People are employed to increase the total productivity of the company. An employee expects his paycheck at the end of the month and an employer should expect productivity from his employee. It’s a win-win situation.
A shift in the structure (say an employee or employees become unproductive), results in unfavorable position for the employer. The solution isn’t always to show an employee the way out (firing); perhaps a few steps can be taken to turn around the situation and increase the productivity of such employee.
Daily Targets: Employees can get unproductive when there isn’t much to do. Daily targets keep employees busy. Rather than sit around, gossiping, bickering, and backbiting, they get to do stuffs that will enhance the growth of the company.
Reports: Making employees write project reports is another way to keep them in check. Even if the project is done by more than one employee, that is, a team, project reports keep you on the loop of each employee’s performance.
Clarity of Company Vision: Employees are more willing to do extra when they feel like they are part of something bigger. If an employee sees and believes your vision, he will work harder and productively to ensure the achievement of the vision.
Uniqueness: In smaller organizations, an employer is afforded the luxury of time to understand employee quirks. In larger organizations, employees become so much, it becomes difficult to know their names. Executive officers of larger organization must be available in the hiring process of new employees, as this might be the only chance they may get. It’s wrong to leave the hiring of people that will work for your company solely in the hands of HR. As an employer, you must understand from the beginning why you employed a person and what job the person is employed to do.
Reward: People are motivated by fear and gain. Use both as you see fit. When an employee deliberately sabotages the company’s interest, make a public show of the employee’s punishment (of course, within his rights and in consideration of his dignity—but never in front of “non-company people”). This way, you punish one and teach a hundred. Gain is also a good motivator (why else would marketers strive to sell as much as possible of other people’s products?). When an employee does well, reward the employee. A good talk, dinner, bonus, more work, public appreciation, are ways you can reward productivity, hence, encourage productivity in other employees.
Empathy: It isn’t good act to be unnecessarily close to an employee but when an employee with high performance suddenly drops, it may be due to personal issues. Talk with such employee and find out the problems at home. It isn’t within your duty to solve an employee’s personal problems but you can make an exception once in a while. A female employee might have a drop in productivity due to constant abuse from her new husband. As an employer, you can encourage her to report to the appropriate authorities. When you notice than an employee has a drinking problem, you can suspend such employee and ask him to get his life together or risk losing his job.