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How To Improve Productivity In The Workplace

Productivity remains a thorny issue in many US workplaces. With the exception of the 1995-2003 period, annual productivity rates have declined by 36 percent since the late 1940′s, going from 2.2 percent to the current rate of 1.4 percent. Some years, productivity rate increases can be as low as 0.8 percent, a figure that has led many to affirm that America has a productivity problem. Low productivity has far-reaching repercussions, going from diminished economic output to a slow increase in living standards. So what can US employers do to improve productivity in the workplace?

In the first place, it is important to understand that productivity growth is closely linked to worker output (whether this output is measured on an hourly basis or otherwise). This means that identifying the reasons behind low employee productivity is a crucial step when it comes to defining a productivity strategy. To that end, business owners should critically assess how their company is performing along the following dimensions:


Inadequate resources are one of the main causes behind low workplace productivity. When staff lack resources to do their job, their performance is unsatisfactory and their stress levels are high, and these factors will eventually lead to dissatisfaction, frustration, and employee burnout.

It is worth noting that resources can be tangible (equipment, technology) and intangible (training, systems, and procedures). On this note, most modern businesses can benefit from investing in technological resources that automate processes and therefore liberate employees from having to perform redundant and unnecessarily time-consuming tasks.


No matter how many resources you may put at the disposal of your employees, if they lack training their productivity will be severely affected. Adequate training helps staff make efficient use of the resources available, bolsters their confidence, and strengthens their motivation to get the job well done.

Once you have decided to invest in staff training, you should devise a training plan that meets the current and future needs of your organization. Training should also be tailored to the preferred learning style of your employees, and must address the most common barriers and objections.

Values Alignment

Understanding the connection between personal and corporate productivity entails examining to which extent individual and corporate values are aligned within your organization. In low-productivity workplaces, employees often fail to see (or share) the bigger picture, or may be unaware of the principles that underpin their employer’s corporate culture.

To ensure individual and corporate values are aligned, start by performing an organizational value review. This entails much more than just defining (or re-defining) your corporate values, but also examining how they are implemented at every level of the company’s day-to-day operations while ensuring that staff know why these values are in place and understand the benefits of adopting them.

Employee Recognition

Employee recognition is one of the most crucial psychological dimensions of workplace productivity. Recognition and appreciation are linked to higher employee retention, stronger loyalty, and more genuine engagement. Indirectly, these factors contribute to productivity by improving business continuity and helping create a positive and healthy working environment.

Recognition can come in the form of praise, monetary awards, public mentions or commendations, time off, a promotion, salary increases, an “employee of the month” scheme, or peer-to-peer appreciation systems.















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