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On December 1st the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) goes into effect. Most dealers have by now identified employees that make less than $47,476 and therefore will be eligible for overtime pay. And most dealers have already decided how they will stay compliant, whether it's raising base salaries, converting salaried employees to hourly employees and limiting hours worked, or other options.
If one of your best options is to eliminate overtime pay for employees, take heart. One recent study showed that employee productivity falls sharply after a 50-hour work week. Then there are those well-known adages such as "Work contracts or expands to fit in whatever time you allot to it," and "If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do."
You may be pleasantly surprised when you eliminate overtime and discover that just as much gets done as before. There's a good chance that some employees will be so thrilled to be free of the expectation of overtime, that they will be extra motivated to get everything done before they can go home.
But if productivity does begin to suffer, there are some things that leadership can do. Here are nine tips to help boost employee productivity:
1) Keep employees happy. Happy employees are 12% more productive, according to a study published in the Journal of Labor Economics. To keep employees happy, invest in their support and satisfaction. The efforts are worth it, as happy employees will take better care of your customers.
2) Promote a health and wellness culture. Many studies show the correlation between healthy employees and higher productivity, and absenteeism is 27% lower for employees who eat healthy and exercise regularly.
3) Offer training. Ongoing training helps to keep employees engaged and motivated, especially if they are working towards a new career goal.
4) Promote work-life balance. Eliminating overtime will go a long way to creating work-life balance, but in addition dealers should encourage employees to attend important family events and take all their vacation days. The idea here is that employees will be grateful for your support and therefore more productive while at work.
5) Have a "Productivity Day." Do you have company-wide projects that have been sitting on the back burner? Are your employees stressed out because they're falling behind? Designate one day per month as "Productivity Day." The goal is for employees to be as productive as possible and to bring ideas to the table on how to do so.
Have employees identify one project they want to accomplish. Ban meetings and encourage employees to schedule blocks of uninterrupted time to complete the project. Distribute employee-contributed "rules" that support productivity such as, "No stopping by co-workers' cubicles or offices to chat," or "Earbuds allowed." Have employees track their productive hours.
There's no better way to increase productivity than to turn employees into enthusiastic productivity hacks!
6) Get to know your employees. If upper management hasn't taken the time to get to know employees on a personal level, make this a mandate. Once a month schedule lunches with one senior management member and a small group of employees, for the sole purpose of getting to know each other on a personal level. Your employees will feel appreciated and become more engaged.
7) Share your company's vision and core values. Does your dealership have a mission statement and a plan to get there? Do you have a list of core values your brand represents? Do your employees know about it? If not, it's time to do a little work. You can't expect your employees to help you get where you're going if you haven't communicated your vision.
8) Ask employees to help solve problems. When problems arise, don't be dictatorial about solving them. Involve your employees, form teams and assign them the task of solving the problem. You never know, you may get a brilliant solution that you never even thought of. And because it was your employees' idea on how to solve said problem, their motivation to implement and compliance to the solution will be greater.
9) Become a best place to work. Find out if your local business journals or newspapers sponsor a "Best Places to Work" award program. Ask an employee to nominate your dealership. The anonymous survey results will give you a great benchmark of how well your dealership is perceived by your current employees. They will help you to identify organizational changes that need to be made, as well as strengths and weaknesses. Make it a goal to get on that list--and stay on it. Best places to work attract and retain highly-qualified employees, who also tend to be more productive.
What are your tips for boosting employee productivity?