Achieving maximum employee efficiency is one of the biggest challenges for any business owner or manager.
Employee efficiency refers to the ability of an employee to perform his/her job effectively and efficiently. Efficiency depends upon several factors such as motivation, skills, knowledge, experience, etc.
By making your staff do the right things in the right way one can produce more with the same resources. In other words, working efficiently will inevitably lead to a better business result for lower costs.
Now if you are running a business you know how hard it can be to achieve high employee efficiency. The truth of the matter is that leading a team of people with different views and temperaments is impossible without some sort of clashes and miscommunications.
Therefore, getting everybody on a same page by making your staff work together efficiently is not a walk in the park.
Why employee efficiency is so critical
There is a long list of benefits to be gained from efficient employees. Ensuring your employees are using minimal resources to achieve maximum goals cannot go unnoticed.
Here are some of the most common benefits gained from efficient employees:
When your employees work efficiently, your operational costs decrease, which means it becomes less expensive for your business to produce your goods or services.
Lowering your operational costs and optimizing resources means you spend less on maintaining your workflow, while earning the same amount or even more.
Positive work environment
Motivated employees who are committed to giving their best get their job done efficiently. It automatically fosters a positive and energetic work environment.
If your employees have a low efficiency, it is very likely that the office atmosphere is close to that one in a morgue (which often leads to workers updating their resumes in hopes to find a better employer).
Established team trend
Engaged employees not only foster a positive environment at work but also set the tone for other co-workers. If your employees work efficiently, those who are not performing well will be encouraged to do the same.
This is where your evaluations can help a great deal too. Besides, when you have new team members join your team, you won’t have to talk about productivity standards and so on. Your team members will serve the best role model.
The muscles grow when you stretch them to your limits causing muscle protein breakdown. As a result, the process of muscle protein synthesis takes place and damaged fibers are replaced with newly formed strands.
It is very similar to how professional growth happens. When your employees work efficiently (usually it means hard work), they somewhat stretch themselves to the limits. As a result, they gain new skills and proficiencies which make them more qualified and experienced.
Efficient workers are more engaged in their responsibilities. This helps employees be more focused on achieving goals.
For companies, high engagement rates of employees means it will be easier both to retain and recruit talents. Ultimately, engaged workers will more likely help your company attain your business goals.
10 ways to improve your team efficiency
Improving the efficiency of your operations largely depends on how your team performs. Are they wasting any time? Do they use all resources? Does your team take the shortest way to achieve the desired effect? All of these questions help to evaluate how efficient your team is.
Before we dive into some practical advice on how to improve employee efficiency, there is one thing that needs to be said right away – it doesn’t happen at once. Even if you know what steps you should take, it doesn’t mean that your employees will start working more productively the next day.
It takes commitment and hard work to set up mechanisms that will eventually help you get there but it always requires patience.
1. Provide feedback on a regular basis
It is hard to overestimate the importance of a regular feedback (both positive and negative) in the life of any growing company. It doesn’t necessarily have to be you giving all of the feedback.
The key is to structure and organize your company in a way that all of your employees will be accountable and will have someone evaluating the job with the feedback.
The thing is that such valuable information from a supervisor helps to make important decisions (improving the efficiency). Big companies are so successful because they always try to find new ways how to be even more successful.
Such continuous improvement approach is based on feedback from customers, vendors, employees, etc.
This is why if you want your team to be more efficient by making better decisions, you should make sure every employee receives feedback. If you never introduce a clear feedback process, it may well be that your employees will be inefficient simply without even realizing it in the first place.
Thus, regular feedback is absolutely essential when it comes to improving your employee engagement and efficiency. Both positive and negative performance reviews can help in motivating your staff to make certain changes in regard to how they work.
Ideally, after you provide constructive criticism, you should also ask them what the company can do in order to help them improve. This way you can also gain insights into what your employees need to make their work more productive as well as encourage the culture of open communication.
2. Incentivize employees
Rewards and incentives drive employee efficiency. Multiple studies across different countries have demonstrated that by recognizing and rewarding well-performing employees business managers help them feel more appreciated.
This in turn becomes one of the key drivers of employee engagement that is closely connected to the issue of efficiency. By incentivizing your staff you actually are giving them a good reason to perform well.
Obviously, when we are talking about rewards and incentives the first thing that comes to mind is salary increase or some sort of financial bonus. However, any top manager will attest to the fact that appreciation goes far beyond money matters.
In other words, there is much more to engagement and incentives than cold cash.
Here are some ideas and suggestions you can use to help your team members feel more appreciated, and thus, more productive:
- Offer some additional paid sick leaves or extra vacation days.
- Take them out to lunch or dinner – allow leaving the work earlier if needed.
- Allow them to arrive late on Monday mornings (one-two-three-four months).
- Make sure the name of your employee (and whatever good he/she did) is mentioned during the conversation with your boss. Alternatively, when thanking your team member for the work via email, cc your boss.
- Honor them publicly so that everybody would know about one’s accomplishments.
- Send a personalized thank you note.
- Give them a better parking spot.
- Upgrade their equipment if possible.
3. Use team building activities
We live in a world where primary attention is focused on making sure the clients are happy. At the same time, business owners somewhat forget about their main asset – employees, especially when we are talking about efficiency.
Ideally, you may want to hire a person who is a team building expert. Alternatively, you can organize team building events on your own – there are tons of activities that can be found online.
When done right, such activities help your employees build trust, improve communication, boost team work, resolve conflicts quickly, etc.
Because team efficiency largely depends on what’s happening between your employees, you cannot simply ignore team building. It helps create a healthy atmosphere and make the office a happier place.
Now if your people are going to be happy, the efficiency will shoot up automatically. The great thing about team building exercises is that they allow focusing on particular aspects of goal achievement (like efficiency, communication, etc.).
Besides, it will add fun and help your people get to know each other better.
4. Use group chats
Introducing technology can significantly help your team reach the desired efficiency levels. In fact, employees often blame the lack of technology at workplace when they can’t be productive enough.
The reality is that most of employees across the entire world could be much more efficient if they had access to the latest technological advancements (particularly, productivity tools and software).
To start small, considering using group chats to make your communication more effective.
The truth of the matter is that miscommunication is crucially important for any business and efficiency of its operations. Companies can lose hundreds of thousands of dollars every year due miscommunication issues.
One simple group chat can improve communication efficiency big time. Just imagine what it would be like having no email back and forth that we all hate.
Besides, urgent issues can be resolved quickly and important questions answered in no time. The technology allows accessing messaging application across multiple devices so that people could be up-to-date regardless of their location.
5. Simplify routine tasks
All employees have routine duties that eat up valuable time. While many workers don’t pay any attention to how much time they spend on these tasks, the truth of the matter is that they all add up.
Some of these tasks are very repetitive and could be simplified either with the help of technology or process improvement. Spending a little bit of time considering which daily processes could be optimized may end up in saving a lot of opportunities for your workers.
For example, imagine your team members share systems and documents that are password protected. This means that every time they need access to a particular system they have to enter password.
Taking such extra steps often irritate employees because they have to do it every time they need to use the system. In this case, password management tool can be a great solution! This will help your workers access the files and systems they need without giving the actual password.
Such a simple step can both save your employees’ time as well as increase the security of the data. Ultimately, it will make your team members more efficient as they will be able to use this time for doing something far more important.
6. Automate time tracking
If you are thinking about improving the efficiency of your employees but still have them using time cards or time sheets to log in their working hours then you are thousand miles away from your goal.
It also means you are missing out on the productivity benefits an automated time tracking system can bring.
First and foremost, automated time tracking allows you making the lives of HRs so much easier. They won’t have to spend hours on auditing your employees’ log entries and correcting faulty logs.
Secondly, you will have your employees work more efficiently because it will be so much harder (or sometimes impossible?) to commit time theft.
Lastly, with an automated time tracking system you will be able to know how your workers are spending their work time, what tasks they prioritize, and how efficient they are. This means you can identify efficiency leaks and discover some process improvement opportunities.
Eventually, using an automated time tracking system will lead to better planning, which will increase overall efficiency.
7. Optimize payroll process
If you have never prepared payroll, then you don’t know how time-consuming as well as prone to errors this process can be. There are many things that need to be taken into consideration when doing it, to include benefits, labor laws, compliance, taxes, etc.
The viable solution is an advanced payroll system which can streamline many payroll-related tasks (making your departments function more efficiently at the same time).
Just imagine that your accountant doesn’t have to spend days on preparing payroll and addressing disputes. If you have payroll technology deployed, the system will be able to do most things for you.
Obviously, it takes time to set it up and configure things but this is a drop in the ocean compared to the time it can save for your company. Besides, optimizing your payroll process in such a way usually results in improving workplace morale.
Having a payroll technology ensures that all employees get what they worked for. Who would not want that?
8. Integrate time and attendance system with payroll system
This is a step further in regard to technology use. Successful companies do integrate time and attendance system with their payroll system in order to improve their efficiency.
This fact alone should be enough to do the same. But even if you forget about what others do or don’t do, it would make sense to have reliable time-tracking software to be tied to an accurate payroll system.
This will save human resources specialists a lot of time.
There are some companies who don’t even run any time-tracking systems. Is it wrong? No. The question is if it is efficient to have your employees work without any time-tracking and attendance control.
Although not everybody will be happy about having your time-tracking systems tied to the payroll process, it certainly is an efficient way to use your human resources.
When you merge these systems into one, there will be no need to calculate working hours and enter it into a one particular system. It will be done automatically – the data about working hours of each employee will be transferred to the payroll system which will calculate the salaries.
It is fair to everybody and efficient in terms of resources administration.
9. Train your employees
Some managers believe that reducing training hours or even cutting them off is a good way to save both time and money for the company. The rationale behind such thinking is that it is best to learn on the fly.
However, such approach can do the opposite leading your employees to being inefficient at their workplaces. The overall efficiency of operations depends on how well your team members know what to do and how to do it.
While employee training doesn’t need to be too extensive, team efficiency largely depends on how your people know the basics.
Will your employees be able to still learn on the job without any training? Sure. Will that be efficient? Probably not.
Instead of allowing your workers to figure out how to accomplish a set of tasks on their own, take some extra time to actually teach them what they need to be doing. This means that by investing a little bit in the beginning you can set yourself free from answering simple questions as well as correcting unnecessary errors along the way.
Additionally, encouraging employee development should also help improving the efficiency of your team. By having your staff participating in various courses, workshops, mentoring classes, etc. you will build an advanced workforce, which will ultimately improve their productivity and open new opportunities for your company.
10. Embrace telecommuting
Most business owners usually don’t allow their employees to work from home as they believe their workers won’t be productive enough when out of office. Who is going to be watching them after all? Is it even possible to effectively manage remote teams?
The reality, however, is the opposite – studies prove that those who work remotely (from home) are more productive than their office colleagues.
Just imagine that one of your employees is too sick to come to work. He/she can still work and be efficient but office is not an option. If you don’t allow such a worker to stay and work from home, they will likely take a sick leave and the day will be wasted altogether.
There can be hundreds of other situations when employees can’t come to the office but still can work from home. Is wasting the working day efficient?
Besides, more and more people are expected to work from home on a regular basis in the upcoming years. Therefore, progressive companies are investing money into developing strategies that will support the ability of employees to work from home.
This will allow for more flexibility as well as higher efficiency.
Employee efficiency is a worthy target the companies are after. When your team members are efficient, you will likely have a great work environment, increased employee engagement, optimized resource management, and ultimately, increased profits.
However, to have all your workers perform efficiently is no cup of tea. Because the teams always consist of individuals with different temperaments and worldviews it is really hard to make sure everybody is doing the right things in the right way.
Nevertheless, difficult doesn’t mean impossible.
Taking time to pay more attention to your employees (team building, employee development, regular feedback, incentives) as well as introducing technology into the working process (automated time tracking, optimized payroll process, group chats, telecommuting, etc.) can help you achieve the goal.
Lastly, it is not enough to know what you can do to reach your efficiency targets. It is important to be intentional and consistent when integrating all of the aforementioned solutions.
About The Author:
Having worked for 7 years as a professional writer at Prime-Resume, Roy Maclaughlin has become one of the most prominent company’s leaders today. From helping to overcome various career challenges to providing guidance in launching new career services, Roy has become instrumental in making a great difference at Prime-Resume. They have been serving job seekers for over 8 years now providing resume writing as well as other career assistance services.