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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.

 

 

 

 

Utilize Pulse Surveys

4 Ways to Make Pulse Surveys Work for Real Engagement

Companies have come a long way in terms of the investments they’re making to ensure they stay innovative, profitable, and protected. They’re also investing in ways to better communicate with their clients and with one another. However, perhaps one of the most largely overlooked, arguably most important, yet simplest areas still lacking in gaining the attention it needs is the most valuable asset every organization has: their people.

Retaining talent is key when it comes to running a successful business, and in order to keep top talent from walking out the door and never coming back, we need to understand where they’re at in terms of their employment satisfaction. Currently, only 11% of employers are surveying their employees more than once year. This is a startling statistic considering that more than half of employees are unsatisfied enough that they will actively be looking for a new job this year.

Keeping employees engaged is critical, yet keeping a pulse on how they’re doing can be overwhelming and confusing. Additionally, conducting long-form surveys regularly runs the risk of losing efficacy. One way to gain the same benefits of a traditional employee survey without inundating employees is through the use of pulse surveys conducted through human resources (HR) technology.

Pulse surveys are short surveys that ask questions related to your company’s engagement goals. Utilizing these surveys quickly assesses where your employees have concerns, and how those concerns can help your organization understand where there are opportunities to make changes. The key to success is to make sure they drive real engagement. Here are four ways to make pulse surveys do just that:

  1. Include Core Engagement Questions

In order to keep your surveys focused in the right place, be sure that your questions are written to reflect the core engagement areas you’re looking to improve or change. Gear your questions to show that your intention is to not only listen, but to act. Solicit feedback on whether or not they’ve noticed changes since the last survey and ask how they feel about those changes.

  1. Don’t Survey Too Often

Survey fatigue is a real thing, and if you conduct pulse surveys too often, regardless of their short length, people may eventually stop taking them if they don’t see results. In order to make pulse surveys truly help drive real engagement, only conduct them as often as you are prepared to make the changes necessary as a result of the survey. Because of this, the timing of how often to conduct surveys will be different for every organization. Some organizations will choose to survey as much as daily or once a week, while others will find monthly or quarterly surveys will suffice.

  1. Communicate Your Why

It’s okay to be transparent when it comes to communicating with your organization the “why” behind pulse surveys. Explain that you care about their responses because you genuinely want to make changes that will enhance and improve their experience. Make sure employees understand your intent to act upon the results of the things that they share, the time frame you expect to begin implementing changes, and that their participation is important.

  1. Share Survey Results

Regardless of survey results, even if they’re unfavorable, be sure that they are shared with everyone in the company. It’s important for employees to know that they’re being heard, that their opinions truly matter, and to feel a sense of connection with their colleagues. Sharing survey results is just one more way to communicate with employees and strong communication builds morale. An easy way to anonymize the data is to aggregate it and display key HR metrics in a public dashboard built with business intelligence (BI) software that automatically aggregates and displays survey results.

The advantages of pulse surveys are many, not the least of which being real-time insight and more engaged employees. The key is remembering that they should include questions that get at your core engagement goals, only to conduct them as often as you can act on their results, to be transparent about your reasons for asking your employees to participate in taking them, and to always share your results.

Utilizing pulse surveys begins to create a culture of continuous improvement. When employees see action being taken as a result of their feedback and suggestions, they’re more likely to trust you as an employer, and feel happier about being a part of your organization.

Are you ready to listen to your employees? Get started with Achievers Listen, the future of employee engagement. Achievers Listen allows employees to provide feedback to management on day-to-day issues via check-ins and pulse surveys, and lets front-line supervisors track trends through manager alerts. Also included with Achievers Listen is Allie, an intelligent, digital “coach” that interacts with employees in a familiar conversational way, while guiding employees with effective feedback and providing recommendations back to managers.

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Discover how to effectively listen to your workforce by checking out this white paper, “Taking the Pulse of Employee Engagement.

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Learn more about Achievers Listen and employee engagement trends by attending 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 Barrett Halcom
Jessica Barrett Halcom is a writer for TechnologyAdvice.com, with specializations in human resources, healthcare, and transportation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay and currently lives in Nashville, TN.

 

 

 

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hr_trends_and_analyst_findingsAchievers and Harvard Business Review are working on a new research study called The Science of Business Success. By participating in the study, you’ll help us better understand the relationship between Employee Success™ and business performance.

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Although the links between employee engagement and higher productivity, involvement, and dedication are well understood, there is still a dearth of research on the elements of engagement and how these concepts are nurtured within organizations. HCI and Achievers want explore how employee engagement is created and sustained by three key players: the employee, the manager, and the organization. And you can help! Take our 15-20 minute survey, and we’ll send you a free copy of the white paper summarizing the results of the research, including insight into the various elements that contribute to engagement in the workplace. All identifying information will be kept strictly confidential.

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