Can You Be More Productive with the Same Resources?
30 October 2020

Staff productivity - employee performance - recruitment

Most businesses unquestioningly increase staff levels to cope with increasing workload. But before you do that, ask yourself: can we produce more with our existing resources?

Yes, you can!

Staff can be busy without being particularly productive since the amount of work they do isn’t necessarily linked to how useful the tasks are. Six hours spent on non-essential work, for example, deleting old emails has limited value. Two hours spent working towards a forthcoming deadline are much better spent.

One of the questions I always ask when I’m dealing with complaints of over work is whether the team genuinely needs more resources, or whether it should simply be working more efficiently? Are there poor performance issues?

To get that understanding, ask team members to describe the:

  • key activities each person performs as their primary job responsibilities;
  • amount of time in each week each person spends on these key activities;
  • types of activities that are above and beyond core job functions or special projects.

What are the areas on which the team is spending the most time? To increase productivity, identify opportunities to get rid of unnecessary work, reduce the volume of work, or improve productivity by working closely with your teams.


Remove Unnecessary Work

Don’t waste time doing unnecessary work. Are there any tasks that the team is doing that are no longer needed?

When a business is growing quickly, monitor what’s happening and assess whether all efforts are truly being focused on driving current business priorities.

What low-value pieces of work can be stopped or reallocated? If so, you can remove these and get the team to focus on activities that do bring the required return on time invested.


Reduce the Volume of Work

What can you do differently to reduce the volume of tasks being performed by the team?

An ongoing management challenge is finding out how to minimise the amount of time employees spend on low-value tasks that must be done, but often seem to take up an excessive amount of time. It’s not possible to remove all these tasks, but if you explore and assess the details of existing processes, you can help simplify processes that reduce these tasks. 


Push Up Productivity

What can you do to complete tasks more quickly?

Improvements in process can drive some productivity increases, but the biggest productivity improvements are often a result of automating groups of tasks. When automation and process changes are linked, the resulting impact can be substantial.

Good quality up-to-date tools will enable work to be done quickly and smoothly.

Communication is essential to a successfully run business, yet many companies don’t invest in staff communication software. A survey* of 400 companies with 100,000 employees each cited an average loss per company of $62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication to and between employees.


Get the Right Team Together

The basis for high productivity and good quality work is the right team. Take time to get your recruitment processes right and constantly prospect for the right people. It will make a huge difference to your output.

While doing more with less sounds challenging, especially when business is growing, and customer expectations are increasing, it is doable. To enable your team to do more work with the same resources, engage with your team to gain a full understanding of daily operations. This will allow the team to scale the business and meet growing customer expectations by doing more with less.

* Grossman, David, The Cost of Poor Communications, 2011

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DISCLAIMER

Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.

Copyright © 2020 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.