Productivity is top of mind for every manager. With labor costs representing more than 50% of the cost of manufacturing, increased productivity has a direct impact on the bottom line. In a shift environment, companies typically focus on areas such as minimizing lost time at shift change, optimizing plant equipment and matching staffing to the workload requirements. For office workers, efficiencies include streamlining processes, eliminating meetings and making smart choices of how to use intranets, collaboration apps and avoiding email overload.
Communication plays a critical role in employee productivity. Yet, it is often overlooked as being part of the plan to improve productivity. Keeping workers safe, informed and motivated requires a commitment to communication. The most productive companies do not treat productivity as a “siloed” project. Instead, it is considered a core value of the company and therefore a part of the culture. It isn’t something that is “figured out” behind the scenes. Rather, it needs to come to life in a way that is clear and relevant to all workers.
New communication technologies offer even more ways to make this happen. Digital signage provides a flexible one-to-many solution for effective visual communication. Used in combination with mobile apps that can target one-to-one communication and collaboration tools that enable workers to work in teams, it is highly effective at keeping all employees focused on productivity.
The secret to success for any workplace digital signage program is in the content strategy. By tying it to core business objectives, such as increased worker productivity, you can ensure that you are delivering the right messages to the right audience in order to drive the right behavior.
Getting the Fundamentals Right
Consider your audience. Think of digital signage as an advertising platform. You are marketing your messages to your target audience using visual communication to influence behavior. It starts by understanding who you need to reach and what is unique about them. This will ensure that your content in relevant.
• Shift Workers
Shift work is expanding exponentially with the demands of the global economy and our 24-hour society. While shift work can be a great way to improve productivity, it also presents unique challenges and risks. Chief among them are sleep disorders, fatigue leading to poor concentration which in turn can cause absenteeism, accidents, errors, injuries, and fatalities. Shift workers are at greater risk of chronic illness such as heart disease and gastrointestinal problems. They often feel isolated from the rest of the work force and their schedules make it difficult to attend important family events.
• Office Workers
Improving productivity among office workers poses different challenges. Desk jockeys who are glued to their computers are prone to ergonomic injuries from prolonged sitting, eye strain from focusing on a screen all day and boredom form repetitive tasks. Unnecessary meetings and the deluge of email cut into their productivity. A recent McKinsey study revealed that emails can take up nearly 28% of an employee’s time. Technology can be both friend and foe to productivity. Intranets and collaboration apps can make it easier to find information, work in teams and enlist feedback from employees.
Where are they located? Now that you’re clear on whom you are trying to reach, you need to identify where and how they work. You’ll want to maximize your employees’ chances of seeing the screens frequently. Your decision on how many screens you’ll need and where they should be located is directly related to the content that you will be playing. For example, you might need several screens in the cafeteria or break rooms playing universal content that all workers need to see. In the plant or the warehouse you may want to display specific KPIs and safety messages that are relevant only to those workers. Whereas, the type of messages that you’ll deliver to office workers will be different.
Once you define these fundamentals, you can map out a content strategy that will support your objective of improving employee productivity. Here are eight proven best practices.
8 Strategies for Increasing Employee Productivity with Workplace Digital Signage
1. Build safety awareness.
Avoiding accidents and keeping workers safe is essential to productivity. Digital signage offers an easy way to keep safety visual. Target your safety content to fit the audience: proper PPE and lockout/tag out on the plant floor, forklift safety and balanced loads in the warehouse and ergonomic tips and avoiding slips, trips and falls for office workers. Extend your safety message to life outside of work by providing helpful information that will keep workers and their families safe.
2. Share progress and results.
It has long been proven that “that which is measured improves”. Use digital signage to post KPIs that will keep everyone informed and drive specific behavior. While overall metrics such as sales goals are important for all to know, use screens in the plant to show production stats, in the warehouse to display supply chain data and in the call center to display call metrics. Use simple data visualization tools to make it clear, colorful and easy to understand
3. Keep everyone informed.
Alert, well-rested workers are less likely to make mistakes or have accidents. Provide helpful tips on exercise, stress reduction and healthy eating. If you run workshops or lunch-and-learns, use digital signage to promote these events. Let employees know where they can seek help for smoking cessation, addiction or depression.
4. Recognize people and performance.
Personal and team recognition are universal motivators. Many companies have in-house initiatives around safety, but they do not promote them effectively. Increase participation and drive results by using workplace digital signage to showcase the program and recognize the winners. Bring special projects out in the open. Recognize teams for their involvement and let everyone know why it mattered to the company’s performance. Celebrate new customers and share stories of how you won their business.
5. Show the big picture.
Disengaged workers are less productive. Understanding the context of their job – why it is important, where it fits in, what impact it has on the company as a whole, gives them a greater sense of their contribution. This is particularly important among millennials. They don’t just want to be told what to do. It’s really important for them to know how they fit in to the big picture.
6. Create competition and have some fun.
Gamification in the workplace has helped to drive results by increasing competition, motivating employees and adding some fun in the process. What are you looking to improve? Appointments in the call center, hazard reporting, and participation in a wellness challenge? Use your digital signage screens to announce the rules of the game, the goal, the time frame and the rewards. Create competition by posting rankings. Recognize top performers. Celebrate final wins and tell how it has impacted the company’s productivity.
7. Ask for feedback.
Employees are naturally more engaged and invested when they have a voice. Soliciting feedback is also an important part of measuring employee productivity. Use digital signage screens to announce and promote surveys. Post the results and show ongoing evidence of changes that have been made as a result of employees’ suggestions ̶ including recognizing individuals for a great contribution. Don’t wait for the annual employee survey. Do ongoing spot surveys that could be about anything from ideas on eliminating waste or saving time, where to have the employee party or what to name a new product. Add a QR code that employees can scan with their phones to complete a short survey or send an email.
8. Create community.
When employees feel isolated or disconnected it affects morale and productivity. This is particularly common with 3rd and 4th shift workers or those in satellite offices. Use your screens to spotlight individuals or teams. Use short video clips or PowerPoints with candid shots to share what they do and what they like to do when they are not working. Don’t forget to showcase new hires.
Don’t underestimate the power of visual communication to help drive productivity in your workforce. By implementing these best practices, you will reinforce and bring to life a culture of productivity with a workforce that is engaged, informed and motivated.