When revenue isn’t exceeding operating costs, there needs to be a thorough analysis of the issues that are contributing to the problem. Usually, they fall into one of three categories: workforce issues, problems with a process or bad market conditions.
During periods where the market conditions are working in your favor, the issue clearly lies within your company. It could be one major problem that’s causing a ripple effect or a number of small problems that are adding up. Below are five workforce issues to look at first if productivity or efficiency has become a problem.
(Lack of) Project Management
A project can roll out smoothly on time and on budget, or it can quickly turn into a time-wasting drain on your resources. Often it comes down to your selection of projects and how they’re managed. Projects that are rushed through the planning phase, aren’t well defined and have little oversight rarely succeed.
Adaptability also key to efficient project management. Rarely does every detail go exactly as planned during a project. Agile troubleshooting and problem solving will keep the overall project on track even when individual things get off course.
If project completion is an issue, put your managers through a six sigma green belt certification program. Or have a trainer come in to teach your managers how to identify problems and come up with workable solutions. Plan regular weekly meetings to touch base with each manager and discuss what’s being done to make progress. A little bit of accountability goes a long way in keeping projects on schedule.
Flailing Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is one of the strongest indicators of a company’s success. It measures how invested and involved employees are in their work. The higher employee engagement is the more productive and motivated a workforce tends to be.
Engaged employees are the ones who consistently put forth effort, are willing to go the extra mile and put passion into their work. Disengaged workers on the other hand show signs of being outwardly unhappy, get disgruntle with customers and dominate managers’ time with things they aren’t productive. Unfortunately, Gallup’s State of the American Workforce study found that less than a third of American workers are engaged.
If your employees seem to be phoning it in or disconnected from their work, there are a few surefire ways to increase engagement. An employee profit sharing program is one solution. However, sometimes simply giving employees more feedback and input will do the trick. An employee engagement study from 15Five found that employees who were actively disengaged received little to no feedback.
Disconnected Remote Workforce
Telecommuting to work is much more common today, and letting employees work from home can be cost effective. However, that requires careful management. Companies that are new to managing a remote workforce often make mistakes that can make it difficult to support remote workers and keep tabs on their work.
One of the most common problems is failure to loop them in on projects. Cloud-based project management software is quickly becoming a necessity. These programs allow you to set up projects, invite others to work on it, assign tasks, share files and monitor progress. Many also have built-in communication tools, which make it easy to keep everyone in the know no matter where they’re working.
Failure to Follow Established Processes
Companies go to great length to establish processes that ensure productivity, safety and quality. When workers fail to follow established procedures if can throw a wrench in the gears.
Identifying the problem can take a fair amount of time and energy. Usually, it requires having each employee document their work procedures and processes. There are software systems that can make the process easier to manage. You may also have to spend a day or two on training to ensure everyone knows the proper protocols. After the training, have employees sign a copy of the documented procedures so it’s clear they understand the proper processes that need to be followed.
Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce. As older employees retire and more Millennials graduate their numbers will continue to grow. But they’re a generation that’s had a starkly different childhood and educational experiences compared to their older counterparts.
Companies have to begin tailoring their operation to Millennials if they want to maximize their workforce. You have to understand what motivates Millennials in your industry if you want to recruit the best possible employees and retain them over the long-term. Studies have shown that Millennials respond to having professional development, leadership opportunities, access to technology and a positive corporate culture.