How to Introduce a Successful Workplace Productivity Improvement Program
Introducing a change like this requires quite a lot of serious thought. There is a perception that increased productivity is achieved at the expense of the workers. In some ways, productivity improvement has got a bad name because of the way previous programs have been introduced. Knowing this in advance is a great advantage. This means that you can preempt problems before they arise.
Introducing the program is probably the hardest part of the whole project, yet it is an essential part of the process. There is no point in plowing ahead without winning the hearts and minds of your staff. The program will only work when the staff support it. Without their support, it will fail dismally. This means that the first part of the productivity improvement program is to win the support of your staff.
One of the ways to introduce productivity improvement is to never use the words productivity improvement. I have found that introducing the concept as a way of working smarter not harder is normally accepted more easily. If you know who carries influence in your workplace, you can start off by having informal discussions with them about making the work easier. This means that when you come to talk to the whole group, you already have the people with the influence on your side.
Too often, productivity improvement programs have been installed as a prescription for work practices by autocratic management techniques. Predictably, these methods failed miserably. This has left an unpleasant legacy which has made it more difficult to introduce productivity improvements at a later date.
It helps if you are in the habit of holding briefing meetings with your staff on a regular basis. This is an excellent forum for introducing ways of working smarter once you have sown the seeds with the influential people. Regular meetings like this also enable you to introduce such things as what sort of feedback is appropriate and the frequency.
These sorts of regular meetings can be used for setting targets, milestones and methods of celebration when they are reached. There are many other benefits from holding regular meetings which include, better communication, less resistance to change, improve teamwork, more innovation, the free exchange of ideas and improved morale.
It also makes sense to use these meetings to remind staff of deadlines, quality issues, safety and external influences on the business such as competition.