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7 Management Mistakes That Can Hamper Employee Productivity

9 min read   |  
Last Updated on

Productivity is all about getting more work done in fewer hours without losing quality.

But strategic thinking about productivity may become a lost art in the eCommerce world that works in a hyper-paced loop of promotions and product launches. When it comes to expanding your eCommerce business, boosting efficiency is a powerful tool.

When emphasizing the productivity culture within your eCommerce business, you need to avoid some of the common mistakes that come along the way.

This piece features some loopholes shared by top-level management that can hamper employee productivity. Avoid these mistakes at any cost to make the most out of your employee management policies.

Mistake #1: Lacking regular one-on-ones about performance

Many key management people in the eCommerce business believe that performance management is about annual performance reviews. Here, you gauge employees' contribution to business based on different indicators (KPIs), see how much they have achieved, and set goals for the next year.

As an eCommerce business, you are used to looking at the world through the prism of eCommerce metrics like AOV (average order value) and CPMs (cost per thousand impressions).

Therefore defining KPIs through one-on-one meetings should not be a problem for you. Consequently, including the productivity indicators for key personnel in your eCommerce team.

Tracking staff productivity indicators provides a baseline and real-time pulse on the productivity of your workforce. This includes catching up frequently with your team and gauging the efficiency of your processes.

Inventory Manager

This person is responsible for keeping track of items and ensuring that all the goods listed on the website are consistent with those in the warehouse.

Graphic Designer

Your website should be attractive and distraction-free. They manage logos, button placement, charts, data visualization in blog entries, etc. It is possible to set KPIs for a graphic designer based on open rates, conversion rates, and engagement metrics like (time spent, bounce rate, etc.).


In addition to writing compelling material for the company's online blog, social media pages, and press releases, your eCommerce writing team also needs to collaborate with SEO experts to improve your website's search engine rankings. For this team, your KPIs should include SEO rankings, clicks, conversion, time spent on a page, etc.

Logistics Manager

Bulk orders from suppliers are handled by a logistics manager who ensures their secure, high-quality, and timely arrival at the customer's doorstep. Here, you can factor in the delivery time, ease of delivery, customer rating, etc., to define KPIs.

Customer Support Experts

Chat, phone calls, and chatbots are various ways your eCommerce business drives customer interaction. You can set KPIs based on customer satisfaction through CSAT scores, call time, issue resolution rate, etc.

For all such key personnel in your eCommerce business, it is best to set up KPIs and review them periodically (monthly, quarterly, etc.) through performance meetings. Here, employee feedback is necessary to keep them motivated and perform with intent.

As mentioned above, this also involves listening to employees' grievances and identifying bottlenecks that hamper their productivity in carrying out key tasks. Failing to hold such two-way conversations may see you missing out on key improvement areas that can enhance employees' performance.

Mistake #2: Not setting clear expectations

A single e-commerce project will have a lot of team members working on different sides — operations, marketing, logistics, technical, etc.

When you fail to set the right goals and communicate those to your employees, it can negatively influence the team's productivity, morale, relationships, and ability to operate together.

Here, eCommerce business managers need to ensure enterprise-class technological architecture and security, agility, flexibility, and experience by setting up clear expectations for each department and, subsequently, their heads.

One of the most important responsibilities of an eCommerce business manager involves keeping track of your company's key performance indicators (KPIs) and brand objective key results (OKRs). Each team will have KPIs and the necessary resources to achieve those.

Here, the top management at eCommerce can decide if your goal is to foster an environment where people are encouraged to communicate and make decisions, solve problems, or take responsibility together.

If this is the case, make sure to share it with the rest of your team immediately so that everyone is on the same page. Use tools like Monday.com and Hibox that help monitor the performance of your employees as they adapt to your manner of doing business.

Mistake #3: Not providing the right tools

The amount of work in an eCommerce business can increase as your team grows. And therefore, not investing in tools can prove counterproductive in the longer run.

Often, your team would need various tools depending on their KPIs. Also, it is a great way to improve your departmental ROI since they drive efficiency,

The choice of tools will depend largely on your team's expected deliverables and expertise. For instance, your design team needs access to the Adobe Creative Cloud suite or relevant tools. In contrast, fulfillment teams can leverage order fulfillment tools to collaborate and perform work efficiently.

A smarter workaround involves cost-effective tools to set yourself in a crowded market without going overboard.

As top-level management, your productivity tools in an eCommerce business would fall mostly under the below-mentioned four categories:

  • Time and productivity measurement
  • Collaboration
  • Automation
  • Inventory management

You can use Hubstaff or Zoho to keep track of your employees' time and expenses.

  • Coda is a great tool for teams that use paper to manage their work. That includes your design, legal, and accounts team, who need to move the document for UI/UX sketches, contract papers, and expenses sheet, among other key documents.

  • Exit Bee can determine conversion rates as you can track how visitors interact with a website and thereby measure KPIs.

  • Kissmetrics is a robust eCommerce analytics tool that can help you better understand your consumers' behavior on your website while providing input for your content and design team to improve their deliverables.

  • Use Searchspring to link potential buyers with related items and drive the inventory and logistics team efficiency.

Mistake #4: Obstructive supervision

As someone from top management, you need to look at the junior-level executives and their managers and how they work. Being attentive to the reporting hierarchy helps identify the cause of sluggishness at work.

Here, we take a quick look at the eCommerce business hierarchy to determine who is reporting whom, thereby eliminating micromanagement.

Many managers fall short of the target because of one or more of the following reasons:

  • Insufficient time allocated for duties
  • Lack of consistency and transparency (in processes)
  • Favoritism
  • Over-supervising or under-supervising the situation

The top management may chip in their expertise and move tasks horizontally to get things done.

For instance, the acquisition team's John Doe does not know much about Display.

In this case, he can either take help from John Doe of the content team to understand UX or work with the Trading team for effective merchandising.

Identifying your teams' key tasks and bifurcating them based on their expertise can help avoid obstructive supervision. The head of eCommerce can rather work to streamline bottlenecks to bridge the knowledge gap across different teams.

Moreover, you can also create a knowledge base that they can use anytime to refer to their job functions, including related resources such as guides, handbooks, tutorials, etc.

Also, instead of top-down supervision, you can remain available for your team to listen to them. This way, you can know if there are any inconsistencies in guidance, adequate supervision, and lack of communication in the hierarchy.

Mistake #5: No delegation

Many leaders fail to delegate tasks properly, partly because of a lack of trust in employees and attachment to their ideas. This can also prove counterproductive in a modern-day workforce.

Instead, you can also make your employees understand what is change management and how you plan to shift the delegation to mid-level workers. Such a transformation with the right intent will be well-received by employees who like to move things fast with quick, confident decision-making.

As an eCommerce business, it is easier to manage the store, control the actions of subordinates, and analyze their effectiveness.

You can delegate tasks based on:

  • Strategic planning
  • Demand forecasting
  • Working with suppliers
  • Attracting customers
  • Order processing
  • Parcel delivery
  • Receiving and accounting for payments
  • Performance analysis

You can assign responsible executors for each task, whereas a successful task delegation relies on a smooth movement of information. Many eCommerce managers find this the most challenging aspect of the whole process. That's why it's important to rely on established methods of delegation and use techniques to be more efficient.

Consider implementing the SMART goal-setting technique as a great strategy for delegation objectives.

  • Specific: Delegation of tasks that is simple to grasp, communicated in a simple language, and leaving no space for loose interpretation.
  • Measurable: Providing the degree of the task execution based on quantified output.
  • Attainable: These numbers need to be realistic and achievable for the team.
  • Relevant: Knowing that the delegated task has a specific value for you translates into shop growth.
  • Time-bound: Defining time for completing tasks within the specified date.

Mistake #6: Lack of clear directions

You can define one goal for your eCommerce and actions/tasks for teams. For instance, if your goal is to quickly launch a business that could gain traction within a single region and then use it to learn and improve before going all out globally.

Top-level personnel needs to build a strategy around muscling up operations and optimizing their touchpoints.

Tech-and-design team

This team is responsible for working with the merchandise team to co-create an online shop idea and then develop iteratively. The experts here would own the customer journey from the minute they land on your site to order placement.

Everything that falls in between these two touchpoints would have this team responsible. Here, you need to direct them to carry out a list of specific tasks based on their KPIs.

The operations team

The task force would set up the warehouse, including putting together the warehouse staff and customer service staff, while also coordinating with shipping companies to build a new partnership.

They need definite directions to carry out tasks as soon as the warehouse receives an order, where a team is responsible for all of the steps leading up to the customers receiving their products.

The product-assortment team

Personnel from this team will have a direction to analyze the full product assortment.

This will be based on quantitative and qualitative criteria like "shippability" of items, especially if fragile, like glass and handmade items or perishable goods like ice cream or other food items.

They will need to get samples to photograph, measure, describe, and create online-only bundles for eCommerce sites. Carrying out such activities will allow them to identify their input requirements in the customer journey stages for finding, understanding, and choosing a product.

Managers and supervisors need to harness people-management skills that can come in handy during uncertain times. They need to act like a compass for lower-level employees and guide them in the right direction when in a dilemma.

Such an approach will cultivate a sense of belongingness amongst the employees and motivate them to give their best.

Mistake #7: Failing to acknowledge employee accomplishments

Create an environment of recognition by taking opportunities daily to recognize small successes. Even recognizing personal achievements or helping employees navigate their job duties better can drive productivity. If you do not acknowledge your employees' efforts, they will not care much about your business either.

There are several ways to recognize employees' achievements, including spot recognition. Another way is to develop a competitive incentive program, pushing everyone in the team to strive for the best.

Salary increment

One of the best ways to empower your eCommerce team is to give them a salary hike once they achieve their targets. If you have a small team, these additional expenses won't significantly impact your online store's profitability. If you have a bigger team, rewarding them with an incentive can also work wonders.

For instance, the e-store manager can get paid for several completed orders. The delivery person can get a bonus for processing most orders in less time. A marketer can expect add-on pay for a successful advertising campaign with higher conversions. For instance, if an employee has reached the target by 100%, award a 100% bonus.

Gifting your products and providing discounts

If you are already hosting a range of products on your eCommerce store, motivate your staff by gifting them the products they love. If they need highly-priced products, provide them with a subsequent discount that shows that you care for them.

In Conclusion

Of course, suppose your employees love what they do. In that case, they will naturally be more productive and take your eCommerce business to the next level. Whether encouraging workers to interact more, helping them solve problems, or promoting independent risk-taking— be there for your team by avoiding these common mistakes.

Your business's ability to recruit and retain top talent depends on how well you manage your teams. Successful management fosters employee development, creativity, and productivity.

This article is written by Hazel Raoult. Hazel is a freelance marketing writer and works with PRmention. She has 6+ years of experience in writing about business, entrepreneurship, marketing, and all things SaaS. Hazel loves to split her time between writing, editing, and hanging out with her family. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com.

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