Tag: soft skills

9 Ways to Increase Employee Productivity

Disengaged employee checking his phone at work.


Disengaged employees are unproductive employees. From entry-level positions to top executives, a lack of connection to the organization and its mission can mean a loss of profits.

In fact, a recent study from McClean and Co. estimates a disengaged employee costs an organization roughly $3,400 for every $10,000 in salary. A Gallup study found disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity per year.

Here are 9 ways to improve productivity in the workplace.

  1. Refine the onboarding process. Give new hires the help and support they need starting day one. It doesn’t have to be a long process, but simple things like giving them a managerial mentor can decrease stress and start their productivity off on the right foot.
  2. Create a unique culture and environment. The workplace should be inviting, but that means something different for every organization. Adding artwork and branded dishes to the breakroom or sharing employee playlists on social media can make a big difference in an organization’s atmosphere.
  3. Cross-train departments. When employees know how hard other areas of the organization work to meet mutual goals, it encourages them to keep up their end of the bargain.
  4. Simplify goals and duties. Decrease confusion and time lost trying to navigate complicated processes or shifting priorities.
  5. Promote health and wellness. Provide gym membership discounts or ask your team to join you for a walk during lunch. Healthy employees are productive employees.
  6. Hold standing meetings to improve group performance. A Washington University study suggests decreased territoriality sparks a team’s creativity and enthusiasm. It also provides accountability.
  7. Encourage internal and external networking. Employees should be connected through professional social sites like LinkedIn, but companies should also encourage employees to attend trade shows and conferences to meet their peers and share ideas.
  8. Provide continuing education opportunities. Showing employees you want to help them advance professionally is crucial. Paying for classes or giving them time off to attend a workshop lets employees know their success is important and makes them willing to go the extra mile to show their gratitude.
  9. Have some fun! Nothing builds comradery faster than putting people together to have a good time. Holding contests or ordering in pizza for lunch on a random Tuesday can go a long way toward endearing employees toward your organization.

Boosting employee engagement and productivity must be a company-wide initiative supported by management. Changes won’t happen overnight, but the payoff will be well worth the efforts.

UCO’s Workforce Advantage Certificate teaches specific strategies to increase employee engagement and productivity. To register for our next class, click here.

Karen Youngblood is the executive director of UCO Customized Education.

7 People Who Always Show Up Late

Looking at a wristwatch when someone is running late.

When people show up late for meetings or miss deadlines, it gives the person waiting time to think.

They think about how unprofessional their coworker is. How untrustworthy. How careless.

Even if employees produce great work and have a positive attitude, being too casual with schedules can make the boss question a staff member’s leadership ability.

Being late doesn’t just cause chaos for everyone else’s schedule; it can damage reputations and stop a career in its tracks.

We all deal with tardiness from time to time. Nevertheless, the chronically late tend to fit into one of seven categories defined by Diana DeLonzor in “Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged.” Some of these characteristics may be familiar from your workplace:

  1. Rationalizers who think ignoring the clock is no big deal, or who always have an excuse.
  2. Producers who get things done, but try to squeeze in so much they can’t possibly make it all work and end up breaking promises.
  3. Deadliners who live on the edge and can only get motivated when the heat is on, but who end up putting pressure on everyone around them.
  4. Indulgers who play things by ear rather than sticking to a schedule, avoids starting projects.
  5. Rebels who think ignoring schedules is a way to feel powerful and show they don’t bow to authority.
  6. Absentminded professors who just don’t do details. These people often digress and jump from one activity to another without finalizing projects or conversations.
  7. Evaders who set low expectations for themselves, and who may have fears of both success and failure which can turn into anxiety.

None of these personality types doom an employee to a life of angry colleagues and low-level roles. However, anyone who has trouble managing their time can benefit from understanding their procrastinator profile.

UCO’s Workforce Advantage Certificate gives specific strategies to help people manage the clock. To register for our next class, click here.

Karen Youngblood is the executive director of UCO Customized Education.