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Productivity – How to keep people interested at work

Productivity – How to keep people interested at workGroundhog Day – if you’re unfamiliar with the classic Bill Murray film, it’s about a man who relives the same day again and again…and again. While others around him are blissfully unaware of the cycle, he’s stuck on a never-ending wheel of repetition.

While we’re not here to talk about the film (although we recommend watching if you haven’t seen it), this ‘Groundhog Day’ feeling can be a familiar one when it comes to the workplace, especially when people aren’t engaged in their work. The result? A less productive workforce. The key is to keep people interested, and we’ve got some suggestions of how you can do this.

Treat people as…people

It might sound obvious, but there’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to people – we’re all different with varying experiences, ambitions and interests. Rather than viewing people as resources who carry out X, Y and Z, it’s important to find out who they are and what makes them ‘tick’. As recruitment specialists for the IT financial sector, we know this all too well. That’s why we invest time to work with our clients on an individual basis to understand their technology and business goals. Armed with this information, we are able to source the very best candidate(s), not only equipped with the right skills for the role, but who also share the same vision.

Remember: It’s not all about money

The 2016 Employee Outlook study by the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD)found that, of the 2,000 plus employees who took part, more than a quarter were dissatisfied with their role due to a lack of opportunities to develop their skills. Similarly, Glassdoor Economic Research, involving a survey of 221,000 Glassdoor users, reported that while salary was important, there are a number of other factors affecting employee satisfaction that employers should be aware of. These include a prosperous career path, competent team, and a positive working environment. The take-home message: For people with little or no job satisfaction, money isn’t enough in the long-term. Again, this reiterates the importance of understanding people’s experiences, ambitions and interests. At System RS, we appreciate that no two “FinTech” (financial technology) candidates are the same, each with varying priorities – a tailored approach is key. Take a look at our previous post about the importance of job satisfaction.

Value a work/life balance

‘Flexible working’ is a phrase we’re hearing more and more of. Businesses are realising the value a flexible culture has for employees, and frankly, those who aren’t seen to be accommodating employees’ needs are likely to stick out like a sore thumb. It’s a real ‘pull’ for our candidates in the IT financial sector. Understandably, the amount of flexibility will vary depending on the role. While there is a degree of compromise involved, an employer who is reasonable and listens is more likely to have a happy workforce. It shows understanding and a mutual respect.

Implement a meaningful appraisal system

By this, we’re talking far beyond a yearly box-ticking exercise with unnecessary amounts of paperwork. An appraisal system should be ongoing with regular communications between employee and manager allowing opportunities to ‘bounce’ ideas around. A lack of communication may lead to employees feeling out of touch with the business which is likely to result in a loss of interest. It’s important to ensure the employee is aware of the impact their work is having on the business and rewarding their efforts, so they feel valued. It’s equally important to have a development plan in place with clearly defined goals. This way, the employee knows what is expected of them and how they are going to approach tasks. Never underestimate what people can do given the right environment in which to flourish!

Keep it varied

Clearly, people get paid to be at work to do a job. However, people aren’t robots, and offering variety can make a big difference to employee productivity. For example, we all know it’s not healthy to sit in front of a screen all day (we should know!), so why not organise certain tasks to be carried out away from the screen? Or, if an employee works alone the majority of the time, why not create a team session to enable interaction?

Encourage input

Ultimately, the best way to find out what keeps employees interested is to go directly to the source – ask them! Whether you do this with suggestion boxes, emails or polls, it shows you’re open to change, and you never know, the responses might open up new opportunities that you wouldn’t have considered otherwise. At System RS, we’re doing this with our clients and candidates every day!


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