“We need less staff,” said no one ever. But why don’t we say that? Why don’t we look at our systems, processes and performance, and ask whether we have the right amount of staff?
Research tells us that we waste 30% of our working day. Our time is eaten up by inefficient systems, process and people. It’s an alarming fact that many businesses have staff who aren’t as competent and capable as they should be.
Business owners and leaders also waste a lot of time micromanaging their staff and doing things they shouldn’t be doing. Have a look at what you do. What could you stop, start, keep or do differently? Who could you delegate work to? Take the time to review your systems and processes, and think about who needs to be upskilled or managed out.
Many business owners are leaning their organisations. Generally, lean is a business term that means to increase customer value using fewer resources. It’s also about respecting customers and staff. More than a collection of tools, techniques and projects, lean management is a way of thinking.
Lean principles include:
- Specifying the value of a product or service to a customer.
- Identifying value streams.
- Ensuring the service/product flows unimpeded.
- Eliminating non-value-add activities.
- Action initiated by pull demand.
- Reducing waste in the pursuit of perfection.
What about you? Have you leaned your business? Do you have the right amount of engaged, value-adding staff?
Allow your staff to work efficiently
Sometimes, businesses themselves can create time-wasting roadblocks that prevent staff from working to their potential.
One business I worked with had four workplace health and safety officers looking after 1,000 staff. I reviewed the business’s systems, processes and legislation to identify what it could stop, start or keep. I discovered that the business conducted monthly audits of its 100 sites. This equalled to 1,200 audits a year, which was a lot of work for four workplace health and safety officers! The business was being over compliant, as legislation said it only needed to audit once a year. So, we stopped the monthly audits and instead conducted annual ones, effectively reducing the health and safety officers’ workloads by one-twelfth.
In this situation, the business didn’t need more or less staff – it needed to enable their health and safety officers to work more efficiently and add value. By eliminating the unnecessary audits, the officers could switch their focus from always being on compliance to more proactive strategies, such as injury management and prevention, wellbeing and cultural improvement.
Do you have the right amount of staff for your business?
Take a look at your business. Could you use less staff more efficiently? Or could you leverage your existing staff through delegation, training and more efficient processes?
If you’re not sure, email me at email@example.com.