Sam, since finishing school, dreamt of starting a business of his own. He systematically planned his life. His dream was to own a business. To make his dream come true, he first rented out an office space where he employed people whom he thought would help him turn his business into a success story. But it was not to be! Very soon he was deep down in debt and his dream company had to be closed.
But Billy‘s story was different. His start-up achieved success in no time. What do you think is the reason?
The answer can be surmised in just one word – Efficiency. While Billy’s business was run efficiently, Sam’s had all the ingredients for disaster.
Efficiency is inarguably one of the most commonly used terms in today’s world of cut-throat business. Even a tiny amount of inefficiency that creeps into the organizational work can cause it to tumble down like a pack of cards. Efficiency signifies a level of performance that describes a process that uses the lowest amount of inputs to create the most incredible amount of outputs.
Productivity can be defined as the quantity of work produced by a team, business, or individual while on the other hand efficiency is all about how well the resources available are used to produce that work. The focus is therefore on the quality of output.
Team Efficiency is therefore defined as the ability to achieve a common goal with little to no wastage of time, effort, and money. Seems easy, but is it so? Let’s examine.
Some Indicators of Inefficient Work Management
It’s simple. All managers need, in order to effectively manage their team’s work, is to be able to answer these six questions
No biggy, right? Easy-peasy.
But nothing can be further away from the truth! It hurts, ouch! So, allow me to explain.
Let’s take the example of Sam and Billy. While Sam found it extremely difficult to answer these questions realistically, Billy had answers to most of the above questions. And without the answers to these crucial questions, it became hard for Sam’s executives to justify resources, for his managers to prioritize and plan efficiently, and for his workers to be their most productive and creative. Hence the failure of his business.
Studies have shown that in a failed business, the work that actually gets done by the team is not the one that needs to be done! Instead, the team spends a significant portion of their day’s efforts on unproductive tasks like:
- 36% – Trying to contact customers, partners, or colleagues; gather information; or schedule team meetings
- 14% – Duplicating information (forwarding emails or phone calls) and managing unwanted communications
As a result, 50% of the average worker’s time ends up being inefficient.
Plagued by poor work management issues, managers and employees continually struggle with:
- Missing deadlines
- Budget overruns
- Reduced creativity and innovation
- Finger-pointing and blaming
- Burnt out, frustrated, and disengaged employees
What happens, then, is a ripple effect of pure chaos—confusion about work assignments, lost or neglected work requests, overburdened resources, inaccurate budgets, and incomplete or late work—you get the idea. In short, it turns into an absolute nightmare.
Some ways to improve organizational efficiency
1.Daily task list/road map. Make a list of all your goals and you can even stick it up on the wall goals. This will help you to achieve what you have dreamt. You can even hand write it. Put it on your phone. It doesn’t matter what format it’s in, but this will keep your mind focused on what needs to be done.
2.Communicate,or even better — over-communicate with your team. This may sound like such a small feat to achieve but believe me – your success (and the success of your team) depends on your ability to communicate your vision, ideas, and challenges.
3.Leader, but not a boss. This may come as a surprise to you, but great leaders aren’t great bosses. Your job is to encourage innovation and creativity and not to create unhappy and frustrated employees by constantly breathing down their backs.
4.Room to work. Studies have proved that every employee or team member works best when given an environment where they can do the things ‘their way’. Most employees tend to get frustrated when they feel that their bosses are trying to micromanage their tasks. Instead, allow ownership and create a feeling of accountability in the minds of the employees.
5.Don’t know it all! Encourage team participation and idea-sharing. This may mean a small amount of fooling around. But this is a critical part of team building and will surely lead to organizational growth – and it’s where new ideas and new approaches come from. An effective brainstorming session can go a long way in helping to come up with incredible ideas.
6.Wholesome work environment– According to a recent study, a happy working environment dramatically affects the employees’ thought processes and actions. No wonder nowadays many organizations are paying attention while designing their office interiors.
You may add a bright lighting, a comfortable furniture layout, and a maybe even
a touch of nature to your otherwise dull work environment with the help of plants and flowers.
Since the onset of covid , Work From Home (WFH) has become the new norm in today’s business culture. Therefore, companies are designing a hybrid system of work to keep in pace with the changing times. This will certainly help in creating a congenial working environment for the employees which in turn will go a long way towards improving their efficiency to a great extent.
7.Equip and empower the team: Provide the team with the best of what they need to accomplish various tasks. And most importantly, take time to provide them with the necessary skill set required to perform the assigned tasks.
8.Constructive feedback – Last but the most important on the list is to introduce a feedback process in a team. There is no hope of boosting employee efficiency if they don’t know they are being inefficient in the first place.
Therefore, performance reviews are considered essential in increasing team efficiency. When you are done with the feedback, ask them what you could do to help them improve. Maybe they would like a little more guidance on certain tasks or prefer a little more room for creative freedom. This encourages a culture of open dialogue that will make future collaborations easier.
The process of increasing team efficiency is similar to that of baking a cake where the right ingredients (team members) are needed to be gathered and put together. Empowering your teams to be at their productive best requires a well-mixed batter of different components.
To conclude, there is no single way to empower your teams to be more productive; rather, you can build the foundation of a productive environment with small and constant practices. You’ll see a huge rise in the productivity meter by providing the employees continuous support, feedback, and encouragement to revamp your team’s efficiency.