Q&A on Workplace Efficiency
Workplace efficiency is a topic that frequently comes up for business leaders. It is the type of topic that may lead to more questions before there are any answers, and those answers will always be as unique as your company.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Vanessa Dodds, CEO and President of Connections 4 Success, and ask her a few questions about workplace efficiency. Here are her answers, in her own words.
Q: When you talk about workplace efficiency, what specifically are you referring to?
A: Workplace efficiency, to me, is actual business alignment. It goes across your organizational structure, roles and responsibility, and the processes your organization uses to do business – provide services, produce products, interact with clientele and prospective clientele. It’s the entire workflow and how well that workflow operates to produce results.
Q: Why does it matter?
A: Good business efficiency automatically affects a bottom-line profit or an organizational impact or outcome. Having good efficiency means that your systems and your processes are working well, your team members are working well together, you have great handoffs, and you have the ability to work at your highest capacity in order to produce high quality products or services.
Q: How important is it for businesses/organizations to assess workplace efficiency?
A: It is very important to assess workplace efficiency because it will be the determining factor of whether your business or organization is aligning to industry trends, potentially losing money or at risk of losing profits, or potentially not providing products or services for the highest level of quality. If you’re a nonprofit, your services could potentially not be providing the best offerings to meet a need in the community. If you are a for-profit business, you might have gaps in your services or processes, creating opportunities to lose money, product or service quality, all of which would lead to an inability to grow or advance with innovation trends.
Q: What tools would they need to do an assessment?
A: A lot of places are currently utilizing project management platforms or software systems equipped with survey tools, but you don’t even have to go that intricate. A universal platform I recommend is Google Forms for surveys. Anyone can easily use google forms to design a survey, push it out to your team, and let it be anonymous so you get an honest response back from not only your senior executive level, but also your leadership, management, and main staff members. What you’re looking for is an honest perspective as to how the workflow is happening across your organization, what types of workplace efficiency are working well, what’s lacking, and what needs to be improved. By getting that honest, raw feedback, companies or organizations are able to start implementing a better process.
Q: What can Connections 4 Success do to help businesses and organizations with workplace efficiency?
A: Often, executives come to Connections 4 Success and say they don’t have time to do an assessment. They know there’s a hiccup in their entire process – in their workplace efficiency – but they don’t have time to investigate what it is, where the problems are occurring, and then look at solutions and methods of implementation. First, Connections 4 Success can come in and help with that evaluation piece. Even if the organization already did some type of assessment, I would still suggest having Connections 4 Success do a parallel assessment because a lot of people will disclose a lot of things to a third party that they might not disclose during an executive’s assessment. Second, we evaluate those to determine what’s working well and where there are gaps and needs for improvement. Finally, we build out an action plan and implementation methods for better handoffs, create standard operating procedures, and potentially tweak organizational roles and responsibilities within staff member levels so they have a better understanding and accountability of what they do. Connections 4 Success implements business alignment across your business or organization.
In addition to building those systems, we offer trainings for business efficiency. Things like time management, accountability, and project management. Our training package would preferably be ongoing training as opposed to a one-time experience to build upon skills and further implement workplace efficiency and quality. These could be quarterly or monthly – it depends on needs.
Q: Can you give me an example of a change a business or organization can make to increase or improve workplace efficiency?
A: First and foremost, have your standard operating procedures written down and not just have them in your management or leadership or executive officer’s minds. Have it written down in black and white. Ask for feedback from your team members – they potentially have some tweaks that could increase efficiency because they’re actually doing the job.
Q: What advice would you give to a business/organization who is concerned about workplace efficiency?
A: If they are concerned, I would say “Rightfully so!” Here’s why. Workplace efficiency is really a benchmark of everything that you do. If you don’t have good business efficiency, you’re not operating for sustainability for the long-term. You’re not able to operate for any innovation or advancement. Potentially, you have workplace culture that’s suffering within your organization because those hang-ups and hiccups and problems are recurring, potentially causing animosity, reduced quality, and less efficient services and products to clientele.
Q: Final Thoughts?
A: Like I said before, to me workplace efficiency is a benchmark. That’s something every company should invest in. Within the quarter prior to the to the start of every fiscal year organizations should be starting to look at and assess what their business efficiency is so they can implement improvement for that next year. That should be a precursor to any goals they would be setting for the upcoming year, because workplace efficiency is the determining factor as to how well the business or organization standard operating procedures and processes are working. This allows executives to really hone in and have it work in mechanical and methodical ways for the highest quality services and products in order to reach end goals.