The Way to Increase Productivity is Long and Engaging…
But it shouldn’t lead to employee insecurity, doubt and increased costs.
Someday someone will do a good workplace study about how much productivity is lost in the never-ending process of automating every single process that you can. Management processes can not ALL be automated, and the cost of automating even one of them can often be incalculably expensive in terms of down-time, roll-out and implementation costs and de-bugging.
Still, every industry, business model and field of commerce has an interest in increasing productivity. The shame is that this fact often gets interpreted to simply mean “more automation.” Often enough, the idea gets laid aside when the budget for automating comes to light – if it comes to light.
A more open management – workforce communications process is actually your best method to increase productivity. But before we get to actually increase productivity in your work force though, let’s look at what your workforce wants.
- More flexible working hours or conditions
- More understanding
- More opportunities for advancement
- More security
- More satisfaction
- More autonomy
That’s to name just a few things. We’re going to show you that providing more of any one of them – through more communications – will result in better satisfied, happier, more engaged and better focused employees. Ultimately – it will result in higher productivity, too.
What you need, as an employer or manager, probably looks more like this:
- Specific skills and certifications
- Compliance with whatever regulatory framework you’re working under
- A workforce that isn’t so old as to be obsolete
- Enthusiastic attendance and not too many personal issues, illnesses or other expenses
Every other condition for business success can probably be met if your workforce is willing to work with it, and with you, and with your – and their - environment. Shortages of skills drive up costs and older workers may not be will to adjust or re-train. Insecurities and over-work lead to unmotivated and demoralized workforces.
They’re simply not going to be productive enough. Our number piece of advice then, is this.
Understand Workforce Worries about Automation.
With that in mind, consider the average employee’s concerns with regard to the list above.
The fact that many workers will tell you not to change anything evaporates in light of your being able to demonstrate specific benefits that every employee receives – almost at no cost to you.
More flexible working hours or conditions? This one is a no-brainer. Give your employees more say in when and how they work and they’ll work that much harder.
More understanding? This one comes about when you free up employees to give feedback on all the processes and procedures they’re involved with. Some workplaces will even let it go on anonymously so that every employee is free to give feedback with no fear of management retribution.
More opportunities for advancement? Suddenly, you should be able to quickly judge who are the more management-minded performers. It’s one more criteria, and one that you can make pay off for your employees (bonuses? promotions? recognition?) and for your business.
More security? Similar to above. When your business is in the black, it’s because you’ve got employees who are confident they’re doing they’re best and they’re being rewarded – or at least recognized – for it.
More satisfaction? Beyond just recognition, management is able to quickly determine, based on feedback, what’s working and who’s satisfied and who’s not.
More autonomy? All of the things above can be achieved by allowing – and automating – a more open communications process. It doesn’t ever happen overnight. Often it will come at the expense of some good managers who will balk at the very idea.
We’ll return in another article to how the idea works for other business, how you can implement it, and how you can increase productivity without breaking the bank.