Every business owner knows that increased employee productivity equals growth to the bottom line. Seems simple, right?! Why then, when discussing employee productivity with Lumberyard owners and others with similar businesses, I often get the impression that the belief is that the only thing that can increase productivity is to optimize your Line Of Business (LOB) software package. I believe that there are multiple ways to increase productivity for all businesses, large and small, no matter the type of business or how well LOB software has already been implemented.
Let's spend a minute on the LOB software. How much time is really spent with your folks, making sure they know how to use the software, completely and efficiently? Did you read the last "update notes" that came with the last update? Do you know about any new features that may be available and have you made sure your people are using them? Continual education is the only real way to ensure that your employees are using your expensive software to it's full capacity, getting the most bang for the buck. My advice, consider putting some internal training together, your bottom line will thank you.
Streamlining and optimizing your LOB software is a good start but let's look for other ways to improve productivity.
One of the biggest robbers of productivity is the Internet. To make matters worse, it is on every device! There is a comfort level for the employee, knowing that they can hid in plain sight. No employee would grab a cup of coffee, and pull out the latest edition of the local newspaper, it's too obvious. But all too often, we find that those same employees think nothing of starting their day with a good long scroll down their latest Facebook feed, checking up on all the goings on of friends and family, or perusing their favorite online news outlet site. Heck, I've even seen employees start the day by logging on to their Fantasy Football portal and spending a good deal of time checking statistics and making changes to their roster. These activities are hard to monitor and are just accepted. Just remember that 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there add up to hours of wasted work time. Good News, as it turns out, this issue is a very easy to fix. As you IT provider, we can adjust the Content Filtering settings in your Firewall to block this type of Internet browsing, or perhaps allow it but only outside normal business hours. Surprisingly enough, we also find that sometimes just educating your employees about what is acceptable use of the Internet and what isn't is all it takes to change their behavior. Take control and get back all those wasted work hours.
Remember, time wasted like this isn't just costing you straight labor dollars, it is also robbing you of the bottom line profit you are paying those folks to generate.
An important thing to consider is that your people aren't likely to stumble across ways to save time and be more efficient with these type of applications on their own. You need to take responsibility for teaching them. At Applied Integration, we try to get a "Lunch and Learn" session in at least twice a quarter. This may not work in every situation and while we know you can't just gather all your people up in the middle of the day for a company-wide training session, there's probably a way for you to work through smaller groups or even do an after hours session every so often. Believe me, the only way to guarantee results is to take the action, making sure that education happens. Over the years, I have found that buying lunch for the group and teaching while their hands are full, keeps them focused on the lesson and less distracted.
This is just a few tech related topics on employee growth but even with just these few tips it's not tough to see how spending a little time educating your employee can have the potential to gain back any number of productive hours. Just think, those hours that your folks are wasting on Facebook or trying to read through an email storm can be spent instead taking better care of your customers and perhaps even stealing a few new ones away from your competition.