Want a More Productive Workforce? How to Combat the Top 3 Productivity Killers
What would your employees do if they had more free time during their workday?
According to a global survey from The Workforce Institute at Kronos and Future Workplace, employees know exactly what they’d like to do:
- 44 percent would focus on personal development and learning new skills
- 23 percent would give more attention to important, long-term projects
- 23 percent would innovate, brainstorm ideas, and find better ways of accomplishing existing goals and tasks
These high-value tasks are critical to pushing financial organizations forward. They take employees beyond the day-to-day to consider the big picture, including both how they fit in and what they can do to contribute to the organization’s overall success.
But before employees can use their creativity to tackle big goals for financial organizations, they need time.
There’s no easy way to add more hours to the workday. Employees need downtime to rest and rejuvenate or they won’t stay engaged with their job and deliver their best work. The only way to add more time into the workday for big-picture activities is to minimize the time spent on other tasks. In short, worker productivity needs to increase.
In this post, we’ll explore:
- The connection between productivity, people, and systems
- Productivity Killer #1: Hunting for documents
- Productivity Killer #2: Inefficient communication
- Productivity Killer #3: No sense of connection or purpose
- A closer look at communication software productivity tools
The connection between productivity, people, and systems
Solving productivity doesn’t mean focusing on individual workers. As Henry Ford discovered when he created the assembly line and more recent research has confirmed, productivity isn’t about individuals. It’s about systems.
As Daniel Markowitz wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “most people don’t work in isolation. They work in complex organizations defined by interdependencies among people — and it’s often these interdependencies that have the greatest effect on personal productivity… Personal solutions can be useful, but the most effective antidote to low productivity and inefficiency must be implemented at the system level, not the individual level.”
The key, then, is to implement systems that bring people together to collaborate more efficiently. One of the most effective ways to do with is with communications software.
What is communications software?
Communications software is a private network that promotes employee collaboration with tools for publishing and sharing information. Able to connect with other applications, it’s a centralized starting point for organizational communication and workflows.
Unlike a SharePoint drive or other dumping ground for information, communications software is designed to mindfully cultivate the user experience and promote efficiency, collaboration, and employee engagement.
Here are three ways communication software combats common productivity killers at financial organizations.
Productivity Killer #1: Hunting for documents
Workers spend an obscene amount of lot of time looking for documents. It’s estimated that “knowledge workers” spend 2.5 hours per day looking for the information they need, according to market intelligence firm International Data Corporation.
Two-thirds of workers say they spend more time hunting for documents than they do replying to emails and other messages, according to a survey by Wakefield Research. One third said they frequently have trouble finding documents that others request.
Why is information so hard to find? It’s disorganized and spread throughout the organization. It’s in email inboxes along with 2,910 unread messages. It’s on SharePoint along with every other version of the document that’s ever existed. It’s in another department’s SharePoint drive that can only be accessed via a link that was once dropped in a Teams chat. Sometimes, an employee has literally no idea where a document is. There’s just a vague memory of having seen it once.
So much of what employees do is collaborative, making it imperative to have communications software that makes it easy to prioritize and find key information and initiatives.
People can’t be productive if they can’t find the information they need. Communications software breaks down inefficiencies by serving a singular place to access every department’s most essential, company-facing documents. Whether it’s a roadmap for strategic initiatives, the most recently approved marketing collateral, information on how to request and onboard a vendor, or an employee directory, communications software can serve as a source of truth where everyone can access information relevant to the organization.
Communications software can also be used to organize employees into workgroups and provide the tools they need to collaborate. It also ensures everyone is working off the same documents, an especially critical concern when an increasing number of people hold the same position and share a similar workload.
Productivity Killer #2: Inefficient communication
Employees have more options for collaboration than ever before, including everything from email, video calls, and chat to phone calls, in-person meetings, and text chains.
This gives workers huge flexibility when it comes to communication, but it can also make communication inefficient. Breakdowns in workplace communications can be devastating to productivity, according to the Communication Barriers in the Modern Workplace survey report by The Economist Intelligence Unit.
Among workers who’ve dealt with poor workplace communication,
- 44 percent experienced delays or failure to complete projects
- 25 percent missed performance goals
- 18 percent lost sales.
Communications software alleviates inefficiencies by making it possible to dynamically share high-profile information. Rather than flood inboxes with yet more mail, communications software can be used to easily send and find announcements and discussions, including those specific to a team.
Whether its announcements about training, promotions, or the latest policies and procedures, communications software lets an organization decide which content needs to be prominently highlighted and which should be archived in an appropriate, easily accessible place. It’s available to the whole workforce, no matter which office (or remote home office) they work in.
Productivity Killer #3: No sense of connection or purpose
Productivity is about more than tools. It’s also about a sense of purpose and feeling connected to others within the organization.
“Productivity is largely affected by the quality of human relationships including cooperative, social group moods and interaction,” according to recent research by Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Improving communication and collaboration through social communication technologies can increase worker productivity between 20 and 25 percent, the McKinsey Global Institute found. Meanwhile, happier employees are 12 percent more productive, while disengaged workers do as little as possible.
How can companies foster engagement? “Engagement and productivity can be affected by social cohesion, feeling supported by one's supervisor, information sharing, common goals and vision, communication, and trust,” according to the Society for Human Resources Management.
Communications software plays a critical role in fostering employee engagement. From making internal job opportunities more visible and recognizing staff accomplishments and milestones to collecting employee feedback, the right communications software helps employees feel more connected to the organization and its many faces. It shows the organization listens to employees and celebrates their accomplishments. It reminds employees that they are part of a larger organization and that there are others out there working on the same shared goals.
A closer look at communication software productivity tools
Communications software is built to increase employee productivity, with helpful tools and features to streamline workloads. Common tools and features that can help enhance efficiency include:
- Robust search capability to quickly find specific information anywhere on the intranet site.
- Announcements and discussions sent directly to the intranet, either to the whole company or specific teams, that ensures essential information is broadcast and highlighted, not lost in an email inbox.
- Online learning management to streamline the process of onboarding, training, policy/procedure changes, and evaluations.
- Information repository for quick access to the latest policies and procedures and product and service information ensuring that important updates are instantly available.
- Electronic forms allow users to build forms online easily, which can significantly speed up the process of capturing, validating, and submitting data. The data can be archived and used to support multiple departments.
- Help desk/ticketing to streamline communication between the help desk and other team members. This enables problems to be addressed quickly to keep work flowing smoothly.
- Employee directory/profiles to provide centralized access to contact information, details related to their position, and photos so team members can contact each other easily and build positive working relationships.
- Interactive calendars to place pertinent resources at employees’ fingertips, making it easier to stay on top of meetings and other important obligations.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to allow staff members to receive timely access to the information they need to do their job, reducing reliance on support staff.
- Surveys to provide management with valuable insight from personnel along with real-time reporting for analysis that can reveal the organization's strengths and weaknesses and create a basis for refining internal processes.
- Content editing so simple that anyone at the organization with permission can create, share, and publish information.
Communication software helps employees work harder and smarter, spending less time looking for information and more time putting that data into action. It offers a valuable way to find and connect with employees across the organization, while fostering the organization’s shared purpose.
Don’t let information, communication, or your organization’s sense of community get lost in the shuffle. Use communications software to enhance employee productivity and accelerate big picture goals.
Why is communications software worth the investment?
Use our calculator to estimate the cost savings and return on investment.