Ingrid Bahr, Senior Account Director at BCD Meetings & Events, identifies three main areas to address in order to secure lasting staff improvement.
Performance optimisation – two words that can be both exciting and daunting for a growing operations team. When implemented correctly, performance optimisation can lead to powerful and lasting improvements, without anxiety.
There are three primary areas to be considered: process, training, growth and succession planning.
Process. A team’s processes are the bedrock of its success. However, outdated processes; redundancies; and antiquated systems can encumber even the best team’s performance.
To elevate performance, you must begin by evaluating the entire team’s processes. Engaging team members in process improvement will provide the most valuable feedback, and allow them to feel heard and contribute. It also creates goodwill and improves change management as their input creates ‘buy in’ to the concept.
When looking at each process, determine the average amount of time each step takes to complete. Ask if every step is necessary or can it be eliminated or simplified to drive the same result? Can any steps be changed, standardised, eliminated or automated with technology?
Are you allowing too many custom steps or exceptions for your team to realistically handle in an efficient and sustainable way? In one case study, website developers found that a lot of time was lost customising websites and allowing unlimited edits. As a result, the developers created website templates that included standardised language to eliminate the level of customisation it previously offered. Additionally, approved content had to be submitted prior to commencing the build, which eliminated the number of edits. This resulted in a 25% savings in both time and costs. As this example illustrates, the more you can standardise and template your processes, the more efficient your team will be.
Training. The second area of focus is training. We move in a fast world, and process changes happen often. Yet, we commonly forget to do ‘back to basics trainings’ with our teams. To keep pace, take time annually to focus on the basics and ensure the team is consistently following the same steps. There is no gain in having an efficient process if the team is not consistently following it.
Growth & succession planning. The last area of focus is growth and succession planning, which is not an area that most people would consider for optimisation, but it is equally important. Creating layers within a team allows for upward mobility and benefits your succession planning objectives.
Opportunity for growth does not always have to equal employee promotions. It can also be achieved by identifying subject matter, experts and leaders for various initiatives. When you create an environment where people can be heard and grow within an organisation, morale will increase, and staff churn reduces – the latter of which is a detriment to your customer base as intellectual capital is inevitably lost with transitions.
Evaluation of the new process is critical as you may not always get it 100% correct the first time. Continue to re-evaluate the process, train your team and engage your experts to ensure your team’s performance are at optimal levels.