Upsize Minnesota March April 2019

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Building efficiency into the workplace by Mari Kautzman

TIPS 1. Be wary of the status quo. Don’t continue to do things because that’s how they’ve always been done. 2. Communicate to your employees why changes are being made so they understand and buy in to the goals. 3. Seek feedback from your employees. They experience your processes firsthand every day. Schedule formal opportunities for them to provide feedback. 4. Gather feedback from your customers, whether via a periodic survey or a personal call. Whether it’s a periodic survey or something less formal, prioritize getting meaningful information from them. 5. Don’t be afraid of change, but don’t do so just for the sake of doing so.



FOR AS LONG as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with the inner workings of businesses and how they can be made more efficient. From one of my first jobs in a pizza restaurant, where I developed a process to get servers clocked out sooner, to my current role at TempWorks Software and Lone Oak Payroll, where I’ve taken deep dives into each department to see what makes them tick, I look for ways to improve profitability along with client and employee satisfaction. Although there’s not one formula that creates efficiency within every business, I’ve found there are common themes that span industries. Here are a few tips on improving your workplace’s efficiency — and, along with it, your bottom line. Continually assess current processes It’s easy to get comfortable and continue doing things because “that’s how we’ve always done it,” but be wary of the status quo. Keep a pulse on your processes and employees, and act sooner rather than later when you see something that needs to be addressed. The longer you wait, the harder it is to change. Be sure to explain the “why” when it comes to communicating the adjustments to your employees. If they understand where you’re coming from and know what the goals are it will be much easier to get their buy-in. Ask for employee feedback. People are your most important

resources. They are ingrained in the operation of your business and are the touchpoint with your customers. They experience your processes first-hand and interact with each other and your management team daily. So, while a company procedure might seem like a no-brainer to the leadership team, it might not actually work for the staff that works in that realm daily. Schedule formal opportunities for employees to provide feedback and ideas, but also take note when they drop in for a quick conversation or shoot you an email. Listen to your clients Just as your employees are the pulse of your operation, your clients are what keeps your business going and growing. Gather feedback from your customers. Whether it’s a periodic survey or something less formal, such as a personal call to see how things are going, prioritize getting meaningful information from your clients. And then listen – really listen – to what they are saying. In addition, take note of influxes of new customers along with spurts of lost business. Observations from these ebbs and flows could help distinguish successes and pain-points that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Invest in your employees Some of the biggest inefficiencies we’ve solved have related to personnel training and turnover. Take the time to have a thorough onboarding experience. It will pay dividends to