The productivity of employees and the workplace is as essential to business success as breathing is to life. Productivity is vital to keeping your business alive and well. When everything is running fine, you probably don’t think about it too much. However, when large blockages or falloffs occur, operations can quickly become paralyzed.

How does a business hit its stride so that it’s operating smoothly and efficiently? What turns lousy performance into productive power?

It all begins with employee engagement. Disengaged employees draw an organization down. But engaged employees show up more frequently, stay longer and are more productive overall. Only some 32 percent of the U.S. workforce feels engaged in work. The costs of neglecting employee productivity and the underlying unhealthy company culture are steep. Disengaged employees have higher rates of absenteeism and turnover, which can drag down values.

Use these five key strategies to cultivate a culture of engagement and boost employee productivity.

  1. Concentrate on promoting clear and open communication. Effective communication is the key to success in every business. Without open communication, relationships suffer and companies fail. Managers who effectively share their expectations and objectives with their employees and invite their feedback will be rewarded with a dedicated and productive workforce.
  2. Inspire your employees with “why.” The onboarding of employees should include training in company protocols. It should also help new employees understand and become part of the company’s overall culture and values. This is how influential leaders inspire motivation and align their team toward a common goal. Communicating the purpose of the organization holds significant sway in promoting teamwork and connecting employees to an inspiring mission. When people understand why their organization exists, they’re more motivated to give their best.
  3. Keep a future-focused mindset. Focusing on the future rather than fixating on past problems shows your readiness to move forward. This doesn’t imply that you ignore any mistakes or missteps. Instead, try to deal with adverse situations positively and productively in the moment, and then move forward with the expectation that they won’t happen again.
  4. Maintain transparency about company goals and individual responsibilities. Modeling open and positive communication sets a precedent for team members at all levels and promotes transparency, open dialogue and collaboration. But sharing a vision isn’t enough. Consider holding monthly meetings in which the director, managers and staff provide updates, and the CEO presents a clear picture of the company’s status and the tasks at hand. By giving staff a forum in which to hear about and respond to the company’s objectives, and helping them better understand how their responsibilities fit into the goals of the organization, will motivate them to do their best.
  5. Offer a competitive benefits package. Companies can attract and retain high caliber employees by offering generous benefits. It’s an important way to show employees that they’re appreciated and valued. From a full health insurance package to a company-funded 401(k) savings plan to paid time off after a certain number of months, companies who offer a desirable benefits package find that they have happier, more engaged and more productive employees. At the same time, the company benefits by saving itself the time and money required in hiring and training a revolving door of new employees.

**Originally published at SmallBizClub