How to boost productivity in employees towards end of year?

As the year winds down, employees may have less to do and less drive to do it. Even if the workload remains high, the drive to get it done may be low. To keep employees humming along, focus on communication, training, and goals.


The year 2020 has not been great for list-makers and planners. While none of us can be sure what the future will bring, make sure that you’re communicating future goals and getting feedback from your employees. Poor communication reduces employee engagement.

If you want the best ideas of your employees, you must keep them in the loop. By inviting feedback, you can harness their creativity and come up with more effective paths toward company goals. Disengaged employees don’t share the good stuff with an employer who doesn’t listen.


To foster better communication, make sure that you have good communication tools in place and that you’ve everyone trained up on them. Because remote work is forcing a lot of employees to change their habits, try setting up small bursts of training each day. Whether that means practicing a new Excel skill or getting a new formatting project in another program, do what you can to keep employees curious and engaged.

As you increase training, get feedback on what skills your employees are interested in expanding. Start a book club and put out a call for suggestions. Encourage employees to write up a short review of the text they recommend and ask them to share it with the group. Avoid business books only in this club. Books on habit formation, for example, can help employees improve both work and home life. Be willing to tear open the box for book club.


Make company goals visible and celebrate milestones with gusto. Point out areas that need more support and ask for the best way to make those improvements. Consider acknowledging your employees for innovation as well as output, and don’t forget those who are always on board when things get bogged down.

Set goals for 2021, but be realistic. The uncertainty level of 2020 has a lot of people treating 2021 as one looks at a hot stove top. It could be useful, but it might also be dangerous. Coming out of the economic damage caused by the pandemic will take work, so stay flexible and be willing to revise.

Valuing Different Work Styles

Consider setting up company goals that celebrate different employee styles. Not everyone is a big idea person, which is good for any business owner. Big idea people are seldom big implementation people, and you need both to get new projects up and running and keep old projects producing.

Tool up to allow those who implement the ideas to share idea fragments. Think of a project as a giant flowchart. The idea is the top and centre, but don’t expect other ideas to come in a linear format. Instead, allow people to populate the idea chart in bubbles and bits as things come through. If you want to set a deadline, allow time for undocumented thinking on their own as well as in meetings.

Employee engagement and productivity are all about valuing the variety of ways in which people function best. Bonus for the holidays as you usually do, but skip the party and hand out gift cards. You may have been surprised that some employees prefer to skip the big holiday party. Take the best from 2020 and learn from it as 2021 comes in.

Related articles you might be interested in reading