addiction. We are constantly told that everything needs to get done “asap” (as soon as possible) or the new buzz phrase “bee” (before everything else). Without the use of time management tools, who is deciding what’s possible or what else needs to be done?
- Procrastination – The bigger the project, the harder it may be to start. And when we feel particularly uncomfortable, we look for ways to increase our comfort. Ways like finding easier and more enjoyable things to do ultimately putting off the inevitable. We might even say “yes” to someone else’s request just to keep us from dealing with our guilty conscience.
- Over-promising and not delivering on promises – Your clients like most people probably prefer honesty. It goes a long way toward building trusting relationships. And if over-promising and under-delivering happens on a regular basis, such as continually missing deadlines or saying anything a client wants to hear just to get them in the door, you’ve got problems coming anyway. Don’t say “yes” when you mean “no”.
- Avoiding difficult conversations – Sooner than later is the method to strive for. People feel blindsided when your criticism takes too long to be delivered. They may actually be continuing the unwanted behavior not knowing that you are unhappy about it. It will set the right tone if your intention is truly to be helpful or supportive. Then too the other person may have some ideas how to correct the problem when you do bring it up.
- Excessive use of social media – There was a time when people at work used to stand around the water cooler and discuss Sunday’s football game. Now they can be observed with their hands out of sight thumbing text messages or clicking off as you walk past their desk because they were shopping online. Companies who wish to manage the time their employees spend in these activities have policies that limit cell phone, internet and other company equipment use during work hours.