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By: Jay Mittelman
Involve your employees in ways to improve your organization’s productivity. One way is to take some improvement tests with your employees and discuss the findings.
Ask your employees to “Imagine you’re self-employed. Imagine you’re a freelance writer, for example.” Then give them the following test situations and questions:
Test 1: The Need to Actually Produce Something. There are many jobs in which employees can sit around and chitchat for long periods of time and still get paid for it. Many people have jobs in which they can call in sick and get paid for it.
Freelance writers get paid nothing unless they produce. And even when they produce, their pay is determined by the quality of their work.
Question: What would happen if you were paid on this basis?
Test 2: The Importance of Frugality. The typical employee usually looks upon office supplies (pencils, paper, staples, paper clips, file folders) as being “free” for his or her use. Also consider equipment. If a computer or copier breaks down in the office, the typical employee thinks: No sweat: Call the service person.
A self-employed freelancer has to pay for supplies, as well as all repairs.
Question: What can we do to reduce the number of supplies we use? And what can we do to decrease the number of service calls we make on equipment?
Test 3: The Art of Innovation. Typical employees can go about routine job tasks or projects without needing to come up with any new, special ideas to keep their jobs.
Freelancers have to hustle and innovate all the time. In order to make money, they have to make sure they are at the right place at the right time with the right attitude and the right product.
Question: What can we do in our workplace to hustle and innovate more?
Test 4: Compulsory Customer Service and Public Relations Skills. Some employees give the brush-off to customers who are annoying. Let’s face it, certain employees in some businesses annoy some customers.
A freelancer can’t afford to turn business away, or force it away. Self-employed people learn that when they work hard to get along with each other, they produce more.
Question: Do we have the compulsory customer service and public relations skills that freelancers must have? If not, what can we do about it?
Test 5: Living with Disappointment. A freelancer has to learn to accept and rebound from rejection and disappointment. The hurt is not shared or absorbed by others in the workplace because there are no others. Quick recovery means more production.
In contrast, in many workplaces, time is wasted after disappointments because employees dwell on them. Group complaining can quickly sour an environment.
Question: What can we do in our workplace to help each other bounce back quickly from disappointment — and not mope — losing valuable production time?
Share these tests and questions with your employees. Use a discussion of this test to identify ways that your employees can model the productive behaviors of self-employed people.