What’s the secret to employee productivity? Employee engagement. In today’s professional landscape, fostering a happy, engaged workforce is imperative to driving business success.

Gallup reports that business units in the top quartile of employee engagement are 17% more productive, suffer 70% fewer safety incidents, experience 41% less absenteeism, have 10% better customer ratings, and are 21% more profitable compared with business units in the bottom quartile.

Despite this, just a mere 29 percent of millennials are engaged at work. Here are eight simple ways you can help managers improve employee productivity (and your company’s bottom line.)

1. Understand Employee Strengths 

This is a crucial step for any business. Each person has a unique set of strengths (and weaknesses). It is up to you to place them in a position where they can shine. Your employees can only maximize their full potential in the right role.

If your employee seems to be underperforming, it may simply mean they are placed in a role that does not utilize their specific skills. On the other hand, when your employees are working where they feel most comfortable and most capable, they will be far more likely to invest completely in their job.

Give your employees the confidence to succeed by putting them in a place where they can use their strengths well. You may want to offer a Strengths Finder assessment or something similar to your employees.

2. Establish Clear Expectations

Your employees will be far more likely to pour their efforts into a project when they have specific goals to work toward. With a clear objective in sight, they can far more easily map the road between the starting place and the end.

When the end goal is only vaguely referenced to, your employees will feel confusion. They will end up spending valuable time just trying to figure where they are going. But once you have clear, understandable, and reasonable goals and expectations laid out, your employees can put their noses to the grindstone right away. Discuss plans with your employees so that they are always on board.

3. Demonstrate What Leadership Looks Like 

Good leadership goes a long way in enhancing employee productivity. You need a leader who is kind, thoughtful, determined, and able to express him or herself well. You need a leader who will keep your objectives in mind and not be distracted by useless tangents.

You need a leader who can embrace the process and see defeat as a stepping-stone to final success. You need a who will express encouragement to your other employees on a regular basis. When your employees have someone to emulate, they will be far more inspired to go all in.

4. Cultivate a Healthy Workplace Environment

Physical health can easily get overlooked in the business world. More often than not, employees themselves neglect their own health for their work.

This is always extremely detrimental to both their personal lives and the business. Thus, businesses can and should help their employees take their health into consideration. Start off by creating a workplace that is conducive to good health for mind and body.

Make sure there are plenty of windows in your workspace – or at very least keep the offices well-lit. Make sure your buildings are mold-free and up-to-date to avoid headaches and allergic reactions.

Use natural air fresheners and other natural products instead of filling the rooms with chemicals. You may even want to incorporate live plants into your space, since they freshen the air and create a restful ambiance. Even little thing make a big difference.

5. Increase Employee Productivity by Establishing a Culture of Health

Take things one step further by encouraging your employees to take an active part in caring for their health. Create a walking club to allow employees to get up, stretch their legs, and walk around in the fresh air for a few minutes.

If you have the opportunity to take a running tour of your city, make that an outing for your office vacation day. Have water available and encourage your employees to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Provide office chairs that support good posture, and consider having standing desks available for your employees. This will ensure that they can feel refreshed and maintain clear minds during the day.

6. Initiate a Flexible Workplace Policy

Not every person runs on the same schedule. Some people are naturally more productive later in the day, while others are early birds. Understand how and where your team works best to maximize employee productivity. By becoming a more flexible workplace, you are enabling employees to bring their best selves to work, rather than inadvertently killing efficiency with strict office hours.

When your employees can work on their own internal schedule, they’ll be happier, more engaged, and achieve business goals on their own terms.

7. Focus on Solutions, Not Barriers

It is easy for all of us to identify problems. And, to be honest, a big part of your employees’ job may be finding problems. But they must remember that the point of their job is to eliminate problems. If your team continually focuses on what is wrong with the business, or a specific project, they will easily become discouraged and unmotivated.

Instead, encourage your employees to look for solutions, not necessarily to look for problems. Help employees find the excitement in problem-solving by emphasizing it as an opportunity to strengthen their skill sets.

8. Be a Team

As the old saying goes, “there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’.” Building a sense of teamwork helps employees maximize their productivity and work together to achieve their larger objectives. Let an attitude of teamwork draw your office together. The difference it makes in employee productivity will make all of the difference.

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