Most people agree that employee productivity is important, but there’s a lot of misinformation surrounding that fact. There are countless experts doling out advice on productivity. Sometimes, this advice is good. Other times, it’s not supported with facts.

The bottom line is to get all employees engaged in the common goals of the organization. The ability to sustain profit by supplying customers with their needs and expectations.

This certainly sounds fundamental, doesn’t it? However, generally things which sound basic aren’t always easy to achieve. Some experts claim that as much as 70% of today’s U.S. workforce don’t feel engaged.

This seems to be a conundrum. A higher percentage of companies report increasing the number of workforce teams, which typically translates into activities such as brainstorming and idea-sharing. Many believe these translate into worker engagement, but it isn’t that simple.

Companies that spend a lot of time in these and other related activities might actually suffer productivity losses due to less time performing primary work. After all, it takes more than setting aside time for workers to sit on a team. If actions are taken on the outcome (suggestions) of such activity, the company would improve their efficiency.

The answer is to find the right formula to increase productivity. Creating teams to brainstorm and share ideas is certainly part of the answer, but it takes more than that. Certainly, companies need to generate and support a culture that inspires workers to become more engaged. Data suggests that workers who feel engaged are as much as 38% more productive than those who don’t feel engaged.

How to achieve these gains depends on the culture of the organization. However, following certain principles can have significant benefits. This unordered list are the ones I’ve personally found helpful in creating an engaged team.

1. Clarity of expectation. Workers won’t be efficient if they don’t clearly know what’s expected. Workers need to know exactly what is expected, and specifically what impact their assignment will have for them and the organization. They will be able to relate their output to the bigger picture and feel ownership of what they’ve been asked to perform.

2. Match tasks and skills. Knowing the worker’s skills and behavioral styles are essential for maximizing efficiency. Not every worker can do everything. A young manufacturing supervisor found that by assigning workers to specific tasks increased productivity by as much as 30%. Some tasks require more skill, thought, sensitivity and attention to detail; therefore, by matching workers with those traits to these assignments increased energy and excitement.

Some workers struggle if assigned detail-oriented tasks. It’s not because they are poor performers or not dedicated workers, it’s simply because they don’t have the behavior style to be as efficient in some situations. Asking workers to be good at everything just isn’t logical.

Before giving a worker an assignment, ask yourself, “Is this the person best suited to perform this task?” If not, find someone else whose skills meet the needs of the task.

3. Train and develop. Training is one of the best ways to develop more productive workers so don’t reduce training efforts. Helping workers expand their skillsets will result in a more advanced and capable workforce. Without spending a lot of money, there are several ways to support employee development that include: cross training, individual coaching, courses, job shadowing, mentoring, or even just expanding their responsibilities. Offering these opportunities give workers additional skills that improve their productivity, but also prepare them for promotional opportunities.

4. Delegate. As workers receive more training, their development path can be enhanced by delegation. Give responsibilities to qualified workers, and trust that they will perform their tasks well. This gives workers the opportunity to gain or polish their skillset, confidence, and leadership experience.

5. Reward by deed. Regardless of their position, recognizing workers for a job well done makes them feel appreciated. I recall a time when I presented an intangible award to a company vice president. Her reaction was no different than other workers: one of general appreciation. (She became a strong advocate of employee recognition after her experience.)

When deciding how to reward efficient workers, make sure to: (1) match the reward with the deed and (2) make sure to take into account their individual preferences. (For example, some like public recognition while others are more private.)

6. Productive feedback. Efficiency just doesn’t happen. If people don’t realize they are inefficient there is little chance they will improve. Workers aren’t psychic. Conduct positive discussions using specific situations stressing ideas about improvements. Creating a culture of open dialogue will generate continued development over time.