Beware the silent productivity killer


When you hear productivity, do you think it is a process applicable only to large firms and industries with lots of manpower? Does it bring to mind lots of technology, gadgets and gizmos?

I remember learning from Nanyang Business School’s professor Wee Chow Hou; that the white collar environment is generally very productive already. We are extensive and intensive users of technology, we know how to remodel work to do more for less, we’re considered early adopters when it comes to time-saving mechanisms.

But yet, we all know that the office environment can be pretty unproductive. Why?

I’d point the blame to: poor people management.

…and here’s how to solve them:

Align your people
One of the central areas to focus on, is to align corporate objectives with your staff. But you have to do that realistically and have a real buy in. If staff don’t see what you’re trying to do, or disagree with how you do it… you’ll get everyone trying to head in a different direction. This is a waste of effort and time.

Invest in apps
Apple for example, has entire solutions to integrate phones, tablets and desktops with Cloud solutions and a wide variety of business apps. There’s a lot of collaborative apps to work on, a lot of free solutions to make access to files fast and quick. To sweeten the deal, technology has become so cheap, we don’t have to buy clunky hardware anymore.

Invest in Human Resources
Getting people to like each other takes a lot of time. But necessary. The stages of forming, norming, storming and conforming requires investment in time and money. You’ll need a smart and proactive HR manager to co-ordinate, stimulate and keep the mechanism running. Good HR will also know how to centrally locate performance appraisals so that managers can easily communicate strategies, develop objectives and use the greater visibility to move employees forward.

Virtual connections
You probably have sales teams, marketing teams, finance teams, operational teams and so on. If you can effectively connect all these teams virtually within the company, you can eliminate “corporate silos” that effectively cut off communication. Employees can utilize both technology and processes to reach out to others working on similar projects or find experts to answer their questions throughout the organization.

Motivation is a great productivity tool. If you know how to energise a worker, you’re able to harness his abilities to a maximum. Knowing what makes a staff tick is an important skill of a manager. Or you can use technology.

These are just a handful of ideas on how to get productivity kicking in the office. It’s more about people really than it is about technology. Many business people I speak with complain that staff-turnover is one of the greatest productivity killers. That’s true. Finding a staff costs money and time. Training the staff costs money and time. Getting the staff up to speed with corporate objectives and working in harmony with the rest of the company costs a lot of time…and heartache.

On his social media platforms, Richard Branson has a snippet of wisdom that goes like this: If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers.

That’s something interesting to think about eh?


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