A focused employee equals an engaged employee, which means less chance of careless mistakes being made, higher levels of output and all-around better quality of work. If you want your teams to be productive, you need to make sure that they're focused, and not just around employee performance appraisal time!
Think about it, if you have an employee who's stepping away (either physically or mentally) from their work every ten minutes, maybe to head for the water cooler or kitchen to make a coffee, going to chat to a colleague, taking a smoking break, or even just looking out of the window and daydreaming, they're obviously not focused. The result of that is that their work will suffer, and they're also likely to have an effect on their colleagues, so you end up with an even less productive team.
Making sure you have a focused and productive team should start with a general evaluation of employee performance; sometimes an employee just isn't the right fit for a role. Once you're satisfied that your employees do have the willingness and ability to always put 100% into the task at hand, you can encourage more focus and therefore better performance.
5 Ways to Keep Employees Focused
1. Have a leadership team that's motivated and motivating - The first step to making sure all employees are focused on their role and on the organization's goals is to make sure the same can be said of the upper echelons. Great leaders know how to get the most out of their employees by providing motivation and support, which they're obviously not going to be able to give if they're not motivated themselves.
2. Provide regular feedback - Too many organizations leave the feedback process to the annual employee performance appraisal, giving their employees a good reason to lose focus. You need to be consistent with feedback that lets employees know exactly how well (or not, as the case may be) they're performing, and arms them with the knowledge they can use to make any necessary improvements.
3. Get employees involved in their own progression - An evaluation of employee performance always needs to have the employee's own input if it's to be successful in boosting focus. Setting goals, targets and objectives are of course necessary, and using the employee's own suggestions for them is great for morale and engagement.
4. Show flexibility - While letting employees do whatever they want, whenever they want is likely to be a recipe for disaster. Organizations that show a bit of give and take to employees tend to see higher levels of focus and productivity. Flexible start and finish times and allowing time off at short notice are going to be appreciated among staff and keep them focused on what they're doing.
5. Encourage accountability - If teams aren't held accountable for their successes and failures, you can understand a lack of focus. After all, what does it matter to them? Encouraging a culture of accountability is a successful method of improving focus and productivity.