Column: How to keep everyone happy in workplace

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It is becoming less practical for any organisation to measure productivity simply with numbers or to hold everyone on one team to the same standard.

Behavioural economics and psychology tell us that people react differently to situations and have different approaches to getting things done. As such, it is important to understand individual needs to promote productivity. Tailoring your approach makes it easier to keep everyone reaching for their goals.

Businesses can sometimes only look to key performance indicators when measuring output and efficiency, and so focusing on psychology can be a tough adjustment. Some organisations have found themselves to be too qualitative with their productivity management, but there are some steps you can take to take your eyes away from the numbers and on to happy, more productive staff...

l Mind your demographic: Understand the differences in your staff, for example younger employees will be more attuned to using technology-based tools and platforms for getting things done, whereas other employees are encouraged by a comfortable office space and creative environment to inspire them.

l Make work meaningful: Deloitte University Press’ Global Human Capital Trends 2016 has determined that meaningful work is a big driver of engagement and productivity, especially considering diversity in the work environment. “Today’s workers place a higher premium on flexibility, creativity, and purpose at work,” it states. “Research clearly shows that when employees feel empowered and have a sense of ownership for their jobs, their engagement is significantly higher.”

l Foster the right kind of engagement: Employee engagement is critical to productivity. Dale Carnegie research shows engagement matters – particularly the “emotional and functional commitment an employee has to his or her organisation.” Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202 per cent. For any organisation, the best kind of engagement involves encouraging a culture of open communication, which promotes the idea that employees can make a significant influence on the company’s vision and direction with their input.

l Be flexible: Telecommuting, remote working arrangements and even co-working are emerging as effective means of improving productivity while at the same time reducing the cost of running an office infrastructure. Though it may seem counterintuitive, studies show employees who work from home are 13 per cent more productive than their office counterparts, according to the Harvard Business Review.