7 Ways Your Employees Are Being Held Back

Every leader wants to get the best out of his or her employees. When trying to help your employees reach peak levels of productivity, you must first find out what is hindering their progress — and then fix it! Let’s take a deeper look at 7 potential roadblocks to employee productivity:

1. 200544450-001Equipment, tools, software, or on-the-job support is out of date/broken/inadequate for the job required. Your employees cannot be productive if they don’t have the tools to get the job done. Think about it this way: If you need to tighten a screw and you don’t have a screwdriver, you’ll use whatever is at hand. Have you ever used a knife to tighten a screw? You got the job done, but it took a lot longer, and you probably broke the tip of the knife in the process. Not exactly an efficient or effective way to get the job done, is it?

2. Decision making is centralized and autonomy/personal accountability is not emphasized. In highly autocratic work environments, employees are discouraged from thinking for themselves. If they don’t think for themselves, they never really take ownership of their jobs. They just follow the rules being dictated from above. Individuality and creativity are ruined in the process.

ThinkstockPhotos-875272853. Business politics pulls teams/departments in different directions. Office politics will never go away. It’s a fact of company life. However, destructive office politics can demoralize an organization, hamper productivity, and increase turnover. Deceit, gossip, rivalry, and power plays are fine for movies and TV, but they are potential disasters in the workplace.

4. Incentive plans are insufficient and reward both poor and good performance. Nothing can be more discouraging than seeing someone who barely contributes get the same incentive bonus as those who give it their all. Incentive plans that do not take into account the exact, measurable contributions of each individual are not only ineffective, they’re counterproductive.

ThinkstockPhotos-833977365. Employees don’t take risks necessary to keep the organization competitive and forward-thinking. Many employees can recall attending meetings where managers saluted the month’s top performers. Very few, if any, have attended meetings where an executive praised a daring effort that failed. In a recent survey of 690 employed Americans, BlessingWhite, a Princeton-based consultancy, asked employees whether they are encouraged to take risks. Only 26 percent of employees said they are often encouraged to take risks. A startling 41 percent said they are never asked to do so. Never. How can organizations adapt to changing conditions if their employees never try anything new?

6. ThinkstockPhotos-494374213Employees are no longer asked for their input and involvement. Like centralized decision making, keeping employees out of the loop when it comes to what works and what doesn’t work is another sign that your productivity will decrease. Who knows better how to do the job than the person actually doing it?

7. No one is measuring productivity to support awareness and accountability. Sometimes it’s not that no one is measuring productivity, it’s that no one is communicating those measurements to the employees who are expected to meet the job requirements.

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