Motivating your staff to boost their performance

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When a business runs well, it's because you have put into place a range of systems that monitor a number of performance areas. Probably the most important area for monitoring is your staff, because without them and their commitment, you won't have a business.

So, what can you do to help motivate your staff to boost their performance and make sure they consistently provide high productivity? Perhaps at first it's sensible to look at what "productivity" actually means.

Productivity

Productivity is all to do with efficiency; it could be the efficiency of a machine, a system you are running in the business or the overall effectiveness of a factory. It also relates to people and how efficient their working practices are. Productivity is measured through inputs and outputs, what is put into the business's relevant part and what comes out following that. It's calculated over a specific period when you divide the average output by how much everything has cost over that period to produce those outputs.

You would include costs such as personnel, energy and materials and include any capital costs as well. This will give you an overall picture that will assist you in determining if there are problems within your systems or personnel and enable you to address them.

Effective management

Small businesses need to be managed effectively if they are to have the opportunity to grow in the future. Initially, you will have put in place your financial plans, how you will market your products or services, and how you will manage the people who come to work for you. At first, you may do as much as you can yourself, and you may always have areas of work that you do better than others.

However, entrepreneurs often hire additional employees who have specific skills and can give input to particular areas of the business. Of course, it's not enough just to, have people on board; effective and good management means that you work with and listen to your staff.

People enjoy a good working environment if they know you are prepared to listen to them, take them seriously and provide a pleasant workplace. They are likely to be far more productive than if they find themselves in a grim, demotivating working environment. Encouragement and a positive attitude can make a real difference.

Personnel problems

People experiencing difficulties outside the workplace can bring those problems to work. More and more employers are recognising the symptoms of substance abuse, whether alcohol or drugs, and are prepared to test employees with a simple oral fluid lab test from a reputable specialist company to ensure employees are drugs and alcohol free.

People under the influence of illegal or legal substances that affect them may be stressed either at or outside the workplace and they can be a clear and present danger to their co-workers, especially if they are using heavy machinery. They may also make clerical mistakes that affect the business and can thus affect productivity.

Good employers put testing systems into place to help protect their employees and, ultimately, their business.

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