The workplace is changing rapidly. The employee base is becoming more diverse, both in terms of who occupies different positions and in terms of their wants, desires, needs and motivations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects millennials to make up 75% of the workforce by 2030. This generation — born between 1984 and 1999 — are a diverse group of workers who are changing the way work is done. As a result, companies must adjust the way they do business.
What motivates today’s workforce is not what motivated the workforce of 10 or 20 years ago. It’s important for companies to recognize this fact and adjust the way they operate to promote workplace diversity and productivity. Here are four ways companies can accomplish this goal.
1. Take Advantage of Technology
One of the best ways to increase employee productivity is to give them tools that make their job easier. Luckily, there are plenty of digital tools available now that can do just that. For example, time tracking applications make the task of clocking in and out of work and tracking time and productivity simpler than ever before.
In addition, there are simple digital tools that make it easy for employees and teams to collaborate and communicate anywhere. These apps, some of which are free, simplify the process of communication, removing the barriers that comes with email, and don’t require employees to share their personal phone numbers for text messaging.
There are also collaboration tools that allow people to share documents with each other easily. Using these platforms, team members can have access to the same document and see changes as their colleagues make them.
2. Listen to Employees
Today’s workforce craves engagement and wants to feel valued. Unfortunately, a recent Gallup poll found that only about one-third of U.S. employees feel engaged at work. This lack of engagement is a problem because, as Gallup states, engaged employees “work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.”
If employee engagement drives employee performance, then improving engagement should be at the top of every company’s to-do list. There are many ways to do so, but one way is to survey employees and ask them how they feel about their job and what would make them happier. Listen to this feedback, and create a workplace that encourages input at all levels of the corporate ladder. This type of culture will make every employee feel more valued, which will, in turn, encourage them to be more productive.
3. Incentivize Employees
There was a time when most employers thought the best way to incentivize employees was to give them raises and bonuses. While employees still like money, of course, it’s not the biggest determining factor in engagement and motivation.
In a 2012 Deloitte survey, employees said they most valued regular and candid communications (50%), recognition (49%), and access to management and leadership (47%). Unfortunately, in the same survey, executives thought financial performance (65%) and competitive compensation (62%) were the top motivators.
Obviously, in 2012 at least, there was a significant disconnect between what employers thought employees wanted and what they actually wanted. Some of this disconnect still exists in 2019. Some of the best ways to incentivize today’s workers is to offer:
- Increased paid time off.
- A flexible work schedule.
- The ability to work remotely.
- Wellness programs such as gym memberships and yoga classes.
- Celebrations of employee accomplishments.
Today’s employee feels more valued when their employers use these incentivizes rather than just throwing money them. It’s more about finding a solid work-life balance than it is striving for a greater financial return.
4. Measure and Share Employee Productivity
Digital technology now enables companies to measure employee productivity. There are a variety of software packages and apps available that can track everything from hours worked to progress toward goals. These tools not only help managers track what their employees are doing, though; they also help keep employees on task.
When companies measure productivity, they can manage people and processes more effectively. Managers can track progress and share tips and feedback instantaneously with their employees. In addition, these digital tools give managers real-time data to share with their team members. No longer do they have to make judgment calls on employee productivity; the technology turns it into a more objective process.
This objectivity is something employees can get behind. Today’s workers yearn to see how they’re doing based on real data and not conjecture. Employees are more receptive to feedback on how they can improve when it’s based on real data they can see rather than just anecdotes.
These are just a few of the ways companies can increase productivity. The focus must be on building an inclusive environment for today’s diverse workforce and providing workers with the tools, training, perks, feedback and recognition they both want and need.