Internal productivity has become quite the commodity in today’s business landscape. A recent study by the United States Department of Labor found that productivity rates are on a slow decline. This poses a huge challenge for long-term business growth.
Most entrepreneurs have their own personal methodology of conducting the day-to-day. This can make it easy to overlook the notion of having well-defined internal processes during the startup stage. However, the early stages of business are a critical time when effective workflows need to be instituted.
Strategies for Long-Term Business Productivity
Every business will have its fair share of growing pains. Navigating through rapid growth without a reliable system established is recipe for disaster. To ensure your company is built on a strong foundation of productivity from day one, here are some valuable best practices combined with the right toolsets to implement them.
1. Keep the Big Picture Transparent
This is one of the most foundational concepts of running a productive work culture. Business operations are made up of all kinds of small tasks working towards bigger goals. Clearly defining those bigger goals is what gives the smaller tasks meaning. Humans are not mindless robots. If employees are questioning why they are putting their time and effort into certain tasks, motivation will inevitably deteriorate.
Imagine you are building a house. There are no drawings, blueprints or anything that tells you what the house should look like once it’s completed. Sure, you’re installing support beams to hold something up, but you have no idea why you are placing a particular beam in a certain spot. In the process, you are wasting a huge amount of time questioning the “why.”
This concept can be translated to nearly all business operations. The key is keeping people in the loop throughout projects with a specified end result.
For this purpose, implementing a bulletproof project management system is something business owners should do as soon as they set up shop. Workzone is an incredibly useful tool built to accommodate small teams at startup stage all the way up to giant enterprises. The interface is designed to give all team members full visibility on projects with Gantt charts to supplement.
The power of properly delegating tasks with result-driven expectations cannot be underestimated. Just explaining these expectations once in a meeting does not cut it. Employees need to have transparency throughout the course of a project to ensure goals are consistently met. Implementing a tool for this will undoubtedly be the best long-term investment you will make as a business owner.
2. Make Internal Communication Instantaneous
The effectiveness of business productivity can all be traced back to communication.
About 20 years ago, email became the gold standard for professional communication. While still commonly used today, it’s not the best solution for co-workers to converse. A study conducted by CareerBuilder found that 26 percent of employees think email is a major killer of productivity.
This is due to a number of reasons. For one, people are flooded with hundreds of emails every day. In many cases, queries between employees require a swift response and should be held in the highest regard. As inboxes fill up, it becomes increasingly difficult to prioritize messages as they come in. When this is the case, it’s much easier for the finer details of projects to get lost in the shuffle or forgotten about. When there are levels of disconnect like this, productivity will certainly wane. This will only get worse as a business grows.
For this reason, owners need to give internal communication its own platform. In other words, email should be primarily used for external communication, while a more instantaneous solution is designated solely for internal discourse.
Many businesses are opting for solutions like Officechat. This instant messaging platform is compatible with desktop and mobile so employees can seamlessly exchange messages, documents, videos and more. Users can organize group messaging with delivery confirmation to ensure no messages get lost.
All communication is saved in the unlimited bank of chat history so there is a paper trail of all conversations.
Shoddy communication will kill internal productivity faster than anything else. This foundational component needs to be factored into business models before operations even begin. Efficient day-to-day communication among employees is vital for continuous productivity.
3. Embrace Change
Continuous change is one of the only aspects of business that will remain constant. Improving productivity needs to be approached with the mindset that it is an ongoing progress.
The market is constantly changing: new technology is presenting itself every day and competition is evolving. As a result, business processes must refine themselves accordingly.
In addition to analyzing the industry and status quo of the business landscape, one of the best sources for productivity improvement is the staff. Perhaps the biggest sin a business owner can commit is maintaining the mindset that he or she knows everything. In the modern workplace, the says of this top-down management style are fading in the rearview mirror. It’s becoming blatantly clear that honest, two-way communication is the best way to improve workplace productivity. After all, who knows how to improve workflows better than people who are actually involved in them?
Critically listening to employees and letting them have a say in how a company advances does more than just streamline productivity. It leads to better employee satisfaction across the board.
It can sometimes be difficult for owners to put themselves in the employees’ shoes. Fortunately, tools like Culture Amp make this process simple. This program enables owners and managers to create custom surveys that capture the employee perspective with honest input.
Understanding the day-to-day journey is critical for adapting to change. This information is crucial for identifying productivity roadblocks, as well as finding the best solutions with open communication.
Ultimately, your employees define your business’ productivity. Therefore, they should have a say in how the processes develop.
Enhancing business productivity is a process that never ceases. As a business owner, you will always feel pressure to ensure employees are equipped with the necessary means to achieve their best work and drive long-term growth. While every company has a different set of requirements, these three tips are more or less universal.
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