It is very common in companies that the production and quality areas are the experts in terms of productivity, since they are responsible for making the processes efficient and achieving the highest possible production with the available resources.
However, the human factor is the key to making the value chain efficient. In the industrial era, organizational talent was analyzed by times and movements, today it should be valued for its ability to make processes efficient, overcome obstacles, propose, achieve goals and objectives, and promote the development and growth of the company. In short, for its ability to "add value".
This is why those responsible for human talent management in companies must constantly ask themselves how and in what proportion employees are adding value. Or, if on the contrary, they are making the company's value chain inefficient.
How can Human Resources contribute to the productivity of companies?
This is one of the key questions that have gained relevance in recent years. Recent research shows some "business habits" that have a negative impact on productivity; these are activities such as long meetings without clear objectives, working days and activities outside working hours, inability to build and sustain agreements between employees, communication errors that generate reprocesses and costs to the company, poor time management skills, among others.
That is why, if you are part of the team responsible for empowering the company's talent, you must permanently monitor the factors that negatively affect the productivity of employees and design periodic strategies to generate changes in the attitudes and skills of people. To have quantitative indicators to support your management and contribution to the company's productivity.
What key axes should we monitor?
We must periodically follow up on individual performance. Today there are several softwares that facilitate this task, but if your company does not have any, you can define your own systems and formats where you specify key areas of results, goals, and objectives in a given time, in addition to designing a monitoring model to assess their compliance. An employee adds more value to your company when they have the capacity to self-evaluate their management on a permanent basis, adjusting their actions according to the fulfillment of goals, even before their periodic performance evaluation process.
The organization and optimization of time should be a topic of attention for the company. There are many cases in which employees stay after their working day or simply spend too much time on a task, generating non-compliance with the established deadlines, and thus, chain delays that impact the entire company. Employees should make daily, weekly and monthly activity plans based on clear and precise goals and, together with their managers, follow up on the actual fulfillment of the activities. Learning to allocate the correct time to each activity and to comply with it is a skill that everyone must learn.
Companies must guarantee the generation and fulfillment of agreements. The lack of this skill is evidenced in the conflicts that are generated between different areas and within them. I recognize that our society is not used to negotiating to create agreements and commit to them, however, this practice generates a radical change in the performance of employees and in the productivity of companies. Excuses and justifications are eliminated and people learn to assume their responsibility. Companies must teach how to negotiate and build agreements, designing tools for recording and monitoring compliance.
Effective communication is a cross-cutting key. Surely we have all experienced situations in which we say one thing and they understand something else, or we take a situation for understood and our interlocutor was trying to say something different. Organizational communication is a challenge for companies and improving it allows productivity gains. It may seem a lesser evil, but if each employee tries to give the message thinking that the other person understands it easily, it will have a positive impact on the three previous axes. Imagine the result as a whole.
Leadership competencies will have an impact on the company's productivity. Bosses, managers, or supervisors without leadership competencies will harm the performance of their teams, which is why it is essential that the company's leaders generate their action plans for the development of diverse and interrelated competencies that drive the growth and development of the company.
Finally, the personal situation of our employees also affects productivity in the company; financial stress, level of indebtedness, personal and family situations, low identity with the company, alignment of life purpose, among others, are issues that must be taken into account.
Actions that Increase the Productivity of your Employees
The first thing you should do is a perception analysis of the subject, which is a survey to help you identify how important these axes are for employees.
With this result, make a diagnosis of the situation for each key axis and identify indicators that represent the current situation. You can take into account the following factors:
1. Performance evaluation: how often is it performed, what are the impacts, what is the level of commitment to the process, what are the consequences for non-compliance.
2. Time organization: ask if there is a format for daily, weekly and monthly follow-up of activities, if all areas and their collaborators implement it, what happens if what is proposed is not complied with.
3. Generation of agreements: how agreements are created in the company, how they are recorded, how they are followed up, what happens in case of non-compliance.
4. Effective communication: evaluates whether there is a record of situations that have arisen due to communication problems, which are the company's formal communication channels, the perception of the functioning of these channels.
5. Leadership competencies: Create the optimal set of leadership competencies for the company, identify the performance gap in your leaders and define a plan to close it.
6. Personal situations: Identify the level of indebtedness of your employees, their emotional and family stability, and their life purpose. Design containment plans to address them in general. Remember not to involve the company directly in personal issues.
The indicators that you can identify will help you to have a clear picture of the current situation of the company as a starting point, from there on implement a general action plan. To define it, you can rely on consultants who will help you to clarify the diagnosis. However, the most important thing is to design a training and education plan for the development of skills and competencies; when 100% of your employees develop these skills, the impact on productivity and work environment will be evident.
Do not forget to define in your action plan a periodic monitoring of the initial indicators that you found, so you can show with clear data the impact of your area to the business results.
The challenge for human resources areas is to ask themselves every year "how much are we going to contribute to increasing the company's productivity by improving employee performance?"
By Gonzalo Callejas R.
He is the CEO of CrearMedia Mexico, has extensive experience as a business consultant in Mexico and Colombia. He has a master's degree in economics from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Promoting a bLearning culture in Mexico and Latin America.