Every business is trying to become more efficient, productive and
cost-effective. In fact, reducing expenses is a top priority for
three-quarters of company leaders, according to a recent Deloitte study.
How are you contributing to this effort at your organization? Here are
some steps you can take today to increase efficiency and reduce
1. Streamline complicated processes
Unnecessary processes are a major source of inefficiency for many
organizations. It’s crucial to identify the problem before crafting a
solution, so use the steps below to root out inefficient processes:
* Identify your company’s core competencies to set the stage for a
discussion of key processes.
* Map out and measure your current workplace processes.
* Ask yourself, what would be the ideal state of efficiency for each
* Research efficiency benchmarks for each process to determine if your
expectations are realistic—industry associations and peer benchmarking
groups can be good sources of information.
* Investigate the least efficient processes and determine how they need
* Create a list of specific action items for making those changes
As you consider options for improving inefficient processes, you might
think about outsourcing as a solution for some tasks. For processes
that are necessary but not part of your organization’s core
competencies, outsourcing may be the most efficient solution. For
example, a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study found that “organizations
that retain payroll, workforce administration, time and attendance and
benefits administration in-house spend on average 18% more than those
that are outsourcing.” Relying on an outside vendor for certain
processes can free up your workforce to focus on adding real value to
2. Upgrade outdated systems
Technology can play a major role in your organization’s efficiency—for
better or for worse. Whereas outdated technology can hold you back,
embracing technological advances can propel you forward. How can you
determine where obsolete technology is holding you back?
* Make a list of the technologies you use.
* Include the date the last time each was updated.
* Determine if each technology is still working well for your
* Identify the time and cost savings that could result from upgrading
each technology, balanced against the cost of upgrading.
* Spend some time investigating the replacement technologies with the
highest potential to make a positive impact.
An example of a standard, essential business process that can benefit
from newer technology is tracking employee hours. A surprising number of
companies still do this manually. But optimizing this process can lead
to huge time savings. For example, the staff at the Nashville
Sounds, a minor-league baseball team,
previously spent two full days collecting paper timecards and compiling
all the data. By switching to an online time and attendance
and digital time clocks, they can now transmit employee hours to their
payroll system in just 10 minutes. That’s almost two days of staff
resources were reclaimed by a targeted technology upgrade!
3. Make information easily accessible
Trying to gather key information from other people wastes an average of
36% of an employee’s day. While playing phone and email tag is
inevitable at times, there are ways to make sure more information is
readily available to the people who need it. Follow these steps to
identify what information needs to be accessible:
* Determine what sort of information your teams need on a regular basis
to make decisions or get work done.
* Find out whether they are able to access that information quickly and
* Decide if there is an easier way to make that data available, and if
there is, how to do so.
* Create a set of defined action steps to make it happen.
Some members of your organization need certain information to do their
jobs or make decisions, such as overtime data or benefit enrollment
numbers. Consider implementing a web-based reporting
that allows them to access data and create custom reports on the fly to
enable them to be more efficient.
Other members of your organization might want to be able to access
simpler information, such as their work schedule, time-off requests or
pay stubs. Using a mobile
app that makes all
of this information available to employees from their smartphones is an
easy way to make sure they are getting the information they need
quickly, securely and efficiently.
By implementing some of the simple solutions listed here, you can make
your organization more efficient and help move you towards your goals.
*For more tips, download our whitepaper Doing Well with Less: How to
Address 5 Common Workplace
Sources: Deloitte’s Senior Executive Survey, PricewaterhouseCoopers’
“The Hidden Reality of Payroll and HR Administration Costs,” Payscale