Mar 1 2017
What is it that separates a truly productive company from one that is languishing in the doldrums? Usually, it’s productivity: the amount of output they can get for a unit of input. For some companies, sellable products emerge quickly. They’ve got tight pipelines, talented people and a committed work ethic. But other companies lag behind, usually because they have failed in some way to eek the most they can out of their staff.
Often the problems aren’t obvious why productivity is down. Sometimes the reasons have deeper psychological roots which lie beyond the attention of most founders and managers. It should be noted though that psychology is just another tool in your company’s arsenal to help it out-compete its competitors and to turn a decent profit.
Here’s how to use psychology to up your productivity.
Tailor To Your Demographic
It’s worth making the point from the outset that different psychological strategies are going to work differently depending on which demographic your business primarily employs. If your business is crammed full of millennials, then there’s a good chance that your staff will be what are being called “digital natives.” In other words, they grew up in an environment where computers were everywhere, and they understand how they work. This means that they usually have a lower requirement for things like office space and prefer remote working.
Baby boomers, on the other hand, have spent a lifetime working in offices with cubicles. This is what is familiar to them. Businesses like Arnold’s Office Furniture provide an insight into the type of office equipment on offer to suit to suit the needs of different demographics. It turns out that the furniture system in your office can be tailored to fit whatever demographic you employ.
Make Work Mean Something
It turns out that monetary compensation isn’t what most people are after when they go to work (although it does help). Instead, what most people want is to feel as if they are making a meaningful difference in the world. It turns out that workplace perks and benefits simply aren’t as important to most workers as a sense that they made a difference.
According to Deloitte University Press publications, meaning in work is a big driver of productivity. In the factory setting, it’s really easy to keep an eye on how much effort an employee is putting into the task that they have been assigned. But in knowledge-based businesses, keeping track of an individual employee’s productivity is difficult, if not impossible. What is needed are employees who are self-motivated to do well out of a sense of purpose. This purpose can’t be forced on somebody: it has to come from within. Workers who have the greatest sense of purpose, according to Deloitte, are those who feel most in control of their work. The more ownership a person has over their job, the harder they will try.
On a final note, Deloitte cautions businesses from going down the Google route and installing lots of fun toys and gadgets in their offices. The firm says that perks like free food are important, but only once you’ve generated the right culture. Otherwise, they go to waste.