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Workforce Optimization: 10 Easy Essentials

Workforce Optimization Takes Will and Brains, but This is How You Get Started!

Workforce optimization can seem daunting.   Cutting, tweaking, re-vamping and perfecting. It never ends and for lots of businesses – it never even begins.

But workforce optimization doesn’t have to be a revolutionary process or even one that interrupts your daily routine. At least, it needn’t interrupt you for long. Take these ten easy essentials to heart before you get going and you’ll see that little improvements add up quickly to big, big improvements and that will show up in all of your numbers.

1) Talk It Over

That can mean with team leaders or managers or with your entire staff, but we’ve found that more open, honest and thorough operations are also more efficient and better understood.

2) Manage Misunderstandings

Follow up on meetings and discussions within a few days. Make sure that too much or too little work is handled quickly and early. You don’t need anyone affected to go too far without having their own concerns directly addressed. Make sure everyone is informed and gets a second chance to speak up.

3) Run on Contingency

Experiment with ever staff or department when there are absences or unexpected events. Set some up if you have to. Learn how tasks are handled – or where they are not handled – in the event that things go awry. Learn from the process and position appropriate staff to learn from it too.

4) Refocus

Get those same staff to understand the core business. They’re often in positions distant from the core of the business. Human Resources, for example, always benefits from a review and re-focus of priorities. Making sure everyone on the team understands the core focus of the business is essential to the bottom line and to everyone’s renewed determination.

5) Reevaluate

Talk to staff about family, skills, processes and preferences. Understanding their outside obligations is a huge way to improve trust. Does it tell you anything about internal processes? Keep profiles on file and review the information as you go. Make sure that staff know how and why you’re using this information.  They’ll appreciate it.

6) Measure Everything

Workloads, process times, delivery times, weekdays, weekends. Get an accurate picture of how long tasks take to perform. Understand how long it takes to load a truck, clean a hotel room, deal with a customer or assemble a boiler – without this knowledge, you’ll never be able to accurately align staff with demand.

7) Optimize Work Schedules

You’re not just giving time off and flex-time. You’re also optimizing for heavy workloads and clearing the floor when things are quiet. Rewarding high earners and giving a break to those who’ve done their share is a great way to maximize moral and trust – and productivity too. Automating the system, tweaking the rules and learning how and when people work better is all part of the process.

8) Consider Investments Carefully

Smart phones, tablets and internet calendars are all part of the process. Your staff is using them and learning how and when they are using them is all part of the process. Come up with a social media policy that highlights your understanding and your willingness to integrate your workers’ lifestyles with your company’s mission. Make sure they understand it from the bottom up.

9) Adjust to Ongoing Revision

This is where management often breaks down. Process tweaks get old and tired and routines settle back in. Get staff accustomed to continual optimization reviews and revisions. The perfect work schedule won’t settle everything, but will make them happy. In exchange for more productive and happy employees, you should be getting production analysts and optimization partners. Make sure they know about the new arrangement.

10) Revise and Improve

Reductions in labor costs and morale improvements can go a long way toward improving your bottom line. Don’t stop there. Get every employee involved in the process and make the process a part of your operation – a regular part of it.

If you’ve got a better idea, please let us know in the comments section below. Your thoughts and experience are an invaluable part of the optimization process.

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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