It’s an unfortunate reality that many businesses are going through restructures and redundancy processes due to the current climate. Businesses must look at cost saving measures across the board or risk not emerging from this recession. Regrettably, one of the most common cost saving measures is job cuts and restructures. While saving money through wages is an effective means at reducing operational costs, it can also have the unintended consequence of reducing productivity and output, which in the medium to long term can result in a business being worse off than prior to changing.

It is pivotal for businesses, even those that aren’t looking to reduce head count, to map out not only individual processes but systems and processes for entire teams to ensure that changes to structures do not impact overall productivity.

Here are some tips to understand and improve productivity within your teams:

Focus More Broadly Than the Individual

Often when working with businesses, the first point of call is to address individual position descriptions and ensure that these are reflective of current roles, and that KPIs are specific towards business goals. While this is effective, it’s fundamental to also look at where that individual role fits into the wider team and company as a whole. Focusing on the wider team allows you to directly understand where each role fits into the wider goals of the team and in turn impact the productivity of that team and business as a whole.

Systems and Processes

It’s easy to get bogged down in each specific task that a person does on a day to day basis. When mapping out team processes, it’s much more efficient to focus on the key systems and processes that make up a team and then pay attention to where each person contributes to the effective execution of these systems and processes. Do they have overall accountability and if something goes wrong is it their head on the chopping block? Are they responsible for the main tasks or do they just need to be informed about progress made? Is this person an expert in the field and should be consulted on decisions while others focus on the execution? The most effective way to build this out, is to look at developing a RASCI Matrix for your team, this way you can understand what systems and processes make up the DNA of your team, and also how each individual contributes and adds values to these processes.

No Gaps, No Overlaps

There are two main risks that can be a recipe for disaster which mapping out team processes. The first relates to wasted productivity; if two or more people are working on the same processes and achieving the same outcomes then there are clear inefficiencies. Having only one person accountable for a system or process and then setting clear responsibilities can help in avoiding this. The second problem is if no one takes responsibility for a task by believing it is someone else’s responsibility. This is where developing something like a RASCI Matrix can overcome this hurdle. It identifies the key components relating to a team, and forces business to assign a person to ensure its effectiveness and that no gaps of responsibility exist.

Even if you’re in a business which is coping well in the current market, mapping out team processes can help to improve efficiency and productivity. Using this as a starting point can actually make creating or updating position descriptions more effective too, as those macro systems and processes can simply populate the key responsibilities of each individual within the team.

In a time where cost savings are at the forefront of most businesses, it’s essential that productivity isn’t sacrificed alongside it. To understand where Optimum can assist with mapping out these processes, please get in touch.

Daniel Cosgrove
Human Resources Consultant

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