In the early 1900s, Frederick Taylor, after observing the different levels of productivity among laborers, and the variables which affected this productivity, published his findings in a monograph titled The Principals of Scientific Management. Taylor theorized that workers were not equal in talent, education, or motivation, and these factors should be taken into consideration when assigning tasks. In his study of these laborers, he developed a scientific method of getting tasks completed in less time.
Although, Taylor’s theory had flaws, his basic foundation was sound, and can still be used to increase productivity today. Organization of time and materials, matching workers to jobs, distributing the work more evenly between lower management and line workers, and clearly defining the jobs of each, are at the core of scientific management.
Before starting a job, decide what materials are needed, choose the most efficient tools, assign workers suited for the job and have a time frame for project completion. A simple thing like using the proper tools will not only optimize time, it can result in a need for fewer employees and even make an otherwise impossible task feasible.
You really can increase employee productivity by matching the worker to the job. For example, placing a skilled worker in an unskilled job will have negative results. Lacking motivation, the skilled worker will do just enough to get by, matching his or her pace to that of unskilled coworkers. Another Taylor recommendation that increases production is to pay incentives – give employees who complete more tasks more pay.
Finally, when dealing with lower management and line workers, make sure the job of each is clearly defined. Lower management should have a hands on approach to a project. Assist when needed, but keep a formal, yet amicable relationship with line workers.