4 ways to optimize workforce productivity in 2021

As organizations become global and teams get increasingly distributed, establishing and maintaining workforce productivity becomes crucial to drive business success. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, organizations realized that, in the absence of proper infrastructure and setup, global teams battle several challenges such as poor communication and fragmented collaboration that can deter any organization's growth.

With dispersed resources and remote onboarding of people and teams, getting the correct technology setup and helping the workforce perform optimally becomes extremely challenging.  

What is Workforce Optimization and Why is It Important?

Workforce optimization is a strategic planning activity aimed to simplify workforce procedures to increase revenue generation. As workforce optimization and employee productivity go hand-in-hand, they directly impact customer satisfaction, retention, and revenue per customer. In order to get an optimal workforce setup, organizations must integrate and manage technology to ensure that systems, data, and applications can support streamlined processes and provide value to customers.

Workforce productivity, like any other organizational goal, must be monitored to improve over time. Organizations must develop clear objectives that identify the most meaningful metric for each workforce persona and measure it regularly.

How to Boost Workforce Productivity

Companies that want to make workforce optimization a top focus in 2021 and beyond must put consistent efforts to achieve significant results. Here are a few prescribed steps that can assure continued success.

  • Establish a vision/goal: Imagine the company's intended future in as much detail as possible, with measurable customer results. Then, define how to optimize the workforce to achieve the desired results. Remember, speed is not the same as progress, especially when making considerable changes in the tech ecosystem, workforce, processes, and culture.
  • Identify value-driven processes: A value-driven approach begins with understanding that a business is a collection of processes, each with its own set of inputs, outputs, and structure. Each process has a purpose and should be evaluated based on how well it delivers on that purpose. Eliminating redundancy and defining a lean value stream is a critical first step in the right direction. This helps create an organizational setup suited to the current competitive and enhances the human capital required by other functions to carry out their tasks effectively.
  • Define major value stream personas: The third step is to create a visual representation of the critical stages and data associated with optimizing specific processes that may involve multiple handoffs. Value stream mapping, when done correctly, can help teams collaborate and communicate more effectively. At this stage, the company should target specific workforce team members who operate the primary value stream processes.
  • Relook at your technology stack: Determine which applications, systems, data, and infrastructure are required to support your value stream processes and personas. A few critical points while considering the technology stack are listed below:
  • Collaboration tools are critical to facilitate seamless communication and coordination between geo-distributed or remote teams.
    • Implementing or updating an effective business continuity strategy helps ensure that business activities are not disrupted -- even when human resources are limited or distributed. As a result, organizations must begin identifying and resolving on-premises or remote backup requirements as soon as possible, which will, in turn, minimize risk and remove the need for less secure on-premises servers.
    • To respond to a volatile environment and assure data protection, it is critical to invest in adequate risk management frameworks, cybersecurity programs, and endpoint security solutions.
    • If IT is not a company forte, it is always good to partner with a Managed Services Provider (MSP) that can manage technology while the business focuses on Its core purpose.
    • Employee training is also extremely critical. Ensuring collaboration across geographies puts a lot of strain on employees and the company's underlying IT infrastructure; therefore, giving employees proper training to optimally utilize all resources provided to them becomes vital.

Workforce Optimization is a Continuous Process

Like any other organizational goal, workforce productivity needs to be continually measured and fine-tuned. By measuring the progress against the charted milestone, organizations can clearly see the efficacy of their plan and identify what’s going right for them. The best-case scenario is when progress is seen at all levels. For example, the CEO observes an increase in average revenue per employee, the sales team sees an increased number of bookings, and the HR team sees enhanced employee engagement.

In order to measure workforce productivity, enterprises need to set up business intelligence systems that present data in a comprehensive and condensed manner for a decision-maker, so that they can make the right decisions regarding workforce optimization projects.

Photo credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Bhavin Sankhat is project manager, workforce collaboration at Synoptek. He has over 10 years of experience in driving several workforce automation projects, especially related to Microsoft technologies. He works closely with Synoptek customers to help them with planning, documentation, and governance for their workforce productivity assignments and create solutions that streamline their business processes. 

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