What You Can Do to Change Employee Behaviour and Increase Business Efficiency

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This article was contributed by Rodney Laws, Editor at Ecommerce Platforms.

Efficiency is an eternal concern for every business.

There's no such thing as maximum employee productivity but there is a reality where you're doing everything you possibly can to achieve it, leaving your business in a position where it's operating as efficiently as it can be.

You can do a lot of things to strive towards maximum productivity and one of the most impactful is to change how your employees behave. After all, they're the ones driving or holding back efficiency.

We've highlighted three tactics you can use to achieve this; explaining what you need to do, why you should do it, and how you can put it into practice. 

Work to tasks, not to clocks

Working in line with a timer has been a feature of most jobs since the advent of commercial clocks. It's a rational way of working because it's a simple method of managing people's hours.

However, there's good reason to believe it's no longer the most effective way to work and that your business can benefit from shifting to a task-based method of operation.

The approach of task-based working is to assign your employees tasks to complete instead of telling them their shift starts at X time and ends at X time.

Scientific studies have looked at the effectiveness of this method. Some of the highlighted advantages are that it makes employees more engaged with their workload (it makes work goal-focused, rather than a clock-watching exercise) and reduces the risk of burnout.

This way of working makes for a big shift in employee behavior, but it's one that could lead to greater productivity. You can achieve it with a dedicated workforce productivity suite like Sapience Vue, where you can assess how much effort is being put into tasks. Using the tool lets you see the data on employee work patterns. This means you can design their workload based on them working at moments of maximum efficiency as opposed to using the simplistic 9-5 model.

Trial working to tasks for three months and then review the results. We expect you'll be happy with what you see.

Link pay to performance 

There are many things that underpin how efficiently your employees work. Job satisfaction, career progression prospects, and training opportunities are just three examples.

However, salary is, and will always be, one of the key factors that impact efficiency. This is particularly true if there are rewards for working more productively. Hence, linking pay to performance is a great way of increasing business efficiency.

The tactic of using performance-related pay for your employees is pretty straightforward – the more they achieve; the more work they complete and the more KPIs they tick off, equals the more money they make. The result: better engaged workers who bring greater revenue to your business. Thus, everyone's a winner because success is shared.

The idea of linking salary to performance has long been a topic of debate. Those for it say it increases productivity, while those against it believe that it is a temporary uplift. Our opinion is that both of these of these arguments are valid. However, ultimately, you can make it a strategy that leads to long-term increases in business productivity.

What's the best way to achieve this? Keep the basic salary of your employees at a reasonable level and don't use their performance-based targets to water down their pay packet. Remember, while you want to change your workers' behaviour to focus more on productivity, you don't want them to worry each month about needing to hit targets to be able to eat.

You can monitor the target you set by using a tool like KPI Fire, which lets you align projects and employees to strategic goals for your business. Using this software means you can see clearly how individual workers are leading to the overall success of your organisation, making it simple to link pay to performance. 

Test using performance-related pay for your company over a defined period of time (perhaps a business quarter like the ‘work to tasks' objective) and then assess the results.

Move to a different operating system

People are creatures of habit and can be dogmatic when it comes to the operating system they use — you're either a Windows acolyte or a macOS disciple, and those on the opposing side have the wrong operating system beliefs.

Yet it's not by accident that two competing systems exist. Each has its qualities. For example, it can be argued that macOS offers a clear benefit to businesses seeking to drive up efficiency that Windows lacks. This benefit is the level of personalization Apple devices offer.

IT personalization is the ability to add shortcuts to computers, tablets, and smartphones that allow you to reach your destination faster than you would if you took the normal route. These shortcuts are simple in nature and will only save your employees a few seconds. However, this is an efficiency strategy that's built on lots of small improvements making a big impact.

Thought leadership pieces have addressed the topic of businesses and workers using shortcuts. It has been said that making changes to your keyboard alone can save eight workdays a year (3.3% of productivity) per person. Put into context, if you employ ten people on salaries of $100,000 then that equates to $33,000. The key point with moving to macOS is that shortcuts are baked into the operating system, allowing you to personalize your PC workspace (not just the keyboard).

For people committed to using Windows, it's a big (despite what some might think) behavioral change to shift to macOS. Conversely, the benefits to your business are tangible. You can reduce the finances involved when making the switch by investing in a refurbished MacBook, one where you can customise the equipment to suit your employees before they've even turned it on. Once they have their device, assign a bedding-in process. This will allow them to personalize it to the full extent of its capabilities and achieve maximum productivity from the shortcuts they add to it.

Try out moving from Windows to macOS by selecting two employees, one who is IT savvy and one who isn't. Once they've completed the bedding-in process, review their productivity. You might be surprised by the upturn in efficiency.

Using task-based work, introducing performance-related pay, and changing your operating system are three examples of how you can change employee behavior and increase the efficiency of your business.

It might be that your company currently employs some of these methods. It might be that it uses none. Whatever your position, we encourage you to try them out using the tools, techniques, and timescales we've suggested. Doing this might not save or make you millions, but we're certain that the uplift in efficiency will have a positive financial impact on your business.