5 things you can do for your productive superheros

A search on 'employee productivity' brings up over 71 million search results. To make you more productive I have painstakingly read almost half of the articles posted and summarised for your enjoyment, with a few extra stories from over the years. 

We all want to be more productive at work but sometimes the organisations that we work in, unfortunately, just mean that we can't because of the admin, bureaucracy, the lack of development, knowledge or support. In some cases, where organisations have been created to be as "efficient" as possible through rigid processes and hierarchies, it has a negative effect on employee productivity. This is because there is no room for flex or movement to allow for constantly changing market conditions or where innovation can thrive. 

 

5 . Remove  the  BAdmin

Badmin (Bad Admin) tasks slow me down. Without a doubt submitting my expenses, looking for the correct invoice code or trying to find out who will know the answer to my query is the most painful part of my day. In fact research by IDC suggest that over 90% of employees feel my pain and that internal processes are making them less productive at work. The research also states that over 9.5 hours per week are spent searching for information and over 3 hours per week are spent on asking the same questions or creating content that already exists. 

Adding on the additional time spent to the laborious 'bad admin' tasks, making this painful experience a test of endurance only adds to the frustrations. Whilst these painful administrative tasks may not simply vanish, we can make it less bad or painful for our employees by having information and the people who know the information more readily available. 

Using Enterprise Social we will be able to alleviate some of the time spent searching for the information through the introduction of the office graph which is an extension of Yammer's Enterprise Graph. Office graph will map the relationships to bring you relevant content and activity from people working on similar projects or documents from across the business to help you get work done quicker. For more details about Microsoft's Office Graph and Office 365 click here

4. Lead  by  Example

As a leader in an organisation, you'll be looked upon by the way you carry yourself and the decisions you make to take to move forward. A CEO that I have worked with in Northern Africa is leading by example using Enterprise Social to demonstrate his leadership capabilities and explain the 'why' behind his messaging. 

We've touched on the #workaloud concept and this CEO is not only demonstrating his leaderships skills by working openly on the network, but he is leading by example (actually engaging/collaborating on the network). The vision for Enterprise Social is to support the strategic objectives of the firm by enabling store workers in remote parts of Africa to collaborate better as one team. Collaboration enables productivity, and it's not to say that all the executives need to be leading by example in order to achieve that goal, but certainly, leading by example accelerates the goal across the organisation.  His goals, motives and strategy is clear, socialising his message via enterprise social is him leading by example as he realises the value of a collaborative and connected internal network. 

3. Ongoing  Training  &  Support

A lack of training and support is the most common reason people leave their jobs. A lack of training and support, results in employee perception of a lack of self worth and an inability to develop. Organisational productivity will suffer consequently too. 

Start by socialising the training that is available. In large organisations where there is a training and development program it can often be confusing or just down to a lack of communication that trainings are available to employees. 

We can start today by setting up a workspace for training and development, where training courses are socialised across the organisation or team. If there are certain budgetary issues, limiting the amount of people able to attend then those who are lucky enough to attend should share back their learnings openly so that all can benefit. I've seen this achieved in legal firms, where staff are required to partake in CPD courses, where they share back the learnings to their colleagues to ensure that all are equipped with the latest information and updates in laws and regulations. 

Creating a culture for collaborative L&D is so easy yet many organisations are failing to introduce such practices. 

2. Action  your  feedback  loops

What's the point in employee feedback if it falls on deaf ears? Whilst it may not fall on deaf ears, if feedback isn't actioned there's an equal fallacy of composition. Having been involved in the Engage4Success movement, I've come to realise that transformational leadership is required to  make this change happen. For example, simply asking employees to fill in a feedback form would be seen as a potentially a Badmin task that is a very low priority and consequently resulting in a low response rate (I've learned that this is a challenge for HR). We should be asking why is the response rate low, you'll probably find that employees don't see the value in filling out feedback forms, that their ideas however great or however many millions it will save will take years to action, if at all. 

Actioning feedback loops, no matter how big or small is important to improve productivity as it creates an engaged workforce, making employees feel like they are contributing to the future of the organisation in some way, shape, or form. Using Enterprise Social to ask for employee feedback in regular cadence with quarterly or systematic business reviews will boost employee engagement hugely and result in employee and organisational productivity. 

There are two organisations that I've worked with who have excellent examples of where leadership, culture and engagement have come together in perfect synchronisation. An FMCG organisation ran a campaign called the 'CFO's $5million challenge', which was a challenge to the organisation to crowd source collectively costs savings that would result in $5million worth of cost savings (not including redundancies or reductions in the quality of products) or cost optimisations. This campaign ran over a month and many ideas were put forward, one from a remote delivery employee, who made recommendations of how the packaging of materials in HGV lorries could optimise cost. This was then put forward to the distribution manager, who looked in to his idea and developed it further. This idea actually wasn't viable, however it did trigger another project in warehousing and packaging that ultimately did result in a bottom line cost saving. 

Another is Saudi Arabia's leading Telco, Mobily. One employee asked on the Yammer network, what is your one wish, to which another colleague in a different office replied, "I wish to be the CEO". This was surfaced to the senior leadership team where they discussed the implications and how they could make this happen. The CEO invited the employee to be the CEO for the day, he was able to hear about the strategic direction from the other members of the C-Level team and he was able to put forward his opinions. This is now an HR value proposition for employees and is helping Mobily add to the growing number of reasons why they are they best place to work in Saudi Arabia. Needless to say, employee productivity is at an all time high. 

1. Kill your News Letter

Over 78% of employees say that recognition motivates them. It's really not that hard to recognise the work that someone has done within the organisation and to be honest, I'm not suggesting that we're not recognising employee contributions, it's just the way that we do it. 

Usually these are done either in passing, face to face or via email. The problem is, is that this never goes beyond who is included in that direct communications. I visited a large chain of food outlets a few months ago and they said that one of the organisational attributes that they were most proud of was the quality of their Baristas.

With over 3000 staff in London their communications channel was that store managers would send an email to HR and comms who would then save their email in a folder and when it came to that all important moment of the month, the company newsletter, they would dig out the email and the add the success to the newsletter. That doesn't sound too bad, does it? 

The purpose of the newsletter is to inform, inspire and to pay homage to the great things that we're doing internally. But rarely is the newsletter actually read by employees and our employees are wanting to be recognised by the organisation. They just don't get to see that we're doing it. 

The downstream communications stopped at the store managers who were able to print off the newsletter and pin it in the staff room (if they had a printer in store,  a staff room or remembered). This defeats the purpose of the newsletter as sitting in a store managers inbox, it's not informing or inspiring anyone or highlighting the work of our employees. 

I explained that Enterprise Social is a way of reducing the friction to the flow of information, where information wouldn't just be transferred between mail boxes, but real people. Not only could we save time on the production of the newsletter and people having to submit stories, we would be able to provide a platform where all 3000 staff would be able to share the great work that they are doing in stores and their cool coffee art with other Baristas and their management teams. This would create an engaging network where employees are able to get the recognition they have been looking for, management get the insights, the cost of production and printing is now £0, we are able to learn from one another for constant learning and development.