On the surface, things seem to be running smoothly in your company but on a closer look, you might notice that all is not well. Meetings that once felt useful and productive now drag for hours, and many projects get delayed beyond their deadlines.
In reality, your company could be like a wheel turning in the mud, and things are getting harder to get done by the day. How can you fix these kinds of issues so that in 2020 you can get the traction back? You’ll need to focus on improving the efficiency of your business.
Solidify your areas of improvement list for next year by including these 9 important elements on it.
- Encourage Face-To-Face Chat Among Your Employees
While using quick chat messages or emails by your employees might seem like the most efficient ways of getting quick responses, oftentimes they have the opposite effect, as they may result is back-and-forth exchanges that could otherwise be sorted out by a quick face-to-face interaction.
Google Chat, Skype, and other online communication tools are essential when shooting over quick messages among employees. However, face-to-face interaction speeds up the problem-solving process by getting something important clarified or answering some complex questions in detail.
This doesn’t mean the online communication tools should be eliminated. They also have their place in an organization. It’s upon you to come up with a balanced way of using face-to-face interactions and online tools.
- Use a Task Management Software
Task management software works better than other online tools like emails. These products encourage collaboration so that employees can work from anywhere and have all the data they need at their disposal.
A task management software can help all your employees to track progress, work together more efficiently, and stay on task.
- Limiting Interruptions Is Part of Areas of Improvement List
Many interruptions in the workplace lower productivity and efficiency. You can’t pack so many activities in a day and expect your employees to still perform optimally. A departmental meeting at 9 am, staff meeting at 11 am, lunch at noon, another meeting in the afternoon, etc, might be too much for your employees.
More often than not, people don’t concentrate much on their duties if there’s an upcoming meeting to be attended. Other interruptions can come in the form of chat message pop-ups, email alerts, notifications from project management software, etc.
Try to limit all these as much as possible.
- Hold a 10-Minute Company Meeting Daily
Instead of having so many meetings in a day, you can have only one brief meeting every morning before your employees settle on their working desks or go to the field. These daily meetings can be used to keep everyone in the loop to reduce the frequent interruptions in the day.
These meetings can be used to pass information, distribute duties, celebrate achievements, identify opportunities, give brief departmental reports, or give instructions. Stick to 10 minutes or less.
- Automate Whatever Tasks You Can
Machines don’t get fatigued and they aren’t prone to errors like human beings. Letting machines do most of the work in the company will improve efficiency and even reduce costs. Whether it be sending receipts to vendors or sending out payslips to employees, automate whatever you can.
Automation frees your employees so they can focus more on productive tasks that require human touch or critical thinking. Automating autonomous tasks isn’t just a luxury, it is a basic need to boost your business.
- Know When to Stop
While automation is important in an organization, not all processes can or should be automated. Efficiency is important but you should know where to draw a line. Focusing too much on efficiency can compromise growth, which is what matters most in a business.
Business growth is boosted by customer service, brand promotion, quality products, etc. All these need human input. So as you put effort into automation, don’t let it overshadow other goals.
- Single-Task to Get More Done
Many people do multi-task, but this doesn’t mean they are more productive. In fact, multitasking can hurt productivity. That’s why many companies ensure that they complete one project before they move on to the next one.
Even at a personal level, your employees need to concentrate on one task at a time. So, you need to strengthen the areas of improvement list by resolving to promote single-tasking as from 2020.
- Stick with the Established Process
Once you have an ongoing project, don’t try to speed up things so you can jump on to the next one. This may result in you cutting corners thus compromising on quality.
Stick to the company’s established rules of executing projects to their completion. Not only will this result in high-quality work but it will also bring a sense of discipline in the company.
Changing a process should only be done as a result of a change in company policy and not just on the whim.
- Promote a Culture of Open Communication
Open communication can go a long way in promoting a sense of belonging among your employees. If you allow your employees to voice their concerns freely without victimization, they will always give their best, especially when the issues they raise get acted upon.
Encourage ideas, feedback, and communication between individual employees and departments.
Areas of Improvement List Include Looking Beyond Yourself
Your business is not all about you and your personal preferences. Your business can’t exist without your employees, suppliers, and most importantly, your customers. Your brand image should address the needs of your target audience, not your needs.
Note that your website isn’t the only communication channel to your customers and prospects. Every single person you interact with, including your employees and your satisfied clients, are your brand ambassadors.
Given this, treating everyone with dignity and hiring carefully should find a slot in your areas of improvement list. Make sure every employee knows how you operate, what you stand for, and what kind of customer experience you want to be delivered.
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