Managers are often tasked with improving overall efficiency for teams made up of unique individuals, not machines. Review the symptoms and solutions below to find some very human ideas for boosting efficiency.
Low-efficiency symptom: No one seems even a little motivated to meet goals, let alone meet them with optimal efficiency.
Human diagnosis: Maybe no one understands the goals they’re working toward.
rX: Set and communicate (and communicate again and again) clear expectations and goals.
A crystal-clear end destination (clear goals with measurable objectives) should be the cornerstone of any efficiency campaign.
All too often apparent problems with efficiency turn out to be, at the core, problems with communication. People may have the capacity to work toward greater efficiency, but if they don’t know precisely what they’re working toward, their output will seem inefficient indeed.
Hot tip: Integrate the goals into annual performance reviews to further solidify their importance.
Low-efficiency symptom: We’re not getting close to meeting any of our goals.
Human diagnosis: Maybe the goals are too many or too ambitious.
rX: Swap your rose-colored glasses for some clear, pragmatic lenses.
When you’re planning work, brainstorming, and setting goals, you’re susceptible to the seductions of optimism and ambition. You’re also blind to certain, less exciting realities, including time limitations, training needs, risks, mistakes, delays, etc.
Take a good hard look at both the scope and the quantity of the goals you’re hoping to work more efficiently toward. Are they truly realistic given your team’s size, skills, and resources?
Separating the wheat (realistic and productive goals) from the chaff (overzealous nice-to-haves) will allow employees to focus on what’s really important, and focus fuels efficiency.
Low-efficiency symptom: Progress is too slow. We’re just inching along!
Human diagnosis: People don’t have the right tools and technology to achieve optimal efficiency.
rX: Survey employees to find out what tools and tech they require to be more productive.
The Ottawa University blog highlights the widespread extent of this common “efficiency” problem:
“The aforementioned Gallup poll showed that less than half of U.S. employees believe that their company provides them with the technology needed to effectively perform in their role.”
The right tech and resources are well worth the investment if they make employees feel supported and connected enough to do their best (and most efficient) work.