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Ask Dr. Sharkey: Increase Productivity Through Enhancing the Employee Experience

Posted by Dr. Linda Sharkey on 11.14.2019


Hi, Dr. Sharkey! I keep hearing about all of the trending employee experience tricks like natural light in offices, unlimited vacation, and many other perks. But do all of these tactics really increase productivity? I’m wondering what you feel is most important when it comes to creating an employee experience that increases productivity.”

Many things increase productivity. However, there are some tips going around that surprisingly do not. 

For example, most organizations believe pay is the primary productivity booster for employees. And it is — but only for a very brief period of time. Various experts indicate the employee experience is enhanced for two weeks, then the glow of the increase wears off. 

Also, some believe that canned notes and ‘at-a-boys’ boost productivity. Again, they’re short-lived as employees often perceive them as rote and insincere. 

That said, fair pay is key to productivity. Compensate and recognize employees fairly and make it part of your culture to consistently do so  Authenticity and having employees feel your words are really from the heart makes all the difference when it comes to rewards and recognition. 

Here are the three categories I believe increase productivity through the employee experience:

1. Manager attitude

If your managers are pessimistic about the future, their employees will be as well. This will decrease employee willingness to go the extra yard because they’ll wonder why it really matters.  

Managers need to embrace the changes and direction of a company and be squarely behind them. Employees that come into work with an upbeat manager become upbeat, confident, and more productive themselves.

2. Environment 

If your office is drab, dirty, and generally not airy and conducive to joy, it will impact the employee experience and, as a result, productivity. Research has shown certain colors, open spaces, and a clean environment with brightness brings out the best in people. This type of environment makes them feel happier and more satisfied at work.  

You don’t have to spend a lot of money making sure the space is cheerful and, literally, bright.  Another trick is to engage employees in color selection and possibly layout. As a result, employees feel committed to the workplace, which increases productivity.

3. Work relationships 

Ensuring you have a culture of positive and collaborative working-relationships has been proven as a key to productivity. Employees who have a friend or confidant at work are more likely to feel welcomed and valued. Both of these are essential to having a positive employee experience — one where employees have an elevated-desire to be productive. 

Workplaces with these three components tend to have more loyal and productive employees. Keep a constant eye on each factor. If you find there are toxic managers, you need to either remove them from the company or coach them on effective leadership behavior

Walk around and check out the environment. And finally, do engagement surveys to make sure people are allies and working well together.  

For more on helping improve the employee experience through an ally mindset, read Morag Barrett’s book Cultivate: The Power of Winning Relationships.

Topics: employee engagement, employee experience

Human Resources Today