What can you do to improve employee work ethic?

First published on Thursday, Jun 04, 2020

Last updated on Monday, Jul 08, 2024

What’s work ethic, then? It’s the principle that hard work is of great benefit and will improve an employee’s abilities and character.

Employees help to drive a business forward, so it’s important to ensure your team has a productive approach to daily duties.

And no matter how great you think your promotion of a strong work ethic is, your staff can still suffer off days where they really don’t want to commit fully to work.

So, how can you go about ensuring your team members approach their tasks in the right frame of mind?

How can you go one step further and improve on your current standards?

In this post, we’ll explain the best approaches you can take to ensure you enjoy some genuine results.

What factors demonstrate a strong work ethic?

Okay, why is work ethic important? Well, as an employer, you’re on the lookout for staff members who get the job done.

If an employee has a productive approach to their role, they’ll often require far less management over projects. You might also hand them major tasks to complete. Or pick them for in-house promotions.

And what is good work ethic? You can expect certain traits from these employees. These include:

  • Professionalism: From following a dress code to always arriving on time, professionalism is essential to a business environment.
  • Productivity: With excellent organisation skills and the ability to complete work within a schedule, productivity shows that an employee fully commits to their work.
  • Teamwork: A big part of working in a business is collaborating with colleagues. If employees get on well with your other staff members, they’re likely to have a solid work ethic. It’s not a given, but it’s a good sign if an employee is a team player.
  • Determination: Whether it’s a task or issue that needs resolving, an employee with show initiative and skill to see out the task to the end.
  • High-quality work: All of the above, and natural talent, add together to deliver high standards of work for your business.

How to improve work ethic

If you want to build on your current business outlook, or improve disappointing current standards, how do you go about it?

If your employees aren’t giving 100%, are making niggling errors that add up, or lack efficiency, then you suffer as a business.

But there isn’t an overnight fix.

How to improve employee work ethic depends on the outlook of your business.

You also need to consider what does strong work ethic mean for your employees?

Because if you’re willing to support your staff correctly, then the rewards are there for the taking. You benefit from staff putting more effort to engage with your business.

And employees benefit from learning new skills, taking interest in their role, and enjoying contributing to your business.

A process of development helps to encourage your staff members. Some of the techniques you can use are as follows:

  • Set an example: Your managers provide authority at work. Make sure they know you expect high standards from them and how their influence reaches your employees. Skilled managers can help staff members grow personally and professionally, so utilise this opportunity to its full.
  • Set milestones: Rather than handing over seemingly vast projects, break them down into manageable tasks. If there are clear targets for employees to reach, rather than impossible sounding workloads, they’re likely to be far more committed to their work.
  • Have a recognition system: “Employee of the Month” is a bit old hat these days, but perks or bonuses for reaching KPIs is a strong way to encourage your staff to keep on refining their performance.
  • Offer training: If you provide on the job training or professional development courses to your staff, this can grow their confidence and skill set. The result? More productive employees fresh from their empowering training.
  • Refine your recruitment strategy: You can look for problematic job candidates to ensure you don’t hire employees with poor work ethic. Securing job references from former employees is one option—this will help you understand more about their approach with day-to-day work.

Organisation work ethics

As a business, you can also look to set the standard for your employees. Not just with your managers, but higher management as well right to the CEO.

You can do this in various ways. Measuring your ethics against other businesses is a good start. Look to a business you admire and the standards it sets—cherry pick the elements you want to see in your business, adapt them, and put them into practice.

It’s difficult to judge yourself against others. You need bravery to take an honest look at your infrastructure.

But if you’re able to find flows, or better processes, then they’re well worth pursuing for the greater good.

Need our help?

Are you still wondering how to build a good work ethic? You can get in touch with us today on 0800 783 2806.

Lucy Cobb

Employment Law Specialist

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