As your business grows, you need to track employees’ time, manage work schedules, control labour costs, anticipate departures, retirements, recruitment, and more. All of these decisions are part of workforce planning and each affects productivity and, ultimately, profitability in its own way.
Here are six tips on making sure you have the best people in the best places at the best times so that productivity and business growth have the greatest chance to flourish.
Plan according to your business goals
You can’t plan positive changes to your workforce without knowing what outcomes will be most beneficial to your business’s bottom line. Choose specific goals instead of broad aims. For example, to measure the productivity of employees in a warehouse, you could track metrics such as:
- The volume of items picked, packed and delivered per person-hour
- The cost incurred on the receiving process for each receiving line
- The percentage of correctly received orders against purchase orders
- The time it takes to process each receipt
- The percentage of orders picked and packed without mistakes
Find and fill gaps
Use surveys, interviews, peer feedback and customer satisfaction data to profile the available skills in your workforce and areas that are lacking. Fill the gaps through training in the form of online and internal courses, employee mentorship programmes, workshops, seminars and new hires.
For a range of paid courses spanning healthcare, IT, business, lifestyle and more, check out learndirect.com. For employees who would like to gain extra skills through small chunks of learning in the office or at home, sites like Skillshare, Khan Academy and Codeacademy can be a good choice.
Emphasise modern collaboration
The days of departments working in silos, communicating only in scheduled meetings and cumbersome email threads, are over. Better workforce collaboration means better productivity, so emphasise the sharing of perspectives and cross-team problem solving as much as possible. Digital collaboration platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams can help bridge the gap between departments and bring remote workers into the fold.
Decrease staff turnover
If staff turnover is an issue, start by pinpointing the reason. Is it seasonal (e.g. after a busy sales period), due to responsibility issues (e.g. an employee feeling there isn’t a next step for them to take), or a sign of a larger flaw in company culture, which could lead to lots of staff leaving in quick succession? Exit interviews can be a good way to diagnose the root cause of staff turnover.
To hang on to your rockstar staff, you could:
- Increase their benefits
- Offer regular praise
- Develop their skills through training
- Arrange regular social events
- Seek their involvement in higher-level operational decisions
Consider the 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule suggests that in many aspects of life, 80% of the output comes from 20% of the input. That means 20% of your staff could be responsible for 80% of your turnover. Your ratio may not be quite that extreme, but it’s worth considering. If you realise that 70% of sales come from 30% of your sales team, how can you move more of the minority into the majority? What behaviour, skills or experience do the high-performers have that the lower-performers lack?
Track the right metrics to measure workforce productivity
Try to identify at least one productivity or efficiency metric at each point in your pipeline, from the time it takes to onboard a new employee (is it decreasing or increasing?), to employee well-being, customer footfall and enquiries, sales, and order or service fulfilment. Customer satisfaction is often one of the best indicators of your workforce’s effectiveness, as it reflects all of their combined efforts in a single rating.
Another way to increase productivity is through the efficient management of workforce spending. American Express® Corporate Cards let you centrally manage your employees’ purchases and pay your suppliers with simple digital tools. You could also save on business expenses by putting Membership Rewards® points back into your business or giving employees the flexibility to redeem them individually.