If you’re expecting your employees to do more with less resources, you can at least do whatever you can to ease the burden. It’s possible for them to get more work done without the burn-out from long hours, but you’ll have to make some changes first.
Think things through instead of just thinking it up. Before you implement another idea you just thought up, think it through first. Poor planning on your part destroys morale and causes productivity to plummet.
Eliminate time wasters. Have employees identify at least three ways management wastes their time and do the necessary work to fix it. Also have employees identify the top three things they do to waste time and hold them accountable for changing.
Clean up the mess. Hold a massive “clean up, throw out” campaign and declutter offices, file cabinets, computer files, and email Inboxes. Then create systems that make it easy and quick for anyone to find anything.
Teach them how to set goals and prioritize. Everyone needs to have a vision of how they see themselves and have a strategic plan for getting there. From the vision, you set goals that are big picture. Each goal needs a set of objectives that are specific and measurable. And few things get done without an action plan for reaching the objectives.
Streamline processes and bureaucracy with insider ideas. Implement a suggestion plan for all employees to improve processes and procedures. Then reward (with a cash percentage of the savings) and publicize the ideas from individuals or teams that work.
Invest in training regardless of the job. Don’t expect people to already have all the necessary skills they need. Offer training, from email software to management styles. With the right training, they’ll finish the work quicker with fewer mistakes.
Reduce time spent in meetings. Have meetings standing up, right before lunch, or near the end of the workday. Publish an agenda that includes an objective, start it on time, close all PDAs, stay on schedule, and end on time. When it’s over, ask if the meeting’s objective was met and hold people accountable.
Change your email culture. Too many people are drowning in email due to bad habits. Change habits such as replying to all unnecessarily, using the Inbox for storage with hundreds or thousands of messages, sending messages that don’t match the subject line, and flooding Inboxes instead of picking up the phone.
Communicate clearly. Before you delegate a task, make sure you have a clear understanding of what you want to happen. You’ll want to give an overview with the purpose, explain the specifics, be clear about the result, and empower the employee to make decisions. Eliminating inefficiencies in your organization gives people more time to think. And when they start thinking, they’ll develop smarter ways to work. And when they start working smarter, you, your organization, and your members will reap the benefits.
I hope you’ll schedule some time on your calendar to think about all this, develop a plan for getting it done, then do it.