When Productivity Declines: Possible Causes & Solutions

April 16, 2021 - 12 minutes read - Business Management, Contributed Posts

As a business owner, it’s your wish to see employees and the overall productivity growing by the day, but at times, this is not the case. Understandably, economic hard times have hit many businesses worldwide, leading to closure, but this may not be the only reason your business is slow. Might it be there are things you can do differently to improve productivity?

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To understand the cause of lowered productivity, check every area or department of the company and talk to several stakeholders, including subordinate staff, then implement the solutions. Sometimes, you might be too busy trying to find new business and forget to pay attention to issues or potential problem areas in the company.

When issues are neglected for too long, they escalate, leading to significant and more demanding problems. If your business productivity is low, here are possible reasons

Inadequately Equipped Employees

Employees are the lifeline of any business. When you take good care of your workforce, they’ll enthusiastically carry on the company mission, work to achieve the goals, and ensure customers’ stay happy and satisfied. Discontented employees don’t give all their energy to the business. They only do the bare minimum, which may affect overall productivity. If you want to solve this, find out why they are not motivated 

Someone doesn’t report to work and decide not to work as expected unless there is a problem. The only way to discover the problem is to spend time with the workers as they handle their tasks, ask them to be frank about the issues, and carry out an extensive audit. Possible problems might be

Lack of Adequate Equipment

If equipment breaks down often, is slow or inefficient, your employees will spend more time trying to fix it than handle actual tasks. Try to find out whether the current equipment is old, poorly maintained, or not enough. Do the employees have to wait in turns to handle tasks? 

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Possibly you need to add more computers, printing machines or other equipment they regularly use. When dealing with old equipment, the only solution is to replace it with newer, better, and more efficient pieces. Also, make sure the machines are well maintained to keep their efficiency stable.

Signal Problems

A network problem can slow down processes. When employees don’t have access to a quality cell signal, it can slow down productivity. They may take longer to communicate with clients and other important stakeholders. Also, when clients cannot reach you conveniently, they might take their business elsewhere.

If you have metal or concrete buildings, the two materials can affect indoor cellular signal strength. Do employees step out of the building when they want to use their phones? Here, find out 3 ways to improve sell signal in metal & concrete buildings. They are

  • Cut obtrusion by other electronic gadgets
  • Check current cellular signal strength in your locality
  • Invest in a signal strength booster specially made for metal and concrete buildings

Lack of Motivation

Unmotivated employees will not be productive. An attractive pay package, rewards, growth opportunities, teamwork, and a friendly work environment are key motivators. Are you a boss or a leader? 

Employees work best in a friendly environment where everyone, even the boss, participates in the tasks. Rather than give out instructions and watch the employees work, show them how to do it. If you do this, you’ll break the boss-employee barrier, improving communication and productivity. 

Because you are more involved, you’ll detect issues before it’s too late. Additionally, workers will not find it hard to talk to you, express their ideas, needs or even speak about work and personal problems. 

Also, let your team know you appreciate the effort they put in. Reward exemplary behavior and input and also involve your workforce in decision-making. They, too, may have excellent ideas which may steer the company ahead. 

As you will realize, employees, don’t stay in a company because of an attractive pay package alone but the availability of growth opportunities, their relationship with the boss and coworkers. Make the workplace a second home, and you’ll retain happy employees longer. 

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Dissatisfied Customers

Without customers, your business would die out. You need clients to bring revenue to fuel the company mission and sustain day-to-day expenditure. If your client list has dwindled or you notice some of the loyal clients no longer shop with you, there can be underlying problems you need to fix immediately. What are the possible issues?

Substandard Products

Customers will shop at your store the first time, but it might indicate their dissatisfaction with the product if they don’t return. Encourage customers to give feedback after using your products.  In some cases, the quality of a product can go down after changing suppliers or processes. Find out what has caused the decline in quality, rectify and carry out a campaign to restore customer’s faith in the products.

Poor Customer Service

Clients shop where they feel appreciated, taken care of, and their concerns addressed. Do you take time to talk to your clients, answer their questions and explain processes? Are your employees friendly, professional, engaging, and helpful to your clients? Make sure your employees have soft skills essential in building strong bonds with the clients. 

How Do You Handle Conflicts?

Every business, no matter its reputation or professionalism level, experiences occasional conflicts with customers. An issue can lead to delayed deliveries or make a customer feel unappreciated. Problems such as wrong or defective products are common but how you handle the incident determines your relationship with the client in the future.

Acknowledge mistakes, take full responsibility, apologize and offer what the customer needs. You might have to replace a product and publicly apologize but make sure the customer is happy and satisfied. A negative review from a disgruntled client can cost you a lot in the future. 

You Have Ignored the Current Trends

As technology advancements hit the world, you have to make sure you accommodate the changes, improving productivity. If you keep using outdated operation strategies, soon you’ll run out of business as clients and even employees prefer modern, more convenient operations. How do you do this?

Digitize Your Operations

If you operate a physical store but don’t have an online platform, you’ll be missing out on a lot of business. 75% of shoppers buy online at least once a month. How do you capture this traffic? How do you make your business visible to online shoppers? 

First, have a reputable, information-packed, and easy-to-visit online platform such as a website, blog, or social media page. If possible, have all three. It’s easier to keep in touch with clients online than it is physically. Also, many people choose the convenience of online shopping and communication. 

Even when they plan to visit a store to shop physically, most people will still prefer to check online when they want more information about the product, compare prices or engage with the seller. 

As you build an online presence, you’ll expand your business to regions you couldn’t physically penetrate. Just make sure you have efficient delivery and payment systems in place. 

Automate Your Company Operations

If you still carry out tasks manually, it is tedious, slow, and demotivates workers. Check the technology advancements in your field and invest accordingly. You don’t have to buy every new piece of equipment in the market but make sure the operations are efficient, fast, and effective.

Technology makes processes faster and more accurate. You’ll also boost productivity. What used to take an entire day to accomplish can be achieved in minutes or hours. As you automate systems, you can meet customer demands effectively and keep your workforce motivated. 

One way to digitize your company is by replacing old machines with newer, efficient models. As you do this, you’ll realize your expenditure drops as you won’t have to employ as many workers as before or use a lot of power to run the equipment. Make sure to go for greener, more energy-efficient options. 

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How to Create an Effective Digital-Only Customer Loyalty Program [Contributed Blog]

Stay Competitive

As you operate your business and aim to give your clients the best, understand that similar companies are probably in your area or online. What would make customers choose your company over the competitors? What makes your services or products unique?

To beat your competition, understand their operations, strengths and take advantage of their weaknesses. For instance, they probably don’t have an efficient delivery system, and clients get inconvenienced waiting for days for their purchases to be delivered.

Offer to make quick, same-day deliveries or offer services even on weekends and holidays. A customer who wants a fast delivery will choose you instead. 

Also, check the prices. You don’t want your prices to be too high or too low. Very high prices drive customers away while they will question your products’ authenticity when the prices are low. 

You might also run into losses when using price as bait to attract more clients. Offer quality, reliable and convenient services that will have customers coming back for more. 

When checking these problem areas, you’ll realize where you need to improve or change tactics. As you improve your service delivery and aim to keep a more satisfied workforce, you’ll notice a gradual but consistent productivity improvement.

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