Improving workplace productivity starts with technology and ends with a positive cultural shift
The debate around workplace productivity and how to measure your organisation’s effectiveness has been argued for many years, with plenty of contrasting ideas about how productivity should be defined.
In the past month, there has been a lot of discussion in the popular press suggesting that UK productivity has improved to levels not seen since the financial crisis, however the same reports also show that we’re still lagging behind other G7 nations.
With low productivity an ongoing issue for the UK economy and the financial stability of many organisations, there has been an increased focus on improving business effectiveness and measuring output accurately.
One of the biggest issues when defining productivity is finding a description that works across all industries and sectors, taking into account the different types of work and the requirements of staff.
Manufacturers will tend to measure productivity by the number of components produced or amount of stock delivered, but it can be a little less clear when looking to measure the productivity of those working in office- based roles.
For example, if it’s the responsibility of your in-house marketing team to write press releases, articles and develop ongoing strategy, then how can you accurately judge whether work is being completed productively?
It’s difficult to give an accurate estimation for how long each piece of writing should take, especially when considering variables such as the experience of the writer or the complexity of the subject matter.
A piece of work that takes your most experienced writer a couple of hours could take a junior copywriter twice the amount of time, so finding a way of measuring productivity fairly is an ongoing struggle for some businesses.
With all this considered it poses the question; Is there a way to measure people’s productivity accurately?
Of course, while it’s important to identify areas for improvement and potential procedural flaws within your organisation, it’s also counter-productive to watch your team’s every move and overwhelm them with the pressure of being under the magnifying glass.
“Instead of encouraging a culture of unlimited hours, we are showing our team the importance of ownership and accountability”
However, there is a need for successful businesses to justify the cost of its work to clients and improve the customer’s value for money, while ensuring it is charging enough to remain profitable within a highly competitive industry.
Circyl were engaged to improve productivity
It is this commitment to improving workplace productivity that motivated one of our customers to engage us given we are technology specialists with a focus on enhancing customer results and overall project effectiveness.
What our customer required was a state-of-the-art system that could accurately record the time and resources invested in different projects, allowing our business to better illustrate the commercial justification when discussing future contracts with clients.
One of the biggest issues for established and successful businesses is over- servicing, and without the detailed analysis and data to support the additional work they are providing, it is hard to show clients just how much extra time is being spent on their projects.
If you’re unable to demonstrate how your business is investing client spend, then it becomes extremely difficult for the customer to appreciate your services and acknowledge when you have gone that extra mile for them.
Our customer, a Managed IT Service Provider, expressed the desire to become more productive, so Circyl were able to design a highly efficient solution that allowed our business to carefully manage ongoing projects, ensuring all tasks were delivered within the agreed timescale and were cost-effective for all parties.
Instead of encouraging a culture of unlimited hours, we are showing our team the importance of ownership and accountability when delivering projects, illustrating the benefits of correctly quoting jobs, and hitting the targets set during the initial client forecast.
The new system allows project managers and directors to get better visibility and encourage accountability through an extremely detailed time-recording system, which gives individuals the ability to track the amount of time being spent on a certain project, with access only given to those people that are assigned to the task.
This means we are approaching future work with an improved target- driven focus – recording time spent in 15-minute intervals to provide a more precise reading that we can use to improve productivity and demonstrate the value of our time to clients.
If we’re going to become more productive as a business, then we must realise the importance of setting targets through measurement, accountability and utilisation.
How is the time being utilised? Are we extremely busy because we have assigned the wrong people to the task or do we need to revise the original contract and establish a fairer time
estimation? These are some of the key questions that our new system will help answer.
Creating the tool to enhance efficiency
Through a careful combination of Microsoft Dynamics 365, a completely new CRM system and a suite of intuitive BI Dashboards, complete with precise reporting, Circyl has developed a solution which will allow us to improve internal time expenditure and enhance business productivity.
Not only does the new system allow our business to keep track of individual projects, but it also gives us the capabilities to identify emerging trends in our work, and spot potential issues or over-servicing before it occurs.
The CRM solution we have installed allows for real-time reporting, giving us the ability to run in-depth analysis and harvest the data to deliver calculated reports and assessments that will ultimately leave us in a better position when it comes to negotiating with clients.
Not only will the new solution allow us to track our time better, but it will streamline internal processes such as manually and repeatedly chasing individuals, with personalised alerts
sent out to remind project managers and directors of impending deadlines.
The entire solution is designed to promote proactive alerting – allowing us to foresee potential issues before they occur and cause us greater problems than necessary.
Promoting a positive cultural shift
Workplace productivity can only be improved once your business has successfully instilled a positive mentality of planning, target setting and accurate measuring – without this cultural shift, technology will only take your business so far.
While our time-management and focus on productivity has always been good, the entire philosophy of our business is about pro-actively improving and exceeding the expectations of our clients.
With the help of Circyl, we believe this new solution will help us deliver better results to our clients, while allowing our business to become more efficient through the
utilisation of time, resources and talent.
Business productivity is not something that can be addressed overnight, but we’re making significant steps to improving the overall culture and effectiveness of our organisation.