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Employee Productivity: How to increase productivity in the workplace

Why is productivity important in the workplace?

Employee productivity is crucial to maximize efficiency, cost-effectiveness, competitive advantage, innovation, employee and customer satisfaction, adaptability, profitability, and employee growth. How can one phrase encompass all of that? Well, if your employees are happy and productive, they’ll complete their tasks like grooming and training pets in a timely and thorough manner. This will help positively impact your costs: more efficient groomers can see more pups in a day, for example. Productive employees are more likely to be innovative, helping come up with strategies that can help you edge out competitors, and raise profits: if an employee feels supported, they might tell you about a new promotion idea or other ways you can improve your pet care facility. Productivity directly impacts employee satisfaction. A happy and efficient workforce can get things done quickly. And if they love what they do (and who wouldn’t love getting to see furry friends all day?) they’ll pass that infectious joy onto your customers, improving their satisfaction as well. Confident workers are able to adapt to changes better and can adapt to new skills if the company calls for them. So how can you ensure your staff is the most productive it can be?

6 Ways to Increase Employee Productivity

To enhance workplace productivity, set clear goals and expectations, provide the right tools, and foster a positive work environment. Encourage open communication, streamline processes, and prioritize tasks to optimize efficiency. Embrace technology, provide training opportunities, and monitor and adjust strategies regularly for sustained improvement. Let’s dive further into all of those strategies, below.

1. Use Productivity Apps

Whether you’re running a dog daycare, a boarding facility, a grooming salon, or a pet training company, you’ll need strong pet business software like PetExec if you want your business to grow and for your employees to be productive. It’s a cloud-based software that can speed up many routine tasks, so your employees can get back to what they love, sooner. At daycares for example, instead of manually checking in pups, employees can use PetExec to quickly scan pet barcodes, ensuring dogs get to playing sooner. They can also record pets’ temperaments and even food allergies with PetExec’s pet and owner advisory system. And after pups are checked in, you can sort them into various play areas based on temperament with ease.  If your staff members are focused on a task yet hear a concerning noise from the play area, instead of getting up and interrupting what they were doing, staff members (and pet owners) can remotely check in on dogs from anywhere with PetExec’s integration with iDogCam, the pet industry’s leading webcam provider. PetExec can also accelerate previously tedious retail tasks, such as adding retail products to your system, managing on-hand inventory, and recording vendor information.  

2. Focus on Employee Morale

You can increase employee morale by fostering open communication, giving recognition and appreciation, providing development opportunities, creating a healthy work-life balance, giving autonomy, engaging in team building activities, prioritizing health and wellbeing, giving fair compensation and benefits, and providing flexibility and accountability. To foster open communication, you can be open with your employees on your goals and challenges of your pet business, and you can encourage them to be open with you on any concerns, addressing them right away so they feel heard. You can give recognition digitally or in person: either is bound to be appreciated. If you have a group text or Slack for employees, give weekly shoutouts there, or make an “employee of the week” or month board and stick photos of your top performers up there. You can create formal and informal ways of recognition, from positive verbal feedback to pizza parties and holiday bonuses.

Your employees will appreciate if you provide career development opportunities, whether that’s helping them gain extra certifications in dog training and grooming, or helping to pay for tuition to college and graduate school. Creating a healthy work life balance can look like many things, from refraining from contacting workers outside of their regularly scheduled hours, to making sure you don’t overschedule employees, to creating a time off system that allows them to schedule breaks. To accomplish this,  PetExec allows you to add and manage employee schedules and set different permissions in the system for each employee type. Giving autonomy simply means trusting your employees to make decisions and not micromanaging them. Team building activities can be fun and engaging – try a company outing to an escape room, beat the bomb game, trivia nights, or other excursions that get the team to learn more about each other and bond. You can prioritize their health and wellbeing by creating  time off for illness and providing mental health care benefits. Ensure your staff’s compensation is fair by offering market-rate salaries and competitive benefits to attract and retain top talent (more on that in a second!) Lastly, during these changing pandemic-era times, allow for flexibility and adapt to your staff’s needs, whether that’s allowing remote work for some roles, or schedule flexibility if staff or their loved ones are sick.

3. Attract and Retain the Right Talent (link here)

Attracting and retaining talent, that is, making people want to work for your business and stay at their jobs, can often be a financial problem. Why is that? On average last year, businesses spent almost $1000 to train just one employee. You read that right! Recruiting can also cost money: advertising on LinkedIn, Indeed, and other job boards can stack up quickly, so you’ll want to focus efforts on finding the perfect, caring, knowledgable employees and making sure they’re happy enough to want to stay. To retain them, you’ll want to ensure employees are happy at their jobs. Scheduling 1:1 meetings with employees and supervisors to get a sense of what they’re enjoying and not enjoying about their positions can help you steer their growth as employees. After you collect that data, you can ensure staff members are doing more of what they love, whether that’s grooming, walking, or feeding dogs.

In addition to a strong work-life balance and offering professional development in a supportive workplace, there are a few other tools you can add to your roster to retain talent. One is implementing employee surveys. Creating anonymous surveys will help staff say what’s really on their mind without fear of retaliation. If you get any concerning feedback, you can address the employee’s needs before they get frustrated enough to walk away, saving you time and money by retaining an employee. You can also create a sense of job security for employees, because less job security means less engaged employees.

4. Improve Employee Onboarding (link to onboarding blog once live)

If you’ve ever gotten hired for a job and jumped in with little to no training, you will remember what a chaotic experience that can be. A robust onboarding process, filled with documents, videos, and meetings will help answer any questions right off the bat. A successful onboarding process leads to 89% happier employees overall. To ensure that success, you can ask employees how their onboarding experience went and tweak future sessions according to their feedback.

5. Set Clear Goals & Expectations (link to SMART Goals blog once live)

If you’ve never run a business before and your business isn’t large enough to hire supervisors yet, this might be your first experience managing people. You may not know how to set goals for employees. Many organizations use a SMART goals framework. SMART is an acronym that asks for goals to be:

  1. Specific. What do you want your staff member to achieve? Why is it important? Who will they work with to achieve this goal? What challenges might they face?
  2. Measurable. There needs to be some sort of quantifiable way to know the employee has progressed, ii.e. groom five dogs a day.
  3. Achievable. This means the goal needs to be in reach for an employee. If we take the groomer example again, they probably cannot groom 20 dogs in eight hours, five days a week. So you’ll need to adjust goals based on their capacity.
  4. Relevant. Their goal needs to fit in with other goals in the company. So if the company is looking for a 4.5 star rating on Google My Business, what the employee is doing must contribute to overall customer satisfaction in some way. If you’re specifically going for that goal, PetExec integrates with Broadly, a reputation management software that will automatically connect with your PetExec account to help generate reviews on Google and Facebook and attract new revenue.
  5. Time-Bound. Employees should be able to complete this goal within a certain number of months so you can decide whether they should receive raises or promotions.

6. Give Employee Feedback (link to employee review blog once live)

Giving employee feedback the right way is important to keeping staff productive. If you’re careless about your remarks, you could make them feel upset or belittled. Set up regular individual meetings with any staff you are managing and let them know about your feedback style and what to expect from your meetings ahead of time. Many managers prefer the “compliment sandwich” method, which is simply starting your feedback off with something positive (e.g. I really love how you’re so positive with customers when you’re checking in dogs!) then adding something to improve on (e.g. But I wish you would stop using your phone so much while you’re taking care of pups.) and then saying something else positive (e.g. You’re really improving your punctuality at work!) But however you decide to give feedback, make sure it’s specific and actionable (e.g. Please try to put your phone down a little more when interacting with dogs) rather than vague and ad hominem (e.g. Rude behavior like that makes me think you don’t want to be here.) Try to be empathetic to reports: no one really enjoys getting negative feedback, and try to consider from their perspective, why their performance is the way it is. Are they constantly late because they live far from your doggy daycare? Are they on their phone because their family member is in the hospital?

How to measure employee productivity?

Employee productivity can be measured through quantitative and qualitative means. Quantitative measurement is easier for some positions: this can include your staff member selling a certain amount of merchandise a month, or your groomer grooming a certain number of dogs per week. You can also measure productivity through assessing whether employees have met their SMART goals. And since, unfortunately, dogs can’t talk, you can ask your customers for feedback on your employees by giving them surveys, and you can of course measure productivity by if customers want to return to your facility after taking their pets there. The Employee Activity Report in PetExec provides insight into changes and tasks your employees complete in the system. The report allows you to filter by date range, report type such as (grooming or daycare), and by employee. You can use the report to easily identify employee mistakes and monitor productivity.

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