Improve efficiency and create a more productive company with these strategies. SKIP TO DOWNLOAD
1. First, delegate the small things so you can focus on the big things
Many business owners struggle with delegation because they are habitual doers. Even if these business owners do delegate, they micromanage the tasks, defeating the purpose of delegating altogether. To run your business more efficiently, you must delegate.
Steps to successful delegation:
- Learn your employees’ strengths and weaknesses
- Put checks and balances in place to monitor processes closely in the beginning and relax control over time
- Trust your team to accomplish their roles, and hold them accountable
“The tendency we see in small to medium businesses is the philosophy that I can do it better, faster, and easier if I do it myself rather than delegating. But at what cost? Pay someone to do the job, train them in the manner in which you want it done, and then you do what you’re good at, not the mundane delegate-able jobs.” Rosanne Dausilio, PhD of Human Technologies Global Inc.
2. Utilize technology and automate when possible
Employees can get bogged down with repetitive tasks that could likely be automated. Repetitive tasks can also leave you open to human errors. A good way to increase your business’s efficiency is to take advantage of technology and tools that were built to specifically solve problems with productivity. For example, payroll can be quite time consuming if you don’t have the right technology to handle it. By implementing payroll technology you can greatly reduce the amount of labor spent on processing information and cutting checks, all while increasing accuracy.
3. Don’t skimp on equipment
Have the right tools for the job. If you under-equip your team just to save a buck, it will cost you in the long run. Do you really want your employees spending their time struggling with lagging computers, unreliable tools, or glitchy programs? You can’t expect to increase productivity if your tools can’t keep up. Sometimes even simple upgrades can give your team more power to be productive. Take dual monitors for example. It’s a relatively small expense that can increase productivity by as much as 42% depending on the job being performed.
Reassess often to make sure that what you’re using to accomplish work is actually the best thing for the job. Even if you have great equipment, be open to evaluating new and improved tools when they present themselves. It’s important not to cling to an outdated piece of equipment or software just because it was expensive when you first bought it. It may not be what you need anymore.
4. Streamline processes and consolidate tasks
Productivity is squashed by restrictions and unneeded processes. Review your processes often and allow your employees to criticise them. By doing this, you’ll continuously refine your workflows into their most efficient versions. You should also look for opportunities to batch tasks. It’s scientifically proven that people are more productive when they focus on completing one task instead of multiple distracting activities and tasks. You can follow this strategy is by figuring out how to consolidate or batch tasks that require similar processes.
5. Create a standard for organization
Time spent looking for something that should be easily accessible is time wasted. Take stock of the details in your processes. Are there obstacles that consistently slow people down when they’re trying to get a routine task done?
Depending on your business, applying this rule can mean different things. Standardized organization for you may mean creating a file structure and naming convention that everyone agrees on and follows, to reduce the amount of time spent hunting for that one PDF. It could also mean a better layout for a common work area to allow easier access to frequently needed items or tools. Whatever it may be, work with your team to develop an organization game plan and enforce it.
6. Get regular feedback from employees
Find out what your employees think will increase production. They are the ones doing the job! Ask for their advice. You’ll create more engaged employees by allowing them to take ownership of improving productivity, and encouraging them to always think about how to improve processes. In any industry, employees have ideas on how to make it better. It’s up to you to give them the opportunity to pitch in with feedback that can be implemented to make their jobs easier and more efficient.
7. Define priorities
Without defined priorities, there’s no clear goal in mind. That makes it difficult for everyone to row in the same direction. A lot of work might get done, but it may not be the RIGHT work. By clarifying what’s important, you’ll empower your team to be more productive.
“Make sure priorities are clear and well-understood by those responsible for accomplishing them. That way, your employees will be focused on those tasks or projects that are both the most important and the most imperative to your business success. They will know what matters and where to place their time and talents. Take time at the beginning to clearly set and communicate the priorities and just watch the productivity ramp up!” -Cathleen O’Connor of The Balance Whisperer.
8. Measure performance
Without some sort of performance metrics, work expands to fill the time allotted and management has no real way of knowing if they’re actually productive or if everyone’s just “busy.” It takes work to set up the metrics, but it is worth the initial time investment. By setting production standards and measuring performance against them, you’re creating a system where your employees are accountable for hitting targets, and will be much more motivated to do so.
9. Create incentives
Give your employees some extra motivation with incentives. These incentives might be part of your compensation plan in the form of performance-based bonuses. They can also be casual and spontaneous. Even a small contest for your staff can significantly increase productivity when done right. Friendly rivalry between staff members can boost morale, too. Whatever you do, be sure the rewards you’re offering are actually helping you accomplish your business goals through a more motivated team. Your strategy should reflect your company culture and drive productivity while maintaining the quality of work.
Improving efficiency is an ongoing process, one that’s enabled by the latest technology and expertise. By streamlining processes, improving organization, defining priorities, and measuring performance, you’ll be well on your way to a more productive company.