In every business there comes a time when if you want to keep growing, you have to recruit more people. But it can be difficult to know when you’ve reached that point.
Complaints about work overload are common. But as a manager, how do you know whether your team really needs more resources, or whether they could be working more efficiently?
To answer this question, the first thing you should do is to understand how your team spends their time. Ask the team members to explain three things:
- The key activities each person performs as their primary job responsibilities
- The amount of time in a given week each person spends on these key activities
- The types of activities that are above and beyond core job functions or special projects
Once you’ve collected this data, explore the areas on which the team is spending the most amount of time. To resolve any overload issues you will need to identify opportunities to eliminate work, reduce workload, or improve productivity by working closely with your team.
Are there tasks that the team is doing that are no longer needed?
When a business is growing fast, it is often not the first priority to really take a step back and understand if all efforts are truly being focused on driving current business priorities. But you need to make this assessment as an initial step.
What can you do differently to reduce the volume of tasks being performed by the team?
A perennial management challenge is working out how to minimise the amount of time employees spend on low-value tasks, i.e. the repetitive tasks that have to be done, but often seem to take up an inordinate amount of time. It’s not possible to eliminate all these tasks, but by probing into the details of existing processes, you can challenge the status quo and help simplify processes that reduce these tasks.
What can you do to complete tasks more quickly?
While process improvements can drive some productivity increases, the biggest productivity improvements are often a result of automating groups of tasks. When automation is coupled with process changes, the resulting impact can be substantial.
Most people are usually doing their best. Doing more with less may sound challenging, especially when business is growing and the bar for customer expectations is rising. To create more time in people’s schedules, managers need to engage with their teams to deeply understand daily operations. This will allow teams to scale the business and meet growing customer expectations by doing more with less. And if the three steps above aren’t working, managers may need to admit that it’s time to recruit more people.
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Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.
Copyright © 2019 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.
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