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employee productivity

3 Ways to Increase Productivity Using Workers’ Personality Types

In office environments, balancing work and small talk, focus, and idle chit-chat can sometimes feel like an uphill battle in a desk chair. Maybe that’s why the web is stuffed with productivity articles outlining how to be more deliberate, engaged, and focused at work. Going down that rabbit hole — and we share your enjoyment of the irony here — could lose you a few productive hours all on its own.

But at the end of the day, what do we really know about productivity? And more importantly, what do we know about unproductivity? What distracts employees the most? Beyond what you already know about everyday distractions like text messages, online shopping, news alerts, social media, and everything else our smart devices are begging us to pay attention to, the real office productivity killer might be much more personal. In a recent survey by TSheets, respondents ranked talkative co-workers and co-workers who interrupt as the top distractions at work.

But despite what you may have heard, politeness still matters. So this new revelation of unproductivity and chatty co-workers could make addressing distractions a little … awkward. HR managers and people leaders should be deliberate when embarking on productivity quests, considering different personalities and how they can work better together, ultimately, to produce more.

Personality Types and Productivity in Noisy Environments

Perhaps you’ve administered or taken some version of a personality test for work, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a well-known assessment that assigns respondents to one of 16 personality types. Contrary to popular opinion, the MBTI doesn’t simply determine who is shy and who is outgoing. The test assesses how individuals get their energy (whether they are energized by groups or by being alone).

Now, we don’t need to go into detail about the test itself but, rather, discuss the ways people who are inherently introverted or extroverted might react to noise in their environment. In this case, we’re talking about noise created by co-workers such as background chatter, side conversations, and small talk. You know, typical office banter about Mondays, coffee, and what’s for lunch.

In the Journal of Environmental Psychology’s “Mental Performance in Noise: The Role of Introversion,” researchers tested the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire on medical students to determine their levels of introversion and extroversion before asking them to perform mathematical tasks in noisy and quiet conditions. In conclusion, the extroverted students were more productive in the noisy environment compared to the quiet, whereas more introverted people experienced concentration problems and fatigue in noise. “Correlation analysis,” the researchers explain, “revealed a highly significant negative relation of extroversion and noise annoyance during mental processing.”

While it’s unfair to categorize employees based on their introverted or extroverted tendencies, the information on how different personalities work can help managers ensure the highest productivity levels for their teams. Even small changes to the office environment and workweek can improve focus for a range of personalities working under one roof.

  1. Restructure Breaks

The TSheets unproductivity survey also showed that while productivity experts encourage people to take seven breaks per day for maximum output, 3 out of 5 workers said it’s unlikely they would be able to take seven breaks per day. Meanwhile, 60 percent of respondents said they feel taking a daily lunch break helps boost their productivity. That said, 1 in 5 workers admits to powering through the day without taking a lunch — and they find themselves more productive for it.

Whether employees are eating lunch at their desks or getting away for an hour, one thing is for sure: Breaks should be for re-energizing. And depending on where workers get their energy, whether it’s from socializing or having alone time, not taking proper breaks can really drain a person.

HR managers should encourage leaders and employees to see the value of social breaks and quiet, solo breaks. And employees should feel empowered to take the solo breaks they need or to organize activities and lunches with others during breaks, so they’re re-energized before returning to their work. To emphasize the importance of knowing how workers re-energize, HR managers can have employees take a personality test (like the Myers-Briggs assessment) upon hiring or ask questions about the types of downtime workers find most refreshing.

  1. Offer Flexibility and Remote Working Options

TSheets respondents said the flexibility to work remotely is the No. 1 factor that would make them more productive. Whether introverted or extroverted, sometimes being in a comfortable, familiar environment can help foster creative thinking. This option was second only to more flexible hours, which 61 percent said would be the biggest productivity booster. So flexible hours and the ability to work remotely when possible or appropriate could be a game-changer for productivity.

HR managers who don’t have a remote workforce can first look into the feasibility of employees working remotely. If it seems possible, send out a companywide survey to gauge how much employees might value the option. With enough interest, consider a policy wherein employees can work remotely a specific number of days per week, month, or quarter, or allow them to pick the days they work from home so long as they notify their manager and aren’t needed on site. This flexibility will show trust, and managers can monitor productivity should the privilege need reversing. Since the survey respondents marked remote work as something that would make them the most productive, it could be worth a shot.

  1. Reduce Noise Pollution

If remote work and flexibility or lenient breaks aren’t possible for your specific office environment, there are things you can do to encourage a quiet workspace for those who are distracted by their co-workers. For more introverted employees, noise-canceling headphones are a good investment. It’s also helpful to have areas around the office where employees can work quietly, without interruption. That way, when the volume turns up and people need to focus, they can politely excuse themselves and go to a room with less noise. Offices with an open-office plan can use partitions to block out both noise and visual distractions, so employees can get in the zone.

Do different personality types respond to noise distractions differently? Almost certainly. Will the office environment ever be completely distraction-free? Doubtful! But employers and HR managers can take the time to configure the environment for flexibility and more energizing breaks and give workers a choice between noise and quiet.

To learn more about how to engage the modern workforce, check out Achievers e-book: “How to Incentivize the Modern Workforce.

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About the Author
Kim Harris headshotKim Harris is a copywriter and blogger based in Boise, Idaho, who has been putting her journalism background to good use telling true stories and helping businesses grow since 2008. When she’s not writing for TSheets by QuickBooks, you’ll find her queuing up entertainment and plotting her next escape.

 

 

 

 

Make Education a Priority

5 Data-Based Reasons to Make Employee Education a Priority

If you’re not offering employees education opportunities then you might want to reconsider. Today’s generation of workers have put employee education and development high on their list of the most-desired benefits that a company can offer.

Offering educational opportunities has a wide variety of benefits for both employees and companies, and gives a competitive advantage from a recruiting standpoint. The right educational offering just might be the deciding factor for candidates who are being sourced for similar jobs with matching salary packages.

And this doesn’t have to be expensive. While some companies can afford to help their employees’ take graduate courses, for example, others simply provide in-house employee education opportunities or give employees a chance to learn outside of work by attending relevant conferences, seminars and trainings.

It’s an expense none-the-less. But before you discard this idea, let the data speak for itself. Having the right data to back up your initiatives always makes it easier to get additional funding and leadership support. Check out these five data-based reasons why you should make employee education a priority in your business.

  1. Employees Want Special Training to Advance Their Careers

Of almost 4,300 workers, a massive 74% felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work and, as a result, would value access to more development opportunities.

What type of incentives do employees want in our modern world? In addition to usual wants, like higher salaries and better work-life balance, employees are looking for special in-house training and skills development to help advance their careers.

By offering employees additional training opportunities, you’re investing in the advancement of their careers, while adding more value to your business. The more successful and capable your employees are, the better your business will be.

  1. Offering Employees Training and Development Increases Employee Retention

7 out of 10 people say that training and development opportunities influence their decision to stay with a company.

As a manager or HR professional, you’re well aware of the costs associated with employee turnover. As a reminder: it costs upwards of $4,129 to hire an employee, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) new Human Capital Benchmarking Report.

Offering employees external or internal training and development opportunities improves employee satisfaction, which in turn is likely to increase loyalty and decrease costly turnover.

  1. Employees Are Already Learning On Their Own Time

Respondents revealed that an average of seven hours per week of their own time is devoted to learning.

Did you realize your employees are already working hard to learn more and expand their skill set? While the survey cited above is specific to developers, most other employees are doing the same. A 2017 Udemy report found that 95 percent of millennials believe learning is key to their career success and are willing to spend their own time and money to do it.

By offering employee education instead, you help reduce personal costs for employees, which could outweigh salary issues or lack of other benefits, like health insurance or 401k options.

  1. Most HR Managers Don’t Think Their Training Is Good Enough

62% of HR managers believe that they are not doing a good job meeting the learner’s needs. 

Is your training program actually setting your employees up for success? Most employee training and development programs fall short of providing value. Investing in a comprehensive educational training program will not only help HR managers be more effective with this initiative, but set both HR departments and employees up for future success.

  1. Offering Educational Training and Development Increases Profits

Companies that offer comprehensive training programs experienced 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less on training. 

If you want to make more money—and what business doesn’t—invest in employee training and education. While this can be costly, it’s a sound investment that surely pays off. To benchmark the costs, the same ADT report found that average cost per learning hour is $82; use this to determine what you can afford. If you see improvements in the business’s bottom line, invest more.

Find the Budget for Learning

There are many reasons why learning is critical to your employees and company as a whole, and these are some of the most important ones to consider. When you invest in employee education, the company improves and your employees are happier, which means you may experience less turnover and even see higher profits—a win-win for everyone.

Don’t lose top talent due to a lack of educational offerings. Find out why almost three-quarters of employees plan on finding a new job this year and how to make them stay in Achievers’ latest report: The Retention Epidemic.

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Get a quick glimpse of the report’s key findings in this infographic.

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Are you ready to boost employee engagement at your workplace? Learn about the future of employee engagement at Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) 2018 in Toronto, October 23-24. Get the early bird rate and save $200 off the regular rate today. Buy now here.

Do you have any thoughts on this article? Share your comments below.

About the Author
Jessica ThiefelsJessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a professional blogger and freelance writer. She spent the last two years working tirelessly for a small startup, where she learned a lot about running business and being resourceful. She now owns her own business and has been featured on Forbes. She’s also written for StartupNation, Manta, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 or connect on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

 

Employee Happiness

Understanding the Power Behind Employee Happiness

You likely know that people don’t perform as well when they’re feeling disengaged or distracted, but you may not realize how pervasive a problem this is in today’s workplace. How happy are your employees? Is employee happiness at a low or a high? The latest Gallup poll (collected from over 80,000 workers) on employee engagement tells a dismal story. In 2015, only 32 percent of workers say they’re “engaged” at their jobs. Over 50 percent say they’re “not engaged,” while another 17 percent state that they are “actively disengaged.” Furthermore, this data has shown no significant change since Gallup first started this annual poll in 2000, so the problem is persistent.

Why Employee Engagement Matters

When you go to the office each morning, of course you hope that your workers are feeling energized because it makes the office environment a better place for everyone. But how does employee happiness translate into actual performance and productivity? The numbers are clear; companies with engaged workers outperform other companies by 202 percent. Research published by the Academy of Management Perspectives finds that “stronger emotional ties to the organization serve to significantly lessen the likelihood that employees would leave.” Furthermore, the cost of replacing an entry-level worker is 30 to 50 percent of their salary. This expense increases as the position being filled becomes more specialized. Replacing top workers can cost a staggering 400 percent of their annual salary. And these statistics don’t even begin to address the burnout felt by the coworkers shouldering the extra burden after a colleague leaves the company.

Employee Happiness Begins With You

As a manager, you’re not responsible for every emotion your employees feel but your actions have a profound effect on your team. Research by Gallup notes that managers account for 70 percent of the variance in employee motivation levels. Furthermore, a survey of over 7,000 workers found that one in two had left a job to get away from a specific manager. Given the power you have in improving employee happiness, what can you do to make your company a great place to work?

Be Engaged Yourself

For starters, evaluate your own personal engagement. Gallup’s State of the American Manager report determined that only about 35 percent of supervisors and HR managers are themselves engaged, and this disaffection has expensive outcomes. The cost of managers who report that they’re “not engaged” is estimated to be $77 billion to $96 billion annually, while the cost of the additional 14 percent who are “actively disengaged” is more than $300 billion per year. On a positive note, the fact that you’re reading and thinking about employee recognition suggests that you’re in the minority of managers attempting to make improvements.

Empower Employees

People feel a deeper commitment to their work when they have some power over how things are done. You can affect your workers’ sense of empowerment in a wide variety of ways:

  • Give them control over their schedules, allowing them to shift their start times or work remotely from home for part of the week. If workers have the chance to fulfill their outside obligations, they’ll feel less stressed and distracted  when they’re on the job.
  • Communicate the ways in which each person’s work matters to the company. Employees will make a greater effort if they understand how their daily contribution furthers the ultimate company goals.
  • Offer the opportunity for professional development, including coaching/mentorship programs. Your workers will feel a greater commitment to your organization if they know you have their long-term well-being in mind.
  • Seek suggestions and feedback. Let every worker, regardless of salary level, have a say in how things are done.

Offer Rewards and Recognition

Everyone should have their efforts recognized, regardless of age or the type of work they’re undertaking. Being recognized leads to a greater commitment to the work itself, as well as a deeper sense of personal identification within an organization. Employee rewards and recognition can be expressed in a variety of forms, and often the non-monetary forms can be the most meaningful. A few words of gratitude or appreciation from co-workers can do wonders for the sense of teamwork, and a supervisor’s acknowledgment can help a worker feel that their effort was worthwhile. 48% of employees stated that management’s recognition of employee job performance, whether through feedback, incentives, or rewards, was “very important.” For these reasons, a system used to facilitate employee appreciation is required for any company striving to be successful in today’s marketplace. Besides, giving employee rewards will make your job more enjoyable as well.

How Happy are Your Employees?

As you take steps to foster employee happiness, it’s necessary to be able to measure success. You may be able to sense the overall mood of your workers, but you need something more than your own intuition — something tangible This is where the HR technology known as pulse surveys come in handy. A pulse survey is a one-click response ( using a scale of images that represent sadness to happiness) that employees can submit anonymously each day, giving a quick indicator of how they’re feeling. This daily information provides an immediate snapshot of both your company’s and immediate team’s well-being as well as displaying the trend of happiness levels over time. The anonymity of the survey facilitates honesty, and when a company shares the results of the pulse survey, it creates an environment of transparency and gives rise to important conversations.

The Technology of Happiness

As HR tech becomes more sophisticated, it integrates with some of our basic social needs. Employee recognition best practices and pulse surveys are effective methods for strengthening organizations and building employee success.

For a deeper dive into this topic, download our eBook The Case for Employee Recognition.

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