Mark E. Buckley

How can I get more productivity from my employees?

There are thousands of books and magazine articles on this subject. I would emphasize two important steps. First, get to know your employees. Specifically, try to understand what motivates them, i.e. determine what things can be used as rewards and punishments. Often, managers make the mistake of using the same rewards and punishments for every employee. However, each employee is a unique individual with uique values and goals. The second step is to evaluate your own effectiveness as a manager.

Your primary responsibilities are:

  • Tell 'em
  • Tool 'em
  • Train 'em
  • Thank 'em

Have you clearly told your employees what you expect of them? If not, then you do not have a right to be upset when they do not follow rules that are not explicit.

Have you given your employees adequate tools, e.g. procedures, computer systems, equipment, etc. that are needed to perform their job?

Have you taken the time to properly train your employees on how to perform their job? Training is a difficult skill to master. Managers often assume others should learn tasks as quickly as they do, but that is not always the case.

Have you thanked your employees? Make certain to reward good behavior with something that will motivate the employee to continue that behavior in the future. Managers often reward bad behavior by paying attention to it and punish good behavior by ignoring it.