Want to Increase Employee Productivity? Look at psychology not policy.

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If you are shooting for higher productivity, look to psychology not policy. Productivity is the result of motivated employees. Motivated employees are not the result of policies….let me repeat that. Motivated employees are not the result of policies.

Managers worry about when employees come and go, when they take a break and for how long, how long they spend on the internet, and on and on. So their first instinct is to create a policy to limit what the employee can do. Sounds sensible, right? Hmmmm….I don’t think so.

To find out what really motivates employees, you need to have an understanding of motivational theories. Motivational theories are psychological understandings of what can inspire people to extend their abilities and to perform to the best of those talents.

There are many great theories out there and it is certainly worth the time and effort required to at least garner a basic knowledge of some of the most prominent. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Herzberg’s Two-factor Theory and Alderfer’s ERG Theory are three good ones to investigate.

You will find one theory after another out there and most have their merits. Bottom line is each will discuss what people need to be motivate in the workplace and most will discuss what can kill that motivation.

People want to feel trusted, they need to be able to express creativity, they want growth opportunities, they want what they give to their job to equal what they feel they get in return…not once will you hear that people want to inundated with rules, micromanaged and controlled. Yet, that is exactly what some policies do.

Now don’t misunderstand me, policies are necessary to run a smooth operation just as laws are necessary to have orderly neighborhoods. There is a line however, between laws for an orderly neighborhood and a military state where people are oppressed by the government. It is exactly the same with an organization and its policies- less can be more; more creativity, more trust, more loyalty and more productivity.

Understanding your employees and learning what motivates them will give you the productivity you are looking for without writing a single prohibitive policy. Give them a try!

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