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5 productivity pain points every HR manager should be watching

Updated: Feb 4

Productivity is critical to business success and remaining competitive. Every allocated resource should be used to its best advantage and to the most benefit to the organization, with processes and tools in place to make sure this happens.

Businesses are investing in time and tools for their employees to effectively collaborate and concentrate and yet paradoxically these same businesses are also hindering productivity for their staff.

The top five productivity pain points every HR manager should be watching in 2019 are:

1. Outdated processes, policies and workflows

Do you ever find yourself answering the question of “why are we doing it this way?” with “because we’ve always done it this way.”? You’re certainly not alone. Think about restrictive dress codes, or archaic policies, or even the vendors you work with. Outdated business processes tend to increase their shelf life in organizations “just because.”

What about the answer, “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”? However, if you analyze the impact of an outdated business process on your bottom line, your ability to compete and service your customers, and the time it’s steals from your employees… it is broken, and it needs to be supplanted by a better way.

Many businesses’ invoicing processes, for example, are out-of-date despite all the easy tools available today. Does your invoice system make it easy for you clients to pay you? Is reimbursement taking too long and frustrating your employees getting frustrated? The digital age makes information very accessible, and automation can simplify processes to save both time and money. Taking out unnecessary steps, such as printing out documents and manually filling out information, should be considered.

2. Poor management of leadership

No ship can set sail without a captain, and the same is true of businesses. Without the right leadership, a business will almost certainly fail even if the best possible employees are on hand. There’s a reason leaders in organizations get paid the big bucks. Sometimes it’s the wrong fit, someone leaders get burned out and don’t step down or sometimes the leaders had no right being there in the first place.

Effective leadership is critical in virtually any type of for-profit or service-based organization. When company managers lack the ability to provide direction, coaching and training and motivation for staff, the organizational culture and morale often suffer.

Poor leaders don’t inspire workers to deliver their best performance and to look for training and development opportunities. In the long run, a culture of poor leadership perpetuates across a company at all levels. Poor company and departmental leadership also inhibits the development of synergy resulting in low morale and high turnover among employees.

3. Outdated tools or technology

For most businesses, technology is something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it helps you run your business and remain competitive. On the other hand, updating hardware and software requires ongoing investments in time and money.

Technology is evolving rapidly. Something that’s state-of-the-art today may be woefully obsolete in a year or so. Learning how to use new tools, especially when you’re comfortable with what you’re used to, can be time-consuming and frustrating. Plus, implementing a new infrastructure can be costly and has the potential for major business interruptions.

No wonder so many business owners hold onto legacy systems far longer than they should. But keeping around outdated technology can actually increase costs and decrease productivity. There’s nothing more deflating than getting into the office early to smash out some work before a hectic day of meetings, only to realize you can’t work on a file you need to update because you don’t have the right software.

4. Negative workplace culture

The effect that a negative company culture can have can be huge. Often contributing to increased employee turnover and decreased motivation. These can then influence their work, aiding in the production of work that is perhaps not as great as it otherwise could have been. However, because a strong corporate culture is sometimes an afterthought, many companies fall into the trap of contributing to a negative corporate culture.

Negative culture is created when the employer thinks that he is the creator of products or services and everything should be under his control. An employer’s perspective can change the whole work place from positive to negative. The impact of negative culture at work place is that it causes a resistance to change. Along with it, employees work individually and blame others for their mistake. In fact, targets are not achieved on time and then ego clashes occur.

Negativity is reflected in every aspect i.e. values, visions, languages, norms, systems, belief and even habits of the employees. It will also affect human interactions. A strong culture reflects formal and rational environment that a single employee can not affect with his attributes whereas a weak culture is so flexible that every individual employee can easily fit into his own style of work which creates mismatch and friction.

5. Insufficient training

Training is a necessity in the workplace. Without it, employees don’t have a firm grasp on their responsibilities or duties. A company that lacks a proper training program cannot sustain a working business model, because the workplace is likely full of workers who have only a slight idea of how to complete their work.

With the growing competition among businesses in every industry, a lack of training in the employees can make the difference between maintaining success, and ultimate failure. Furthermore, without providing proper training among workers at the lower levels of the company, it is becoming increasingly challenging to find competent people to promote or hire for positions higher up in the corporate hierarchy.

Your employees can contribute to the success of your company when they are trained to perform their jobs according to industry standards. Training, which is essential for management as well as staff, typically consists of several classes onsite or at a different location during orientation. Some companies consider in-depth training an unnecessary expense and expect new employees to learn on the job from supervisors and older employees. However, this type of training is often inadequate and creates problems for the business.

Untrained employees cannot produce high-quality products. If they also lack adequate knowledge and skills to provide satisfactory customer service, this combination results in dissatisfied customers. The company will experience declining sales if dissatisfied customers choose competitors who can provide quality products and appropriate service.

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