I had the opportunity to facilitate a recent discussion with Airbnb, Jobvite, Optimizely, and WalkMe around the future of employee productivity in San Francisco, CA.
WalkMe brought together San Francisco, Bay Area customers and a panel of leaders including Kumud Kokal, Head of Business Systems at Airbnb, and Rozlyn Greenfield, Head of Global Customer Experience Enablement at Optimizely for a discussion on employee productivity. The conversation centered around how managers can foster creativity and high output among employees, and the three panelists agreed on the three major points:
Hire the Right People – Don’t Rush the Process
Invoking 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, speakers described hiring the right people as “picking players who want to play the sport.” Hiring people who want to work for you and believe in the company’s mission will set you up for success. The need to hire driven, goal-oriented people was also a theme of focus. The ideal hire is someone who wants to learn and craves improvement. An employee with a desire to improve on their own can be invaluable, especially to a smaller company, where employees have to be a larger part of the mission and strategy.
The ideal hire is someone who wants to learn and craves improvement. An employee with a desire to improve on their own can be invaluable, especially to a smaller company, where employees have to be a larger part of the mission and strategy.
Develop a Positive Culture with Targeted Hires
After hiring key players, the next step is to cultivate a culture in which those employees can thrive. Kumud, quoting Simon Sinek, describes culture as a combination of values and behavior. The manager may establish the values, but it is the behavior of your team implementing these values day to day that shapes the culture.
Managers should create a culture centered on winning. Celebrating success within your team improves morale and engagement. Encouraging learning and development, recognizing and rewarding high performance, and checking up with employees in one-on-one meetings shows that you care about them as people, not just as employees and in turn, can increase engagement and productivity.
Engagement is Key
Keeping employees engaged should be one of a manager’s main priorities, however, engagement can be difficult to distinguish from happiness. For example, video games in the office can certainly increase employee happiness and make coming to work more pleasurable for some but do they really support employee engagement?
What can improve engagement? Equipping your employees with the right tools to manage their work and to use their time efficiently is an answer all companies should consider. As Rozlyn put it, “it’s not about working harder, it’s about working smarter.” You want your employees to complete the smaller tasks with ease so they can focus on the quarterly goal, the long-term
You want your employees to complete the smaller tasks with ease so they can focus on the quarterly goal, the long-term strategy, and challenges as arise. When employees get bogged down by mundane tasks, they may not spend quality time or energy on the higher-level problems. Rozlyn urged managers to invest in tools such as automation, online scheduling programs, and project tracking software that will garner more success in the long –run.
The theme of WalkMe’s first ‘Lunch & Learn’ panel discussion was a strong reminder that employees are human beings, not machines. They need the right tools to do their job successfully and a culture that encourages them to work in a smart, efficient way. To promote productivity, managers must not only make themselves available as resources but also understand where their employees are coming from and foster their career development.