Arguably, employees have become more productive, more efficient, more connected, and more collaborative. Technology has played a huge role in creating many of these efficiencies. Employees are more empowered than ever to make an impact in your company. As a tech company, GadellNet recognizes all of the ways tech can contribute to a stronger bottom line, but tech isn’t everything. A positive company culture or a culture of efficiency plays a huge role in a positive bottom line.
The world of business has changed, seemingly overnight, and continues to morph every day. Work-life balance is now the norm but sometimes this blurs the lines between work and home more than ever before. It can be hard to draw the line between the two but with millennials craving a great culture in their careers, striking the right balance is essential to attracting top talent.
So how can you foster a creative, open, and collaborative culture in your company while keeping efficiency a top priority? Fringe benefits and a solid hiring process are a great start but there must also be a shift in the way we define a successful day.
- Hiring the Right Personality
From the hiring process, you have to be sure that your newest team member is the right fit for your organization. Hiring for skills alone will not ensure they are the right person for the job and it is not the way to create a positive culture of efficiency. Hire the candidate who is a proven self-starter. The candidate who will pitch in for the better of the whole company is better than a candidate who is great at their job role alone.
Your newest employee should also mesh with your current staff. Making sure they can be a team player on the team you already have will impact future project success rates.
When you’ve hired the right person, it’s easy to trust them in their role. This is an important first step to creating the culture you want.
- Create Company Values, then live by them
Creating company values is essential to making sure you are hiring the right person from the start. It is also essential to making sure your employees are living up to the expectations you have for them. This is no easy task and it requires a great deal of reflection and strategic thinking. Anything too broad and it won’t help you hire, anything too specific and your employees might feel like they are trying to live up to unattainable standards. You must also make sure these values fit in with your mission. How do you want employees to do business? This can me when working with others externally and when working with coworkers internally. This question could be answered by looking at some of your model employees and figuring out what sets them apart. Put this all together and communicate what your values mean to your employees and set your expectations with new hires.
At GadellNet, for example, our company values are Make an Impact, 100% Responsibility 0% Excuses, and Grow or Die.
This translates into a great culture of efficiency. All of our employees know what these values mean and we work hard to live by them in everything we do. These values wouldn’t work for every company, but they work for us. Figure out what works for you and live by them.
- Measure Tasks
Traditionally, employees were tracked by hours or days worked. With our personal and professional lives blending more and more, what really counts is the work getting done. At some point in a given year, many employees will come into the office and leave in the afternoon to take their dog to the vet or go to their kid’s soccer game then get on their laptop from home in the evening to finish a few things up. Fewer and fewer employees are sticking to the traditional office hours. This kind of flexibility is a top priority for the most talented employees. The best way to do this is to communicate to your employees what is important. Let them know they can take advantage of the flexible schedule as long as they can complete tasks in a timely manner. Tracking tasks is one of the ways to really measure employee productivity and keep projects on track.
- Communicate Expectations
When an employee is assigned a task, they should be given a deadline and an idea of your expectation for the end result. This allows them to understand what is expected of them. If the task is going to go over, it is important the employee communicates this in advance and explains why. This doesn’t mean they have failed, but it will allow you to understand and better plan for future tasks.
- Let your employee give Feedback
Let your employees be heard. If they feel like they have a say in how things are run in the company, they will have more of a sense of ownership in their work. They also might have great suggestions. It’s important to listen to what your employees have to say and to let them support their colleagues. TINYPule is a great tool that allows you to do both of those things. You can pose questions about anything and your employees can anonymously respond. They are also able to give a shout out to a fellow employee who made an impact on their day.
- Ask for Updates
Employees are going to procrastinate, it’s an inevitability. Be honest- you do it, too. This is the downside to offering employees more freedom. It doesn’t ensure productivity, but there are ways around that. End-of-day and end-of-week updates are a great way to make sure your employees are staying on pace with longer-term goals. This can also help to motive your employees and resolve issues holding them back quickly.
- Measure the Numbers
Yes, you could probably have data coming out of your ears if you wanted. So many metrics can be made available to you through different avenues. The bottom line is what I am referring to here. Keep your eye on that because it will tell you how well goals are being met and how productive your employees are across the board without needing to micromanage. If they aren’t meeting goals and the bottoms line shows it, you can work backward and see where things are lagging.
- Effectiveness Ratio
How much gross profit is your company making per every dollar being spent on salary? If this isn’t a ratio you have been keeping track of, we highly recommend it. This ratio says something different than the hours that go into a project. You want your team to work smarter, not longer. Measure your results with this ratio because the best value added isn’t the hours, it’s results.
- Work Location
Let your employees choose their work location. Whatever environment works for an individual to get their best job done is where they should be encouraged to work. This could be in the office, where they can shut the door, a coffee shop with a lot of background noise and caffeine, their home office where they don’t have to worry about being interrupted, or a combination of these environments. The key to this is trusting them. You hired them to do a job so allow them to become as productive as possible by working in an environment that feels productive to them.
- Measure Deliverables
Deliverables in a day, week, month and quarter are where an employee really shows their worth. Tracking hours and even sick or vacation days can hinder employees being self-starters. Self-starters are the ones who will work hard to deliver on goals and projects. That is why you want to hire them in the first place. Support this kind of work mentality by keeping track of the deliverables.
A different business world calls for a different type of manager who supports a different kind of employee. Most employees will be eager to do their best work if they have a work culture and work-life balance they feel they can thrive in. Give your employees the right tools to balance the freedom you give them with the expectations you have for their work and you will have achieved a culture of efficiency.