Posted on February 27, 2014

Top 3 Ways to Make Your Organization More Efficient

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 expenses:

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 process?
* 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 to change.
* Create a list of specific action items for making those changes happen.

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 your business.

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 Upgrade outdated systems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 Whereas outdated technology can hold you back, embracing technological advances can propel you forward.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 business.
* 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 application 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 easily.
* 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 solution 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 Inefficiencies


Sources: Deloitte’s Senior Executive Survey, PricewaterhouseCoopers’ “The Hidden Reality of Payroll and HR Administration Costs,” Payscale