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How do you keep employees productive?

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How do you encourage better productivity among your employees? What motivational techniques can you suggest? Share your comments about keeping employees productive, as discussed in the May 4 Government IT e-newsletter.

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Be a supervisor

by DC_GUY In reply to How do you keep employees ...

Being one of the older generation of IT people (I started in 1967) I had the good fortune of being inducted into this Guild under the guidance of a "supervisor." That job doesn't exist any more: today everyone reports directly to a "manager."

The problem with that is that managers spend most of their time doing "management stuff." (I've been a manager for years and I still couldn't tell you what that management stuff really is, but somehow it eats up a lot of time.) Managers don't have any time to "supervise" people. Even though the word "manager" implies that they are "managing" people, there seems to be a vast difference between supervising and managing, in terms of the actual relationship between the manager and the subordinate.

Supervisors spend almost all of their time focused on their staff. Not just prairie-dogging over their cubicle partition to catch them doing crossword puzzles, either. In fact a good supervisor knows that we all need an unscheduled break occasionally in order to maintain our sanity.

Supervisors keep in touch with how their subordinates are doing. Have they acquired the right skills to do their job? Have they got the confidence to use those skills? Are they getting enough feedback from you and the rest of their superiors to know whether they're doing OK? How are their social skills? (In my day most of us didn't have any, but even today people who choose careers in IT aren't always the most social members of the species.) Sometimes two people who seem nice enough don't hit it off and they just need a playground monitor with a loud whistle. IT is a cosmopolitan vocation; is anyone having trouble with English as a second language? How about writing skills: we all have to do a lot of it but it doesn't mean we're any good at it.

And yes, how is their personal life? You don't have to be a licensed therapist but everyone appreciates a sympathetic ear and who knows, perhaps you really can help solve a problem. Furthermore, these days with the myriad forms of job insecurity, there is a whole lot more spillover of work problems into home life than the other way round, so you can help spot them before they spin out of control.

To sum up, I've found that the single most effective thing I can do to make sure my people give their best and get the most back from the job is to simply fill in that missing box on the org chart, and be a good old-fashioned first-line supervisor. It's not easy because managers don't have enough time. But then, delegating some of that "management stuff" to your subordinates so you have time to do some "supervision stuff" is a really good tradeoff.

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Too much time spent on such discussion topics and forums...

by onbliss In reply to How do you keep employees ...

LOL...really it is quite obvious that it is one of the things that need to be addressed.

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by Oz_Media In reply to How do you keep employees ...

I find in most cases lack of productivity is due to redundancy or boredom. MOst people take an interest when challenged within their means and start to pound the puppy when it becomes redundant.

When this happens I find the ofllowing methods very effective:
- Shouting, screaming or bellowing at the individual

- light slapping that slowly grows stronger until you are throwing full force blows

- racist and derogatory slurs directed at the employees self, family and friends

- Walkng around with signed pink slips, minus the employee name, while clicking a retractable pen

Or if all else fails, resort back to number one.

- Shouting, screaming or bellowing at the individual

This seems to improve productivity without too much repercussion, and if there is conflict then you have reason to fire the lazy bugger and find someone motivated.

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you're soft..

by maecuff In reply to Productivity

I've found that the combination of cattle prods and pepper spray works wonders.

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by Oz_Media In reply to you're soft..

Why do people actually have issues like this? I just have never seen such a problem in any company here.

"Get your *** in gear or go home" usually does the trick.


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Oh crap! I think you work here...

by TomSal In reply to Productivity

OI!!! Oh great obviously Oz_Media's cover has been blown now after that post....he must be an executive at my company... LOL

Great one Oz...I got a few laughs from it..

Sad though, that though I know you posted for humor value -- that some people do believe in that.

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Motivation is great but there is a greater work

by chris In reply to How do you keep employees ...

Having spoken to businesses, organizations, teams, companies, etc. I believe that motivation is a great tool. Motivation and motivational speeches can pump up and inspire a team to great service. But that inspiration and motivation will fade unless an effort is made to keep it there.

In my company we stress "Vision and Purpose for Better Living." It is our mindset that when vision is created, a purpose is gained and action is taken, then the motivation will stay. Individuals want to know what they can get out of work besides a paycheck? They also want to know what their work accomplishes.

Giving them vision allows them to see where they are going.

For more information about me or my company, contact us at:

Chris Gallagher

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