The world is a busy place. There’s plenty of hustle and bustle going on all around your office at all times. It often seems like the more a person accomplishes, the more work finds its way to his or her desk. In this hamster wheel of workflow, efficiency is of the utmost importance, but if you’re already feeling weeded, it can be pretty tough to see the light on the other side of the tunnel of tasks.
Of course, from a business perspective, your company can’t make money if it doesn’t employ productive team members. There’s a fine balance between making sure everyone has enough work without hitting the tipping point of being overwhelmed. At the same time, “too much” work might simply be the result of inefficient marketplace practices.
So, how do you pump up productivity and turn up your marketplace’s output without taking on too much or imparting “improvements” that could ultimately backfire?
1. Streamline Workflows
Have you ever found yourself saying, “There’s got to be a better way to do this?” If you have, chances are, it’s because there is a better way. Many companies fall into a bad habit of doing things like they’ve always done them. Despite living in a world of ever-changing technological advancements and opportunities abound, it’s so easy to become complacent.
Of course, the majority of leaders aren’t living in the stone ages intentionally; they simply don’t realize they’ve developed inefficiencies over the years or now have access to automated solutions that may not have existed a few years ago.
To avoid falling into a status quo situation, take time to thoroughly review your workflow. Documentation is key. Once you’ve written down your typical activities, you’ll have the chance to analyze bottlenecks and brainstorm ways to make your marketplace flow more efficiently. Check in with this type of review regularly — perhaps quarterly or annually — to be sure you’re not missing out on new inventions that could improve output.
2. Integrate Intentional Training Programs
What’s a number one way to waste a ton of money? Hire a team of folks who have no idea what they’re supposed to be doing. Even the most diligent of employees will cause a deficit to your bottom line if you don’t train them properly. You don’t have to have a gigantic budget or a dedicated team of training personnel; you just need to be committed to the cause.
Here are some things to think about:
- Introduce New Hires. Sounds simple enough, and, really, it is. Too often, though, new hires are given a brief intro and left to fend for themselves. Proper introductions are incredibly important. They let people know who to go to when they have questions, help them understand office culture, and put faces with names so they don’t feel isolated.
- Let Them Learn. Again, it may sound silly enough, but many employers expect new hires to hit the ground running. Even the most experienced professionals are still new when they enter your organization. Show them the ropes, allow them to process the information you’re giving them, and be open for questions. You never know, a simple question from a new perspective might help you change your entire workflow such that it’s more efficient.
- Understand that Everyone Learns Differently. One of the pitfalls with out-of-the-box training programs is that they don’t account for individual learning styles. Be aware that everyone learns at their own pace and processes information differently. Once you’re on board with this concept, the rest will likely take care of itself.
3. Delve into Your Data
You can’t be better if you don’t know what’s not working. Track as much data as you can, including:
- Website Interactions: Site visits, bounce rates, follows, newsletter subscriptions
- Reviews: Knowing how your customers view you — and responding accordingly — can put you far above the competition.
- Time: You don’t need to breathe down your employees’ necks, but you do need to know how long it takes to go from Point A to Point B in your projects. Analyzing your workflow on a timeline basis can help you better price your items so your bottom line is happy when all is said and done. This task will help you identify the difference between workflow inefficiencies and overload of your current employees.
The first step to improving productivity is acknowledging that there’s always room for refinement. Congratulations! You’ve apparently crossed this task off your list because you’re already in the research phase of your process improvement journey. Although you can’t instantly improve efficiency overnight, every effort you make to enhance your marketplace’s workflow — when done correctly — will ultimately save your company money while simultaneously saving a bit of your busy employees’ sanity.