There was a time when common knowledge would tell you that the best way to motivate and retain your employees was to give them a fat paycheck.
However, today’s research has shown that money is not the only thing that employees are looking for. There are other things that you can give and ultimately do so that you keep the most important asset of your company.
The Importance of Human Capital
When you first hear the term human capital, the first thought that will enter your mind is humans.
Human capital refers to the intangible asset that is often not seen in a company’s financial statements except when it reflects as “salary expense”. But human capital is more than just an expense.
In fact, its very definition says that is an asset that encompasses the knowledge, skills, and traits of your employees.
Human capital transforms a company’s vision and mission into reality. Without it, there will be no product, supply chain, and even innovation that will drive the company forward. Yes, there will be jobs that can be done through automation, but there are certain skills that a robot can never replace.
An example would be the ability to guide the whole company in a single direction.
In spite of the importance of human capital, it still remains as one of the underserved aspects of a company. With the technology and competitiveness of the market today, the supply chain and R&D have become areas where managers often focus on. This makes human capital a second priority.
The Burn-Out Phenomenon
Just recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified burn-out as an occupational phenomenon. This means that it is all too common in the workplace for a person to get burnt out.
In Australia, most people who are at high-risk service jobs are more prone to get burnt out simply because of the pressure their jobs put on them. Even those who are on their desk all day are not immune to this occupational phenomenon.
WHO characterizes burn-out in the following:
- Feelings of exhaustion,
- Cynicism, negativism, or distance towards one’s job, and
- Decreased productivity
While the second characteristic of burn-out cannot be fully solved by the company, it has a large influence on the feeling of exhaustion and decreased productivity of its employees.
How You Can Increase Productivity and Retention in Your Company
Following what was said at the start of this article, there are many ways for you to increase productivity and retention in your company.
It’s not just about salary now as the burn-out phenomenon has proven. So if it’s not solved by increasing everyone’s salary, then what can you do?
Here are 7 ways to make your employees your greatest asset.
1. Create a Workspace That Encourages Creativity
First things first – will you want to go to work knowing that you will be sitting in a dingy cubicle? Of course not. Aside from killing your morning motivation, dark and cramped workspaces make you less productive. They also hinder your creativity.
On the other hand, workspaces that are spacious and have enough sunlight streaming in, help encourage employees to be more productive. This is because the surroundings strongly influence how you work in terms of motivation. If you are surrounded by windows, then your brain has a tendency to keep thinking. Just think about it this way. A well-lit room with enough spaces to work will help you think more clearly because you won’t feel that piles of paper are being dumped on your desk.
So if you have the budget to do so and you are already in for a renovation, then renovating your office might be a good step to increase the productivity of your employees.
2. Train Your Employees to Be Efficient
Efficiency is often used by managers to describe a supply chain but there is also another kind of efficiency that refers to human capital. There is a cost to being inefficient. Even in employees, those who do not produce enough results and finish deadlines on time generate a cost to the business.
It might not be evident, but an unproductive employee can be a detriment to the company especially when it has become the norm.
As a manager, what you can do is train your employees to be efficient. It is not as easy as it seems because being efficient does not just need common sense. It requires the right tools and the right mindset. Hence, training is required to nurture efficiency. You can’t just tell your employees to be efficient but cannot show or teach them how.
3. Incorporate Tools for Productivity
As mentioned earlier, training is needed. Apart from training, you also need the right tools to encourage productivity in the workplace. One such tool is employee time software. Employee time software helps track the productivity of employees.
On the manager side, employee time software will help track how employees spend their days. It will help them determine who’s productive and who’s not by knowing which people are prone to be late or to go absent.
On the employee side, it helps employees track the days they’ve been out of work and the amount of time they’ve been late. Not only will this help them know how much to expect in the next payday, but it will also help them plan out their work to still meet the deadlines.
As a manager introducing this new software, make sure that all employees are taught how to use it and how it will be beneficial for them.
4. Encourage Rest During the Day
Work, work, work has been the anthem of this generation of employees. Not only do they spend 8 hours working, but they also use their time at home to do other side hustles. While there is nothing wrong with working and being industrious, rest is often overlooked.
If your company is guilty of asking overtime from its employees, you might want to discourage this culture if you want to keep your employees. Yes, it’s the employees’ way of adding more to their salary, but if you introduce a culture of overtime, then this might become the norm even when it is not necessary.
One way to curb the overtime culture is by allowing people to take rests through the day. It sounds ironic to encourage rest when employees have a lot of work to do, but research shows resting can help give a person the much-needed energy boost they need to get back on track at work.
5. Provide a Healthy Pantry
Not all companies can give bonuses and big salaries. So, one way to still make your employees feel important is by providing a pantry full of healthy snacks and drinks. This seems like a small gesture but giving them ways to stay healthy will provide a lot of benefits for you.
For one thing, employees who are healthy will more likely feel happier at work not to mention if you are providing those healthy treats. It will also lessen the time they spend outside by not having to line up and wait for their orders. Plus, if your employees are given healthy snacks, they will be less likely to munch on food that will not be beneficial for their health. In the long run, the less healthy they become, the more prone they are to being absent and unproductive.
6. Encourage Teamwork
Humans are social beings. Even if one of your employees is introverted, that does not mean that they should be holed up in a cubicle all day long. To prevent the feeling of burn-out in your company, encourage teamwork where it is possible.
Teamwork has a number of benefits, one of which being increased creativity and therefore, productivity. For example, you need to think of a marketing strategy for a brand. If you will be doing this alone you might take a week to come up with a plan. But when you brainstorm with other people, the craziest ideas can pour easily. This saves you and your company a lot of time in producing work.
7. Walk the Talk
And finally, it all boils down to the managers. Whether you believe it or not, managers shape the culture and the productivity of a workplace. If you show that you are always late for work and you’re always playing on your phone, then employees will not think that they need to be productive. Their tendency is to follow their leader and as a manager, you should be able to be the role model of productivity.
As a first step, you can either follow some advice listed here or change how you delegate work to your subordinates. At the end of the day, if you give unrealistic deadlines to them, they will not use all the productivity tools you’ve given them. So as much as you can, be reasonable in terms of workload and deadlines.
To sum it all up, human capital aka your employees are the most important asset of the company. Without it, a company will cease to exist. By focusing on the productivity and retention of your employees, you will be able to strengthen this asset so that you can all work together to achieve your business’ goals.