Even though we’re well past the recession of the noughties, there’s been a distinct trend of businesses cutting back on their staff, yet expecting greater productivity from their whole workforce. This, in turn, has led to many highly paid and highly skilled people working on activities that lead to no major gains for the organisation. Despite what it may feel like at times, making sure your business is running efficiently doesn’t really need to cost a lot of money. Here, we’ll go over some of the best ways to make your employees more efficient…
Match Compensation with Responsibility
This may sound like a given, but a surprising amount of business owners manage to fail at it horribly. You need to be making sure that any low-value tasks, that require less skill and experience, are delegated to reliable, yet lower-paid admin staff, whereas your highest paid people should be given the tasks that provide the most value to the organisation. This involves taking stock of all the different tasks that are needed to make your business tick, and assessing what each job is “worth” in terms of your profit margins. Even if it turns out that you need to hire someone new, their salary will be recouped by the increased productivity of your highest performers.
Get Everyone Focussed on Their Desired Outcomes
Getting everyone focussed on their departments’ desired outcomes is all about linking what your staff are spending their time doing with what the company needs them to be doing. If the big end goal of a certain department is something large and disruptive, and yet the respective staff rota is full of routine, low-value administrative tasks, does this help the department get closer to their goal? Look at every department and subsection of your business, the tasks and priorities they have in place, and how this is helping the whole business progress towards the milestones set out in your business plan. Then, form a strategy to eliminate any obstacles, and make every process more efficient from beginning to end.
Match Behavioural Styles with Skill Sets
Everyone has a behavioural style, and preferences that go along with it. For example, a person might be excellent at thinking outside the box and taking new, creative approaches to old issues. However, when they’re given a task that’s especially dictated by a lot of rules and parameters, they suddenly become disengaged with their work, and productivity suffers massively. This is a prime example of a mismatch between a person’s behavioural style and skill set. In the majority of cases, it takes too much time and stress for most employees to be truly proficient in several areas. Obviously, if your business is only just starting to take shape, your resources are going to be stretched, and you may be having to cover a lot of tasks with a relatively small workforce. If you try to push even a few of your employees towards being a Jack (or Jill) of all trades, it can seriously hinder productivity and efficiency.
Don’t Let Management Get Separated from the Front Line
Like most businesses, you probably have a scheduled annual performance review, where your upper management reviews processes, workflow, how skillsets are being put to use, and so on. This allows them to get a clear picture of all the obstacles that are in the way of greater efficiency. While having this kind of review in place is better than having nothing at all, it’s unfortunately common for upper management to get detached from what’s happening with frontline workers. Make sure the higher-ups at your business aren’t taking a “just get it done” approach, and are actually acknowledging the various issues that staff are up against. If productivity seems to be suffering, it’s important to make sure your frontline workers aren’t taking the flak for it without good reason. Sure, the people currently at the head of your organisation may have been able to shine when they were at the bottom of their career ladders, but this can depend heavily on the quality of management. While it’s great if workers show initiative, no one’s going to be able to reach their full potential without great support from the people near the top of the pyramid.
If you’ve been scrutinising your workforce, finding that targets are being missed and routine problems are popping up, try applying this advice to your organisation. Your staff dictate all kinds of outcomes for your business, and by pushing them towards greater efficiency, the whole organisation will benefit!