Happy employees are 12% more productive. Similarly, companies with happy employees are 20% more productive. A survey by Gallup reports that 34.1% of employees are engaged whereas 49.5% are not, although 16.5% are actively disengaged. Bearing the importance of productivity in every organization, employee engagement and happiness are essential aspects. Since time immemorial, most employers have focused on monetary awards, incentives, or loyalty programs. However, these motivational approaches aren’t getting much attention as they were a few years ago. Offering employee freedom and frequent feedback are some of the ways to engage your employees and ensure they remain productive. Here are more ways to engage your employees for maximum productivity.

1. Freedom

Some tech giants have offered their employees time to think and attend to side projects. Google, for example, developed some of its best applications such as Gmail and AdSense by simply allowing its engineers some time to cool off. It’s time you cut your employees some slack and let them be. Allowing your employees to work on what amuses them not only promotes their commitment and performance, but it also produces better results. Autonomy is a rare yet very important asset that all employers should consider. Just outline your goals and let your employees create their schedules so that this doesn’t affect the expected outcomes. Allow for some flexibility and forget about the traditional micromanagement of employees. Just fulfil your part by hiring a qualified workforce, then allow them to unleash their potential by giving them their freedom.

Still, you might want to rethink your vacation policies or the off-days on freedom. Encourage your employees to go for some leaves or vacation after working tirelessly for a long. This refreshes their minds and, as a result, rejuvenates their energy for productive working.

2. Set clear goals and allow frequent effective communication

Have clear and timely goals or objectives that your employees work to achieve. If the employees know what you expect, it’s straightforward for them to work hard and try aiming for the bull’s eye. Frequent communication via various forms is of paramount importance in every business. Let your employees know how they’re keeping time, keeping up with the competition, delivering results, and where they might be going wrong. Please don’t wait until it’s too late to correct an issue you could have addressed long ago. Effective communication also means explaining the hierarchical order, establishment of relevant systems and use of modern technologies in communicating.

3. Involve them in the decision-making process

When introducing a new policy, it’s advisable to ask for employees’ opinions. The same applies when seeking to introduce a new incentive program. Of course, you wouldn’t want your employees to feel patronized by introducing a new policy that they didn’t even know about. Be sure to face some resistance when you submit a policy from the top management with employee consultation. Customer service personnel can be tasked with decision-making in certain situations. This will surely increase their productivity since they deal with customers first hand. However, let your employees know that they’re the ones to fix their mistakes if they make some (unless, of course, it requires the intervention of higher management officials).

4. Gamification

Monotonous procedures are incredibly dull, and they may demotivate employees. Demotivated employees won’t look forward to reporting to their jobs or finishing up some assignment. Gamification is the best way to do away with mediocre tasks/ routines. It does away with traditional forms of employee motivation and concentrates more on self-fulfilment and other social psychological processes.

Gamification incorporates four major areas whose popularity is growing at a tremendous rate. These include social media usage, significant data generation, the mobile revolution and the evolution of wearable computing. As such many employees have admitted that they prefer working with organizations that adopt gamification. In essence, gamification introduces gaming concepts into our workplaces, making it more fun to complete a task. Use points, competition, levelling up, badges, goals, fast feedback and transparency to motivate and engage your employees.

5. Entertain and minimize stress

Regardless of how much you motivate your employees, you can forget about any productivity if something stresses them too much. They are likely to work towards stress reduction and not improving sales or productivity. It would help if you got rid of stress motivators or motivation killers such as a bad working environment, a negative culture, favouritism, negativity and employee egos. Such are the things to do away with from now onwards. Additionally, continually encourage your employees to take some breaks and breathe some fresh air, watch a movie or listen to some music. This will calm their nerves and get them back on the field ready to make you some extra few hundred dollars. This doesn’t mean that entertainment should go against your company’s goals; just find some happy medium.

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Steven Mehler is an experienced writer, SEO specialist and social psychologist that works as an editor at a local newspaper and a freelance writer. Steven also runs his own content agency and is writing a book. He has a long-term experience in writing articles based on blogging, marketing, SEO and social psychology.