Getting a bad report card is never good - it wasn’t fun in Grade 4, or Grade 12, and it certainly isn’t today.
The latest statistics regarding productivity growth in sunny SA is equal to the kind of report card that would have gotten your TV privileges revoked for a month if you brought it home to your mom in grade school.
Here’s the deal..South Africa's labour productivity dropped by 0.14 % year on year in September 2019, compared with a growth of 0.74 % in the previous quarter.
Labour growth data is updated quarterly, based on real GDP and employment statistics. No matter how you slice it, this is not good.
Sure, you can argue that if we want growth, employment and productivity to enable socio-economic development and competitiveness, we require more responsive government and effective collaboration among labour, government, the private sector and civil society.
However, as HR professionals and operations managers, we can also start to address the issue on a more practical level.
Here are 7 practical ways to improve employee efficiency at your company today:
1. Match skills to responsibilities
Albert Einstein famously wrote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” If you want to provide your employees with the opportunity to grow in the roles and become increasingly efficient, make sure that you are matching their skills to their responsibilities.
E.g your extroverted, quick-on-their-feet thinker would be fantastic at pitching ideas to clients, but they may not be so hot at taking care of super detail-orientated tasks. We all like to describe ourselves as all-rounders in business interviews, but the truth of the matter is that we all have our strong suits.
In short - play to your employees' strengths.
2. Make goals clear and focussed
Working efficiently is much simpler if you know what you're shooting for. Start by giving your employees defined goals that they can aim for by narrowing down their tasks and giving them clear instructions. When someone knows exactly what you expect, they can take SMART action - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
3. Shine a spotlight on the good stuff
We all know the parable of the carrot and the stick, and although it’s often easier to reach for a proverbial stick than it is to carry around a bag of enticing carrots, it’s just not as effective in moulding the kind of behaviour that you want to see among an efficient workforce.
Fear may keep people in line, but feeling involved and recognised gets them inspired. By recognising and rewarding the kind of behaviour that aligns with your company vision and purpose, you are laying the groundwork for a happy, healthy company culture that fosters incredible efficiency.
4. Clear out the clutter
How much of your workforce's time is taken up by smallish, slightly unnecessary perfunctory tasks?
Sit down with your team and ask them to point out any time suckers they encounter daily.
You may find that those mandatory daily reports to their supervisor are never actually read due to a managerial time crunch, and that it could be handled in a matter of minutes by having a short and sweet status meeting at the start of every day. Find ways to streamline the routine in order to free up focus for larger, more pressing projects and goals.
5. Invest in training and development
Capable people are efficient people. Training and developing your team may cost time and money, but when you teach a man to fish you’ll be spending a whole lot less of your own time untangling their metaphorical fishing line and cleaning up spilt bait.
Invest in upskilling opportunities when you notice a glaring skills gap. Naturally, learning on the job is also a valid technique, but if you wish employees to accomplish their tasks efficiently, their superiors should take the time to teach them the necessary skills before they take off the training wheels.
6. Explore new tools
We live in the glorious age of technology, and there are so many wonderful tools out there that can streamline things in the workplace. Try out file-sharing programs, instant messaging platforms and mobile recognition apps - it may take a little time to find the perfect tech bouquet for your business, but by embracing the future of work, you’ll ensure greater productivity in the long run.
7. Feedback, feedback, feedback
People can’t improve if they don’t know they need to improve in the first place. Make ongoing feedback a part of your company culture. Open those lines of communication - give credit where credit is due, address issues that crop up immediately, and provide your employees with the backup they require to pull up their socks if necessary.
There you have it - 7 practical ways to boost employee efficiency at your business, starting today.
Start by implementing one of these strategies and see what a big difference it makes in overall employee productivity.
In the meantime, you may also want to take a gander at our awesome SaaS-based employee recognition platform that has been developed to make the recognition-and-reward process a walk in the park.
bountiXP slots in seamlessly with your existing processes and has yielded exceptional employee efficiency results for a wide variety of businesses, both locally and further afield. Best of all? We’re going to let you take it for a spin for FREE. Simply click the button below to get started right away 👇.