Increasing productivity during tough times: The importance of Human Resources

3 min read

When times are hard, it can be incredibly difficult to boost employees’ productivity. The negative atmosphere can be engulfing but HR has a key role to play in keeping morale high.

Times are tough in many areas at the moment

Brexit and uncertainty have been two of the most frequently used words in the world of business for the past few years; business confidence in general is falling - 55% of UK company board members predict a decline over the coming year. Further to this, having restricted access to talented professionals is an enormous worry for many employers, with a large proportion of European individuals finding it harder to move to the UK for work.

 

In times like these, productivity can really take a hit. Employee engagement is integral to boosting morale - below are some effective ways of increasing productivity.

Make sure you’re hiring the right fit for teams

Culture mismatches can be heightened when business performance is down. If you have employees who are not the best fit, tensions will be straining and the workplace environment could become hostile. How can this be avoided? More attentive recruitment and selection in the first place.

  • Think long term for every interviewee
  • Do not consider just the influence of an individual for a specific role, you have to be mindful of wider team dynamics
  • Putting more of a focus on screening in the recruitment and selection process

 

Ensuring an applicant is the perfect fit for your company could save you both time and money in the future, as well as reducing potential office fallouts!

Avoid micromanagement

Having a senior professional watching your every move can be incredibly off-putting for some employees and often hinders their productivity. The best leaders encourage their workforce to take ownership of their time, resources and ultimately their own productivity. 

 

Through managing less you can get better results. Trust your decisions in terms of who you’ve hired to perform daily tasks and let them be independent. With less time wasted overseeing employees, managers and senior level employees can be more strategic and focus on areas to improve the business.

Emphasise the importance of self-care

Stress negatively influences productivity. Not all of this is necessarily caused exclusively by work, but the effects are carried over from home life and felt in the office - 39% of UK adults admit to feeling ‘too stressed’ in their daily lives. Employees at all levels of seniority need to look after themselves in terms of mental and physical health. HR departments and line managers can help in this respect by listening, giving feedback and establishing clear parameters for success.

 

Once again, this harks back to the work/life balance debate - do not underestimate the importance of offering your employees a healthy balance.