You've seen it in your underperforming KPIs, unmet SLAs and maybe even your bottom line — productivity is down across your workforce, and you don't know what to do about it. You know you need to act fast, but finding the right place to start can be overwhelming. 

Beyond the more pressing issue of reduced output, declining productivity can be a sign of a larger employee engagement problem, which, if left unaddressed, could result in an even more severe turnover problem down the line. To identify and address the major problem areas that could be hurting productivity on your workforce, follow these four steps. 

1. check in with management

A good place to start when facing decreased productivity is your managers. They have a close eye on the day-to-day work that drives production and may be able to share valuable insight. They may also be the source of your problem. 

  • Survey employees on the teams where you're seeing the biggest decreases in productivity to get their perspective on management.
  • If common complaints arise, address them with the manager in question and reorganize team processes. 
  • If it's more personality than process, reshuffle leadership to put managers on teams that match their working style to improve their own engagement. 

the effects of highly engaged management are contagious: their teams were found to be 59% more likely to be engaged themselves.

2. eliminate unsafe or uncomfortable working conditions

Productivity is a result of your environment. In manufacturing settings, there's the obvious question of physical safety to consider. And for offices, where immediate safety may not be as much of a day-to-day concern, there are still environmental factors that could hinder your team's ability to stay focused.

  • Take a safety assessment to see where you stand, and consult OSHA for any areas where you may be falling short.
  • Hold safety meetings to instruct staff on new best practices and ease employee concerns by demonstrating that you take safety seriously.
  • Consider employee comfort from all angles, from workplace light and temperature to the ergonomics of the items they use on a daily basis to complete tasks

70% of employee respondents to a harvard study. said having access to natural light and views enhances their performance at work.

3. improve communication

What you may have here is a failure to communicate. Between interpersonal issues that can arise between teammates to poor output as a result of unclear direction, improving how your workplace communicates can bring about the turnaround in productivity you've been looking for. 

  • Have managers set the tone by demonstrating positive communicative traits like transparency, accountability and openness to feedback.
  • Ask your team about the methods of communication they prefer. When should everyone use email or chat, and when should they schedule an in-person meeting?
  • Set guidelines about the proper channels to follow when resolving issues to eliminate any hesitancy around reaching out.

employees are almost 5x more likely to feel motivated to do their best work when they feel their voices are being heard in the workplace.

4. put people in the right places

The roles your employees fill today may be very different from the ones you originally hired them to do. If you've undergone any significant organizational restructuring or have had to weather lengthy vacancies in key positions, the responsibilities placed on their shoulders may be outside the scope of their primary strengths.

  • Conduct a skills assessment to identify misalignments between talent and task.
  • Reassign duties to optimize everyone's strengths, and put your people in the best positions to succeed. 
  • Provide upskilling or training in areas where you uncovered gaps in employee knowledge to strengthen your workforce.

employees who are put into positions where they can utilize their strengths are 8% more productive and 15% less likely to quit.

partner with a staffing firm

If you need extra assistance identifying and addressing all the areas that may be hurting productivity, or even if you just don't have the time to devote to it on your own, consider working with a staffing partner. Staffing firms can:

  • send you candidates who fit your workplace culture from day one, so you don't have to worry about productivity issues due to environment
  • provide you with the latest safety standards for your work environment, as well as current worker expectations for workplace amenities
  • develop a tailored employee engagement strategy for your business to prevent productivity from slipping again

highly engaged teams are


17% more productive


21% more profitable overall

be proactive about productivity 

Following these steps should start giving you a good idea of what may be causing productivity problems on your workforce. Or if you're looking for extra assistance, and are interested in working with a staffing partner, get in touch with us today.