Is it just me or does it seem like more employees are buying into the "work smart not hard" mantra. You are starting to hear about more and more employees doing their jobs in half of the time that it normally takes them. This increase in productivity is not a result of employer innovation but rather employee innovation.

Recenty, there have been two stories featured on Yahoo that specifically talk about employees who decided to "work smart and not hard".

Employee Improving Productivity

Case #1 - Employee Created Software To Make Job Easier

A guy who works for a collection agency is tired of searching through mountains of data to see what people still owed money. He decided to design a software program to simplify the process.  A process that normally took a month to complete now takes 15 minutes. He even created a program that allowed him to determine what time people would be home and who would most likely agree to a payment plan. His boss was very happy with his work and did not care about what he did with his free time at work.

Case #2 - Employee Outsources All Of Assignments

A software developer from a US based infrastructure company outsourced all of his projects to software developers in China for 20 percent of his six figure salary. His company eventually found out about his activities and terminated him. His company says that the termination was because the files that were used in the project were highly sensitive and it violated the security policy.

Special Note: This guy took a page straight out of Tim Ferriss's playbook "The 4-Hour Work Week". This book is a great read for anyone looking for a way to improve their efficiency and production on their job.

The Story Of A Software Developer Who Outsources His Job

Managers Should Be Happy Right?

As long as employees are not violating company security policies, managers should be happy about this right?  Employees are finding ways to increase productivity. They are getting more work done in half of the time.

In spite of all the production and profit increases, it becomes an issue with the managers when the employees are using this extra time to screw off. Instead of taking advantage of this extra time to complete extra tasks employees are surfing the internet and checking Facebook status updates.

Nevertheless, as a manager it was be idiotic for you to terminate an employee who has figured out a way to improve productivity and increase profitability. As a manager you need to put your pride aside and think about your employee as a potential asset versus a liability.

How Managers Should Deal With Employees Who Are Finding Ways To Increase Productivity?

So how should employers or managers deal with employees who are finding innovative ways to increase productivity and doing their work in half the time?

Find Out How The Employee Was Able To Increase Productivity

As a manager, instead of reprimanding these employees you should find out how they were able to increase their productivity or reduce the time it takes to do a task. You should take as much time as necessary to understand all of the details. 

Implement The Strategy Company Wide And Make It Standard Procedure For All Employees

Once you find out what methods that they have employed, if applicable, you should make it standard procedure for all employees. This way instead of having one employee increasing productivity you have several people on your staff being more productive.

Give Them More Responsibility

You can start giving the employee more responsibility or tasks. Believe or not, some people like being given more responsibility on their jobs. The added responsibility gives them a sense of pride. It makes them feel appreciated.

Promote Them Into A Management Position 

Any person who his able to recognize an issue in their job and has the desire to come up with a solution is a leader. People who come up with solutions versus excuses are the type of people you want in leadership positions.

However, there are times where people just do not want to be in a management position, so you do not want to force the employee into management. Another option would be to create a special position for them in which they will have greater responsibility but will not have to supervise any people.

Encourage All Employees To Develop New Ideas To Increase Productivity

You should recognize the employee that has come up with a new idea to increase productivity. You should also encourage all your employees to look for ways to boost productivity. You can even set up a program that awards special bonuses for employees who come up with ideas that you are able to implement in the company.

Give Them A Bonus Or Pay Raise

If an employee has figured out a way to boost productivity and increase the profits of a company, then it should be no problem giving that employee a bonus or pay raise.

What are your thoughts on this and how would you handle employees, as a manager, who are able to find out ways to improve operations and increase profits?