How do you get the best results from your staff? What is the key to improved performance and productivity? These are the constant questions that business owners ask themselves and whilst it might seem surprising, numerous studies have shown that there are a few key strategies that help businesses achieve improved performance. One of these strategies is to focus on employee outputs – the actual results of the work that the employees do.
Focus on Employee Outputs
It may sound very obvious that businesses should focus on deliverables rather than hours worked but there is still an hours culture in the vast majority of UK businesses. In the modern workplace where change is the new constant, adoption of technologic innovation almost a requirement and where the workers have significantly different expectations of the work-life balance and flexibility at work, it is rather alarming to see so many businesses not adopting strategies for agile working.
If you run a team and you have targets that need to be met – what is the most important thing for you? Is it that the targets are met or that your employees work their weekly hours? If you focus on employee hours, then you will definitely get the desired attendance but this will not help you achieve your targets. Whereas if you actually focused on the targets that need to be met and gave your employees the freedom to meet them with ‘smart working’ – you may be blown away by the results that you would get.
What Can Happen When You Focus on Outputs?
An insightful article in People Management October edition gives an example of BAE Systems Naval Ships (warship manufacturer) with a workforce of 3,600 that was facing real affordability challenges and needed changes that would turn things around. So after four and a half years of working on the change project, they adopted ‘smart working’ where employees became empowered and trusted to determine their own working schedule, and take time off if their work was completed for the week. The key change was to focus on outputs and not the hours worked. After adopting this new way of working the manufacturer experienced dramatic increases in productivity and innovation as employees were looking for ways to improve the system to enhance the efficiency of work.
This is a radical way of working especially in a manufacturing industry but it is another great example that giving freedom and flexibility to your employees will in turn give you greater employee engagement and productivity. In the words of Chris Westcott (Head of People Relations at BAE) ‘People who have been in the business for a lot longer than us describe it as the single best thing we’ve ever done’.
How Do You Measure Outputs in a Service Environment?
Businesses that work within a service environment might find this concept trickier as there may be a need to have cover for any client queries within set business hours. There are of course client facing roles where the customer service experience is at the core and where full flexibility might not be a realistic option. However, where face-to-face interactions are not the primary means of contact, technological advancements allow employees to not have to be in one physical location to be able to answer a phone call or respond to an email. Giving your employees the flexibility to manage their working day whilst ensuring that any client queries are answered promptly and within business hours would achieve the same outcomes of greater employee engagement and productivity.
At Lighter HR Solutions we would love to help you on this journey, so why not just give us a quick call on 0203 319 1649 and chat to one of our consultants. Alternatively you can complete our contact form and one of our consultants will give you a call. We will work with you to identify the solutions that might be appropriate for your business to gain greater employee engagement and productivity through smarter working practices.