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Just 2 Steps to Being More Productive

You Are 2 Steps Away From Being More Productive

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You Are 2 Steps Away From Being More Productive

Productivity often is touted as the Holy Grail of today’s workforce. Countless books and apps are packed to the brim with tips promising to make you more efficient, while today’s managers scour for — and promote — candidates with past episodes of grand productivity.

You would think that with such pushes, a steady increase in individual and workplace productivity would exist. You would be wrong.

The Myth of Productivity

In a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the productivity change between 2007 and 2016 in the nonfarm U.S. business sector increased 1.1 percent, an all-time low since the 1940s. Scholars give a myriad of reasons for this dip, ranging from a decrease in innovation to repercussions from the Great Recession; however, this stark stat likely makes even the most motivated worker feel defeated

But the thing about leaders is they have something others lack: foresight. Leaders see the bigger picture. They believe that their actions actually matter, and in fact, that those actions can inspire others.

You can’t control the changes that come with working in a knowledge economy, but you can control what you do each day. Below are two proactive ways to incite productivity in your daily life.

  1. Prioritize Time

Think back to a time when you felt like you were crushing it.

Perhaps you were working on a report or managing a team, and you were completely engrossed in your task. Now think through your typical day: Likely, there are moments of productivity … and then you get a text or an email or a meeting request, perhaps all at the same time. Information is everywhere; it clouds our lives. A 2015 Deloitte study noted that in a single day, people exchange more than 100 billion emails, yet only one in seven of those emails could be qualified as extremely important.

Although technology has made space for innovation and ease, it also has been a metaphorical shock to the U.S. workforce’s system. Indeed, many experts who study time management have changed the ubiquitous phrase of “multitasking” to the more apt “rapid toggling” to communicate the futile effort of doing multiple things at once, even when technology promises we can.

Studies have shown that if you want to do deep work that puts you in a state of flow and ahead of your competitors, then you must prioritize uninterrupted, focused time. In fact, a recent article in Harvard Business Review outlined the importance of restorative silence for busy individuals: “Recent studies are showing that taking time for silence restores the nervous system, helps sustain energy and conditions our minds to be more adaptive and responsive to the complex environments in which so many of us now live, work and lead.”

You may ask (while frantically scanning your bursting inbox), “How do I do this?”

Start by identifying a time during your day when your presence isn’t really required. Perhaps you need to attend that recurring weekly meeting only every other week, or maybe you can send an employee in your stead. Assess your daily rituals — maybe that morning stroll around the office where you chat with everyone could happen later in the afternoon so your mornings are free from distraction. Is your office door always open? See what happens if you shut it for 30 minutes. Chances are no one will notice that time you’ve stolen away for yourself, and you’ll have space to focus on what really matters.

  1. Prioritize Values

There is a reason that successful companies put such stock in their values and vision: Clarity makes space for progress. In 2015, General Electric executive took time to verbalize the company’s values, after feeling the business was becoming too complex. Known as “the GE Beliefs,” those values acted as a road map for them to plot out and execute their top priorities.

A Deloitte University Press article noted, “The GE Beliefs play a large role in leadership development and are also used to change how GE recruits, how it manages and leads and how its people are evaluated and developed.”

GE is just one example of many companies putting emphasis on clearly articulating core values in order to spur output. And if successful companies are doing so, why wouldn’t you?

According to Inc. 500 entrepreneur Kevin Daum, “Much like company core values, your personal core values are there to guide behavior and choice.”

How do you craft a list of personal values? Glance over your job description, reassess your passions and future goals, and then put pen to paper. The list of values doesn’t have to be long, but it must be clear. To spur ideas, look at examples from companies like Zappos and Facebook.

Once you have your values nailed down, certain tasks that have been consuming your time likely will lose their urgency. For example, if innovation is part of your purpose, but the last time you researched new advances in your field was six months ago, then it’s time to reassess either your values or how you’re spending your time.

Productivity can be tricky to quantify, but creating a conducive environment is a great place to start. Making crucial space and aligning your daily tasks to your vision are two steps in the right direction.

Now that you know how to increase your own productivity, be sure to check out our  new article about how to define, measure and increase your employee’s productivity,   “Employee Productivity: Here’s What Really Matters.”



Author Bio: Oden-Hall is an award-winning public relations, communications and marketing professional with over 20 years experience driving corporate strategy for Fortune 500 companies. Her Oklahoma roots and passion coupled with her global experience and creative flair have helped her drive numerous successful strategic initiatives. She joined the Paycom team as Chief Marketing Officer in April of 2012.

talent shortage

How the Talent Shortage Threatens Your Business’s Bottom Line

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Human nature and the rapid pace of the workday sometimes conspire to force us into a myopic view of our organization. For instance, we may be so concentrated on attacking a problem within our department that we neglect to consider if the issue has infiltrated other departments as well.

If the issue is filling head count with qualified candidates, assume it has spread like a virus, to every room of every floor. Your business cannot afford to do otherwise.

While the problem is global, it is worse in the U.S., where 46% of all organizations currently experience difficulty filling open positions. Not only is that number up from 32% in 2015, it’s at its highest rate in 10 years. Experts predict it will rise even higher, meaning the war for talent just got harder.

The skills gap

The irony is, with an improving economy and an employment-to-population ratio around 82%, more people are in the American workforce now than in nearly a decade. So shouldn’t employers be inundated with résumés?

In general, they are … but not with the right kind of résumés. Almost 20% of applicants lack the experience companies seek. An equal number do not possess the necessary, specific hard skills the positions require, such as computer programming.

This skills gap has led to longer open positions. This year, the average is a full month: 31 days. Ten years ago, it took eight fewer days. How long can your business get by with letting critical functions go unfilled?

A domino effect

Arguably, the most obvious effect caused by open positions is lower morale among staff members, particularly those who have to pick up the proverbial slack. Having extra work atop their regular duties lowers their productivity, which in turn, lowers quality.

Before long, customers will take note. Perhaps they notice the product is not up to the company’s usual standard, or that your service may be lacking. Or, worse, they notice both. Either way, your competitiveness in the marketplace takes a hit, and we know the effect that has on the bottom line: not the desirable kind.

Ultimately, in a talent shortage left unaddressed, your business experiences all of the above, plus higher turnover. And higher turnover only compounds the problem that started this whole mess!

 Steps to take

The good news is, good news exists. The proper HR technology can streamline, speed up and automate your recruiting processes to attract more qualified candidates and filter out the unqualified ones. Automated preboarding helps keep new hires looped in, so they are not lost to the chasm of time between the job offer and Day 1.

The bad news is, if you don’t take such steps, and outdated, manual processes continue to rule the roost, your business will suffer defeat in the war for talent.

For more information on the current talent shortage, as well as strategic steps organizations can take on a path toward victory, download our free infographic, How the Talent Shortage Harms Your Entire Business.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, Talent Acquisition

Rod Lott

by Rod Lott


Author Bio: As Paycom’s Creative Services Manager, Rod Lott brings more than two decades of experience in marketing, advertising, branding and journalism. A published author and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, he has worked with such brands as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Sonic Drive-In and OU.

The 1 Thing Efficient, Happy and Motivated Employees Have in Common

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Efficiency, happiness and motivation: These traits characterize the ideal employee, but how can today’s employers inspire their workforce to have more of each? Through the use of carefully chosen technology. Here’s how technology factors in to developing your employees into the best they can be.

Click here to see Jacob Morgan’s SHRM-certified on-demand webinar “How to Win the War for Talent and Crush the Competition” on how the world’s top companies are redesigning work around their people by focusing on three environments: culture, technology and the physical workspace.

Efficient employees

Of course, your employees are not machines. Efficiency for your business means employees are doing the right things at the right time; as management consultant Peter Drucker put it, “Efficiency is doing better what is already being done.” The work you hired them to do is performed with excellence.

Technology goes hand-in-hand with efficiency, and that can make your employees happier! In fact, as reported by Access Perks, 92% of employees say having the tech to efficiently do their jobs improves their overall satisfaction in their work. Employees don’t want just any technology; make sure you’re offering the latest tech that can help them perform better in their roles.

Happy employees

Whether your employees are happy can affect many things within your workplace. More than a feeling your people exhibit from 8 to 5, happiness speaks to their satisfaction in their role within your company. When your employees love what they do, that’s how you know they’re happy in their jobs.

The employee experience is the sum of all things good or bad in an employee’s time at your company. A positive employee experience leads to happier employees who are more willing to accept growth and change, and are emotionally prepared to handle the occasional setback.

Jacob Morgan, author of The Employee Experience, describes technology as a key factor in building a positive employee experience. His research shows that 81% of workers say technology is the most important factor in their happiness at work, and 86% say that when their company’s technology is ahead of the curve, they love their job. When employees love their jobs, they become more motivated for the success of the company that has invested in them.

Motivated employees

According to Forbes magazine, motivation leads to productivity, allowing for more work to get done and boosting your bottom line. Chances are, no matter the quarter, your HR team has looked for innovative ways to motivate and engage employees. Incentives, prizes and pizza parties are obvious choices in the search for employee motivation, but is a “prize” the best method?

One powerful motivator that isn’t just another prize is technology; according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, at 48%, nearly half of the American workforce says that new technology is an effective motivator. Are you providing the state-of-the-art, user-friendly tech that can motivate your workforce?

Technology that is up-to-date and simple to use can help you provide the environment your employees need to thrive.  As tech-dependent millennials make up a larger share of the workforce, and Generation Z digital natives begin their careers, technology increasingly becomes a critical part of the employee experience.  Help your employees meet their maximum potential by providing the right technology to keep them efficient, happy and motivated.

Looking for a deeper dive into the employee experience? Check out the HR Break Room podcast episode, “Happy Employees = Happy Customers: The Equation for a Winning Workforce” with author Jacob Morgan.

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Posted in Blog, Employee Experience, Featured

braeden.fair

by Braeden Fair


Author Bio: Braeden Fair produces webinars and podcasts for Paycom, in addition to writing content for the company’s blog and its employee culture magazine, Paycom Pulse. A graduate of Oklahoma Christian University, he managed social media for the college’s student life division and worked in the broadcasting departments of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas-based sports-talk radio station The Ticket.

Employer Brand

Why Your Employer Brand Matters

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Hello. My name is Amy, and at one time, my Coca-Cola rugby shirt was my most prized possession. Chances are you – or someone you know – had at least one and felt the same way. Those preppy, color-blocked beauties with the classic Coca-Cola scroll were pure Americana. They were so rad.

They were also uncomfortable. The material was thick and hot, the boxy shape was cumbersome and the collars were stiff. So what would inspire millions of sensible people to pay good money and outfit themselves in one? The answer: brand power.

Brands amplify the personal traits and characteristics of which we’re most proud. Brands show others who we are and want to be. They’re a fiercely personal association that sways our decision-making, regardless of whether we like to admit it, and they’re just as powerful today as they were in 1985.

If you don’t believe me, just embroil yourself in a debate about Macs vs. PCs, or Target vs. Walmart. Two things will happen immediately. First, regret will overwhelm you. Secondly, as voices rise and tempers flare, you’ll see that brands continue to serve as an extension of who we believe we are.

Great expectations

While the influence brands have over us remains strong, what we expect from them has changed. Today, companies can’t win customers by building a brand the old-fashioned way, with logo-emblazoned gear, slick photo shoots and ads in glossy magazines. Cultivating a trustworthy brand requires transparency. We want to know which brands mirror our values and operate in a way we believe in, too.

And we can, thanks to the internet. Now, not even the slickest ads in the world can spare brands from the destruction that negative reviews, an exposé on unethical practices or a shocking YouTube video can bring. The power of shaping a brand now lies with the company who owns it and the customers they serve.

Why it matters for HR and recruiting

So what does this have to do with your company’s reputation as an employer, aka your employer brand? Everything.

Just as consumers choose products based on brand identity, candidates choose jobs based on employer brand. Consumers want transparency. Candidates do, too. Review websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp offer consumers a forum to share honest experiences with thousands of people. Major job sites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Indeed provide employees a similar outlet.

And candidates pay attention. Much like consumers contemplating a big purchase, candidates planning to make a big move do research. Before applying, 62% of job seekers will use social media channels to evaluate a company and 76% will view an employee’s LinkedIn page, while 60% consider word-of-mouth to be their best source of information.

To nab today’s top talent, you must enter the conversation and cultivate your employer brand.

Isn’t that marketing’s job?

Although the similarities between the consumer brand and the employer brand would suggest it, that’s not the case. And shaping or managing your employer brand doesn’t just belong to HR, either. Because your employer brand has to portray your company’s employee experience accurately, everyone who has a hand in shaping that has a hand in cultivating the employer brand.

Download our new, FREE white paper: Discover Who Owns the Employer Brand? (Hint: It’s Not Just HR)

Once you understand the role everyone in your organization plays in cultivating the employer brand, you can begin making steps toward recruiting, hiring, onboarding and retaining the talent your business needs. Then, take some time to design an awesome (and hopefully comfortable) employer-branded shirt. Your workforce will be just dying to wear it.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, HR Management, Talent Acquisition

Amy Double

by Amy Double


Author Bio: Amy, a tenured professional in sales and marketing with over 10 years of experience, is dedicated to creating content focused on helping organizations achieve their business goals. As an experienced writer, Amy is committed to researching and blogging about topics that affect businesses across multiple industries, including manufacturing, hospitality and more. Outside of work, Amy enjoys reading, entertaining and spending time with family.

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