So what's important for frontline staff when SME's are focused on improving their productivity?
Well a bunch of researchers in the UK asked this very question and the results, well to me they weren't that surprising.
Operational process change - 80% very important
Employee development - 100% very important
Cultural change - 70% very important
Improved Management Information - 80% very important
This is compared to organisational change and investment in technology which both came out 60% very important.
If you were engaging your team and listening to their ideas of what is important, where would you invest your time and effort to improve productivity? The answer: process improvement. Support the team and provide training around this and develop their skills that match the role they are doing. This can be supported by using tools such as skill matrices and have this part of the weekly planning of teams. But it doesn't have to be that complicated. Just sitting down for 30 minutes and drawing a flow chart of how the team actually perform set tasks might be a great start. Learn what is actually happening versus what you think is happening.
There are many simple approaches that can make a huge impact, but it takes a lot of hard work and disciplined behaviour. By the way, that is code for leadership must understand and drive this. If you start it, you have to keep it going, this isn't a single week project. It needs to become the way you operate, how you go about your job as a leader.
With this in mind, is it all that surprising that the primary drivers of productivity is through optimising operational processes, technology, human resources and information.
It sounds simple, but a lot of work sits behind these headings. When a business starts, you will need a clear and transparent process to prioritise projects because you can't do everything right away. So where do these drivers rank? Great Question!! Lets have a further look at the stats.
On a ranking 1 (low importance) to 5 (high importance) these drivers were ranked:
1. Operational Processes (4.5)
2. Human Resources (4.5)
3. Information (4.0)
4. Technology (3.6)
What this means is that people need to know what is expected of them, clear understanding of the standards, how to do things. This is supported with having the right people doing the right jobs - or at least have a training programme in place that is building towards that goal. Everything needs to be in place that is designed around productivity needs - all based on effective, transparent decision making.
So now you know where to focus when starting to make some improvements in your productivity. It doesn't matter if you are in manufacturing, service, health or not for profit sectors these themes are consistent across all work environments. Just start today and become more productive and make more money!