Everyone wants their business to succeed, but it’s easier said than done. The markets are often saturated, and companies are always seeking to outperform their rivals. The rapid advancement in technology brings as many challenges as solutions. Added to that, the public expects more and more for its money.
No one will be more aware of these pressures than business managers. It’s their job to ensure that the company makes money and that all the staff are being productive. There is a real need to know what the employees are doing at all times. Having said that, no one wants to be micromanaged: there’s nothing worse than doing your job and having your boss constantly looking over your shoulder. Fortunately, there are valuable strategies that can be used to improve business performance. We will discuss seven of them right now.
Harness The Power Of Software
There are a host of different products businesses can use. They can assist with everything from accounting to scheduling, project management to workflow. It can be a valuable time investment researching this, so do it regularly to stay abreast of new developments – and check out the industry news.
The advent of the smart office has enabled workers to view and edit company data from a variety of platforms, including their smartphones. Wherever they are, workers can input information, and managers can oversee it.
It’s possible for a host of company data to be fed into one master system. A manager can then view a dashboard to observe real time information. The makers of smart factory OEE software say people can harness such technology to monitor and control output. They can also respond to issues as soon as they occur. System architects are able to design programs suitable for a host of different people, including operations managers, financial controllers and plant managers.
Be Smart About Meetings
If eight people attend a one hour meeting, that is the equivalent of one member of staff having a day off. If a meeting is going to be short, it may be worth having a standing room only. This will stop people talking about other things and wasting time. Another option could be to hold a lunchtime meeting, where free sandwiches are provided for the employees.
It’s important to set the agendas in advance. Send out any documentation beforehand, so people won’t have to sit reading it during the meeting. Be clear as to who needs to attend – don’t invite the whole team if only a few people need to be there.
Try and hold the meeting when your staff are well-resourced, and all the attendees are present. This way you will have access to everyone’s input, and won’t have to waste time bringing absentees up to speed later. Don’t be afraid to interrupt people where needed. Try and get everyone’s contributions, and don’t let the meeting overrun.
Give Your Staff Clear Goals
At the start of the business year, have a team meeting. Set out the company’s objectives, and make them measurable. Everyone will need to know the timescales involved as well.
Conduct one to one meetings with each employee. They need to understand how their goals fit into the wider purpose. It’s been said that the way to eat an elephant is by taking small mouthfuls. Therefore break down the person’s objectives into manageable tasks. Be sure they are happy with what is required of them. Monitor each employee’s progress during the year, and hold half-yearly and end-of-year appraisals. Measure their success by the goals you previously provided.
This is a two-way street – it takes two to tango! Let your employees know they should speak to you whenever there is an issue. This will require you to be approachable and not to overreact, however. Let them know that there is no such thing as a silly question.
It’s also wise to harness communication software (e.g. Slack). It can be used for personal or group messaging. Members of a team or a specific project could have their own group chats. This would save people wasting their time reading messages that don’t apply to them.
Distractions can be the number one enemy of productivity. Don’t seat people by drinks machines and photocopiers where they could be interrupted by others. Keep storage cabinets in those areas instead.
Managers often have an open door policy so that they are approachable for their staff. Having said that, there are times when this is not advisable. Close the door and have a ‘do not disturb’ sign when you are fighting the clock or are discussing sensitive information.
Be Aware Of Peoples’ Strengths And Weaknesses
This is key if you are going to get the most from your staff. Some people will prefer customer engagement, whilst others will want a private office. There are people who thrive under pressure or with new challenges, and others who prefer routine. Perhaps a person who hates numbers should be kept off spreadsheets, whilst a chatterbox is put on the phones! Don’t put a square peg in a round hole, or they will be less productive.
When a manager knows their staff, they will be able to recognize their training needs. Perhaps a person needs a time management course, or something on personal organization. Create a skills profile and store it on a spreadsheet. This will help you identify areas for improvement, and any team vulnerabilities. Perhaps there is a ‘brain drain’ now that someone has left the company.
Prepare People For The Long Haul
Work is often a marathon rather than a short sprint; therefore encourage them to take regular holidays rather than to stockpile them. It’s important that people are refreshed and don’t burn out.
Try and get people to go on vacation during the slack seasons rather than the busy ones.
When a manager uses an array of different strategies, they will be more effective at maximizing work performance. The output should improve, sales should go up and the staff should be more motivated as a result.