Property managers are constantly busy thinking about how to boost reservations and profits. One big factor that can affect the continued growth and sustainability of every property business is employee productivity.

Your employees are the backbone of your business. You need them in order to keep every aspect of your property running smoothly. When your employees are productive, there’s a good chance that your guests are happy.

But how do you approach a lack of productivity among your employees? Or, if your employees are already fairly productive, what can you do to make them even more efficient and effective in their roles?

Here are 8 ways to boost employee productivity at your property:

1. Schedule Fewer Meetings

One easy step you can take in 2018 to boost productivity across your entire team is to make it your mission to schedule less meetings. As a business owner, it’s easy to want to take the time to check in with your team on an ongoing and frequent basis, but it’s important to understand the differences between productive and unproductive meetings. Here’s how to tell the difference:

  • Unproductive meetings have no agenda.
  • Unproductive meetings happen on a recurring basis, regardless of whether they are actually needed or not.
  • Unproductive meetings have participants who attend but never need to participate.
  • Productive meetings are scheduled with an agenda, a goal, and purpose in mind.
  • Productive meetings stick to the allocated time and never start late or end late.
  • Productive meetings only include “need to know” participants, and allow other “don’t need to know” employees to continue on with their responsibilities while the meeting is happening.

When it comes to meetings, entrepreneur and author Jason Fried says it best when he writes,

“Meetings should be like salt – a spice sprinkled carefully to enhance a dish, not poured recklessly over every forkful. Too much salt destroys a dish. Too many meetings destroy morale and motivation.”

To boost employee productivity at your property now and throughout next year, try to schedule less meetings. Not sure which meetings to cut? Here are some questions you can ask when trying to determine whether a meeting should happen, and who should be invited:

  • What is the agenda of this meeting?
  • What is the purpose of this meeting? What is the intended outcome?
  • Who needs to actively participate for more than 50% of the duration of this meeting?
  • Can this meeting be reformatted into an email instead?
  • How long does this meeting need to run?
  • What is the actual “people” cost of this meeting (i.e., how much are you paying everyone to sit in the room with you when the meeting happens, and what is the sum?)
  • Are there people who can be left out of this meeting?
  • Can we avoid creating a new meeting by working this discussion into another meeting that already exists?
  • Are we meeting just to meet?

By asking yourself these questions each time you consider scheduling a meeting, you can save time and allow your employees to get back to doing what matters: serving the needs of prospective and existing guests.

2. Incentivize and Reward

Another simple way to boost productivity is by offering incentives and rewards for top-performing employees on a regular basis. To motivate your employees to go above and beyond in their roles, offer specific prizes or perks to those who meet specific, measureable, and hard-to-achieve goals that you set ahead of time.

Examples of quantifiable goals include things like:

  • Number of phone conversations in a day
  • Number of reservations booked in a week
  • Amount of money added to the business each month
  • Number of emails sent to leads in a week
  • Overtime or extra hours worked each month

In order to effectively implement this tip, you need to first understand what type of perks or rewards your team will be most interested in and motivated by. To find out, send a quick email asking for feedback from your employees. Don’t leave it open-ended—instead give them a few options to choose from.

Examples of incentives and rewards include things like:

  • Gift cards to local restaurants
  • Cash bonuses
  • Extra days off
  • Amazon gift cards
  • Big ticket items like an iPad or laptop

Pro Tip: If you really want to boost productivity within your team, try offering incentives that require the participation and success of the entire team as a whole, as opposed to incentives that target individual performance. It’s a great way to get your employees to help each other, which can ultimately elevate the skills and increase the output of your entire team at once.

3. Be Proactive About Training

If you want your employees to be productive and successful, you need to help them understand how to do their jobs well. That’s where proactive and ongoing training comes into play. As a manager, you should be taking the time to train every new employee you hire—but you should also be taking the time to continue training your existing team members whenever you have the opportunity to do so.

There are a few ways you can approach training at your property:

  • Option 1: Create standardized training documents and lessons that you can provide to individuals at different stages or milestones of their employment (ex. new hire, 30 days, 90 days, 6 months, one year).
  • Option 2: Schedule regular training sessions with your entire team once a month—remember: just make sure it has a clear purpose and intended outcome!
  • Option 3: Ask your employees for feedback about how they would like to be trained. If you notice one of your employees is not as productive in some areas as they are in others, reach out to them and see if they’d be interested in receiving more training from you or another more seasoned employee on your team. On the flip side, if an employee is doing a great job, talk with them about advancement opportunities and find out if they’d be interested in receiving any associated training that would need to happen in order to take on more responsibilities.

Being proactive about training is also a great way to build loyalty, excitement, and trust among your team.

4. Surprise and Delight (Say Thank You)

When it comes to boosting productivity and keeping your employees happy and motivated, a small thank you can go a long way. As a manager, one of the easiest ways to boost productivity among your team is to surprise and delight them whenever you feel they are working especially hard to achieve the goals you assign to them as individuals and collectively as a group.

Put plainly, your employees want to feel like they matter. They want to feel like you notice the hard work and effort they put into their jobs each day. They want to feel appreciated.

Every so often, consider doing something special for your team to just say thanks. Buy them lunch. Give them an afternoon off. Plan a holiday party and invite their families.

When your employees feel like valued members of your team, they are much more likely to continue working hard for you.

5. Lead by Example

Another great way to boost employee productivity at your property business is to lead by example. Put plainly, if your employees don’t feel like you’re working hard to drive more reservations and keep guests happy, why should they? Your employees look to you when deciding how to behave while on the job. Set the right example and work hard in your role. Show your employees that you aren’t afraid to roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty every once in awhile.

Pro Tip: If you really want to lead by example, make a habit of taking the opportunity to work alongside a different employee each week. Rotate across different departments and roles at your property—from dishwasher and pool maintenance to concierge and reservation sales. Doing so will not only allow you to lead by example, but it will also allow you to build and nurture stronger relationships with your employees over time.

6. Give Free Access to Tools

If there’s a tool out there that you think could boost productivity for your employees, give it to them for free. In the last few years, the product category of productivity apps and SaaS tools has exploded. It’s never been easier to find and adopt tools that allow you and your employees to automate tedious tasks, build better processes, and streamline execution.

As mentioned there are literally thousands of tools out there that you could be investing in and leveraging to help boost employee productivity, but here are a few worth checking out first:

  • For time tracking and accountability: Harvest
  • For individual organization: Evernote
  • For team collaboration: Google Drive or Dropbox
  • For reservation sales and marketing automation: TRACK
  • For communication from anywhere: Slack

Investing in the right productivity apps will allow your employees to allocate more time toward tasks that make you money, keep your guest happy, and keep your doors open.

7. Be Clear About Discipline

As a manager, it’s your job to make your employees aware of the consequences of ongoing poor performance. Discipline is not the easiest part of the job, but it is necessary in order to build an effective and efficient team. To help boost employee productivity at your property, develop clear policies regarding discipline, and keep your employees regularly informed and updated on those policies.

A typical discipline policy and process for employees who are struggling with performance or not meeting your expectations may look something like this:

  • Phase 1: Verbal Warning: Take the employee aside and talk to them 1-on-1 about the issues you’d like them to address. Be specific about the problems you’re observing, and the actionable steps your employee can take to alleviate the issues.
  • Phase 2: Written Warning: If no improvements are made, follow-up with a written warning describing the issues and what needs to be done to fix them.
  • Phase 3: Second Written Warning: If no improvements are made, give one final written warning addressing the issue and filling them in on what will happen if improvements are not made.
  • Phase 4: Performance Improvement Plan: If no improvements are made, present your employee with a Performance Improvement Plan that clearly outlines the exact steps that need to be taken to alleviate the problem, and the timeline they have to fix the problems.
  • Phase 5: Termination: If no improvements are made, move to terminate the employee.

Before taking any of these steps, make sure that you understand the laws regarding employee discipline and termination. If you have questions about anything along the way, consult an attorney.

8. Part Ways with Low Performers

No one likes the idea of firing an employee, but if you’ve tried everything in your power to help an individual boost productivity and performance and you’re still not seeing any improvements, it’s a necessary step that you may have to take. Getting rid of low-performers is not easy, but keeping them around too long can be toxic to the rest of your team. Do everything in your power to help your employee succeed in their role and keep their job, but if they can’t meet your expectations, part ways with them. Again, just make sure you understand very clearly the laws and employee rights that relate to termination.

As mentioned earlier in this article, your employees represent the backbone of your business. It’s up to you to ensure that you have the right people working the right jobs to ensure the future growth and sustainability of your property.

Over to You

What else are you doing to boost employee productivity at your property? Tell me in the comments below.