6 Strategies to Help Raise Productivity During a Hiring Freeze

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Two workers at recycling plantThis is the second part of the article: 4 Strategies To Maintain Productivity During a Hiring Freeze. In that first article we looked at the fact that even though US companies had experienced hiring freezes and slow growth in new jobs, they still managed to increase profitability and productivity during the period.

In that first article we acknowledge the possible loss of morale that can be associated with a hiring freeze and looked at ways company’s could combat this and maintain productivity. In this article, we look at the steps that firms can take to actually raise morale and productivity during a hiring freeze.

1.) Managers should meet with staff individually to find out what their chief motivators are.

For example, is there a certain type of work that an employee would like to do more of? Will this employee be much more motivated and engaged doing this work/role – and ultimately more productive? If so, try and optimize your staff by redeploying staff in whole or in part into areas that they are enthused by.

And, also are there staff who are facing obstacles that are beyond their control which can easily be solved by a small managerial intervention. Maybe they are struggling with old hardware or software and an upgrade will enable them to work faster and provide a net gain for the business.

2.) Encourage creativity and innovation

Innovation is widely recognized as the key component of productivity, so the company looking to raise productivity during a hiring freeze must at some point take a step back and look and see if stagnant, stale inefficient processes can be replaced with innovative interventions that raise efficiency and productivity levels. Hold brainstorming sessions or use social media idea generation tools to encourage employees to put forward new ideas that can help to improve business processes, customer satisfaction, reduce time to market. Create a safe environment where employees feel able to put forward any ideas and where they will not be criticized or ridiculed for saying something off the wall.

3.) Set up an innovation task force

Create an innovation task force which could be composed from some people from step 5 who have expressed a love of process re-engineering. This team will set soft goals or be challenged to increase efficiency in certain areas of the business by implementing the best ideas that came out of the idea generation processes. They will be required to measure the effectiveness of the change and report back any efficiency gains to the business.

4.) Bring in a staff recognition program

If you haven’t done so already, bring in a staff recognition scheme. If you already have one, then check that it is being used by all managers and perhaps increase the frequency of recognition and enhance the level of awards, e.g. double the value of gift vouchers awards for employee of the month. This is an excellent and inexpensive way to recognize the achievements and the extra mile that staff are going to help the business during the difficult period.

5.) Introduce a profit share bonus

Consider introducing a bonus, which is based on giving employees a share of any increased profit that is achieved during the hiring period as a result of the employees incremental efforts. This will help to motivate staff.

6.) Introduce telecommuting

Consider introducing telecommuting where possible and where the employee can prove they will be more efficient or productive. For example, the employee may agree to spend half of their normal transit time working which will at least increase their output.

I’d be keen to hear any thoughts you may have on how to raise productivity during a hiring freeze.

Read more in Recruiter Motivation

Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.