If you were to poll all the business owners in your general area, one point of contention they would all have is that their workforce investments stay static, while their returns are seemingly variable. A lot of the variance is tied to the fluctuations in staff productivity. Anyone who has paid someone else to do work understands that even if the jobs are all the same, people bring a fairly wide range of issues to work with them, and they can have troubling effects on the ability of a business to move forward. Today, we will take a look at the modern worker, their motivations, and how the right IT can work to leverage more consistency for your business.
The worker today is not unlike the workers of the past. If they are focused and engaged, they are very productive, but when they are distracted–and there are many reasons they can be distracted–their productivity is all over the place. If too many distractions are allowed to drive your workforce away from productivity, your business stands to deal with product and service delays, cost overruns, and a general inefficiency that will leave it stagnant and not achieving the growth that you’d like to see.
In many ways, the modern worker is asked to do more than ever before. Businesses integrate technology to drive productivity, but many do it with less staff than before. Since technology is being integrated at a dizzying rate, and all with the same promise: improve efficiency, improve productivity, spur on collaborative efforts, etc. businesses are left depending on their staff to learn and use this technology proficiently. Unfortunately, all this dynamic new technology may be having the opposite effect on their workforce.
While the intention to give workers the technology they need to improve their job performance is a good one, many of the analytics tell a whole other story. The overwhelming amount of tech is being wasted and revenues generated to have a smaller profit margin as a result. The ROI of adding a certain technology is only as good as the benefit the organization sees from it.
Another issue with the disengaged worker is that they typically don’t warm to collaboration. In fact, with all the collaboration tools that are available, only three-to-five percent of employees are responsible for one-third of all collaboration efforts, a troubling trend; and, one that is on the rise, albeit slowly. Workers today tend to have more flexible hours and work conditions than ever before, but the productivity gained from this shift is more in the hours of available coverage than it is in overall productivity.
The Middle Manager
Productivity has only improved by one-to-two percent over the past eight years despite the often enormous technology advancements we’ve been privy to over that time. More technology investment typically comes with a lack of investment in the workforce. This is a troubling trend that has a real impact on many organizations’ bottom lines. Decision makers understand they need a base-level of human productivity in order for their processes to churn out a profitable product. Some industries have a larger margin of error than others, but all-in-all, these executives depend on their middle management to handle the day-to-day administration of their staff, and they don’t have time to actively manage staff.
This truth is that there is often a lot of inefficiency, and unhappiness, with modern workers. Consider that over two-thirds of the average middle manager’s job is spent in meetings or replying to various forms of correspondence, and you can see why they struggle to provide the type of leadership decision makers require from them.
This all creates a situation where the company is dependant on the technology systems, not merely using them as to augment the organization’s productivity efforts and a workforce that is disengaged, unprepared, and reliant on technology that they despise. This is obviously not an ideal situation. After all, technology is supposed to be there to help your staff build better, more collaborative processes, that keeps people engaged and happy coming into work each day.
The Decision Maker
The average decision maker is one or two levels of employees removed from the production workers at the base-level of the business. For smaller businesses, there may be only one or no levels between a decision maker and his/her subordinates. These organizations tend to have it easier, so if someone isn’t pulling his/her weight around the office, it’s pretty easy to ascertain.
One issue with the decision makers in the C-suite is that they are often so insulated that the decisions they make are strictly business decisions based on the analytics they are given, leaving all the other people in the organization to react to their interpretation of numbers. In a culture that is productivity-first, blindly investing in technology in lieu of heftier investments in the people that work for you, can, and often does have the opposite of the desired effect.
What to Make of This
One of the very best organizational decisions that any business owner and executive can make is to have an outside consultant come into your business to ascertain where capital should be invested. The smart money. A team that has access to all the technology in the world may or may not improve, but a strategic, custom technology solution that deliberately remedies a notable problem, is likely to make headway toward productivity problems you are having. The consultants at S3 Technologies can present you with the following benefits:
- Enhanced business planning – S3 Technolgies’ consultants are looking for problems to solve and have the knowledge and expertise to find affordable and effective technology solutions for those problems.
- Avoid growing opportunity costs – Avoid the expenses that a trial-and-error approach could saddle your company with. Get the IT that is going to work to fix your operational problems integrated and completely supported.
- Quarterly business reviews – As a part of our ongoing consulting effort, we sit down to see how your technology investments could be better spent to strategically move your business forward.
With business and IT consulting from S3 Technologies, you will never pay too much for IT again. Contact us today to learn more.