Productivity is often perceived as an issue with employee performance. We associate poor productivity with deficiencies in people that affect how much they are able to deliver within an allotted time. In fact, productivity is impacted by how a business structures and manages its operations. There are five areas where business leaders need to pay attention to.
- Operational framework
This includes organizational structure, processes, policies and rules. Employees perform their work according to the procedures set out for them while observing the boundaries of their roles and responsibilities. When the operational framework creates friction as a result of cumbersome handoffs, overlapping duties, or contradicting rules, employees run into a vicious cycle of battling compliance, leading to unproductive time wasted.
- Workload assignment
There is a correlation between workload and productivity. As the workload increases, productivity diminishes when the employee juggles to meet all the deadlines. Multi-tasking is counter-productive. It is difficult to focus when one has to switch gear constantly in order to manage all the tasks on hand. This also affects the quality of work. An employee might be able to handle the overwhelming workload for a short period of time. She will burn out in the long run.
Daily whirlwinds call for immediate attention. Some of the situations could be time-consuming. These distractions often present themselves as urgent matter, requiring short-term shifts in priorities. Subsequently, the completion of other work is pushed out. When these short-term shifts drag on, productivity is greatly impacted. Business leaders need to make allowance for these interruptions and have a plan to re-prioritize accordingly.
Roadblocks chew up time and build frustrations. Most of the internal roadblocks manifest themselves through the operational framework. External roadblocks are hurdles that most employees have no control over them. This is when managers and business leaders need to intervene. Otherwise, employees face a losing battle with productivity.
- Product design and delivery
The design of each product or service formulates the requirements for its production and delivery. Sub-optimal design and delivery constitute unwieldy operations affecting the productivity of the operation and certainly, the employees. This tends to be overlooked. Business leaders need to challenge their product design and the associated delivery approach.
Managers and business leaders have a lot of influence on the above areas. It is essential for them to take a closer look at how they design and organize work before laying the blame on the employees. After all, employees follow directions and rules in completing their work. They could be confronting an unnecessary productivity battle despite doing their best.