“ The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. “ – Bill Gates
The success of a company is dependent on its ability to deliver results. In all companies, this rings true — whether it be it in providing the finished product, in garnering millions of page views, or in delivering a service to the customer: results are what ultimately matter.
And to get results, a company needs efficient employees and company practices. By definition, efficiency is “the ability to avoid wasting materials, energy, efforts, money, and time in doing something or in producing a desired result.” How can the employer or the HR instill the virtue of efficiency in its employees? Here are 5 useful tips on how to maximize efficiency at work.
1. Set up a company culture based on efficiency
Taking to heart the above quote by Bill Gates, the management should set up a company culture which is based on efficiency.
For instance, the simple practice of sending e-mails could be made more efficient. The sender can finish the e-mail by typing “No Reply Necessary.” The result? Less time wasted on decluttering useless Thank You e-mails, and more time can be focused on doing productive work instead.
However, keep in mind that quality must not be sacrificed for the sake of efficiency. It means following the proper processes, and not cutting corners or having a “pwede na yan” mentality.
2. Consider ability over experience
Perhaps an unconventional tip for the employer is to consider hiring employees based on pure skill and ability. The hiring climate in the Philippines is especially stubborn because it insists on “years of experience” as an absolute requirement for hiring.
Take a page out of Google’s handbook: “We hire people who are smart and determined, and we favor ability over experience.”
The best way to go about this is by administering tests to the employee, to check if he can deliver the tasks which are expected of his job description. For a company to progress, delivering results should actually be prioritized rather than stacks of CVs with nothing to show up for.
3. Delegate tasks properly to avoid down time
Not all actions need a go signal by the big boss. There actually is a term for that: “red tape”, which means excessive bureaucracy or overly adhering to rules and formalities.
Employees thus need to know the bounds within which they can act and make judgment calls. When the employee is able to make small, minor decisions by himself without needing to be handheld by his superior, efficiency will be the end result.
To quote Tim Ferriss , author of the 4 Hour Work Week: “Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated or streamlined. Otherwise, you waste someone else’s time instead of your own, which now wastes your hard-earned cash. How’s that for incentive to be effective and efficient?”
4. Avoid unnecessary meetings
Lots of business tycoons and entrepreneurs have praised the advantages of avoiding meetings at the workplace as a secret to their success. Meetings can be quite repetitive and unnecessary, and sometimes a meeting habit develops instead of actually getting work done.
Weekly meetings are okay, but does it have to be an hour long? Hourly meetings are okay, but is it really necessary; or can the agenda be given through a concise e-mail instead?
Rethinking the meeting culture can do great wonders for doing productive work. However, for the times that meetings are actually necessary, there must be 3 rules to keep in mind: It must be straight to the point; the Agenda must be clear to everyone involved, so that the session would not amount to just idle chit chat; and third, the meeting should be a means of setting a timeline of goals to be accomplished within the week.
5. Improve office communication
Last but definitely not the least, office communication must be improved. Communication comes in many forms: it may be in the form of e-mails; or through coordination by different departments who are dependent on each other’s work; the grievance machinery for first level complaints to the HR, and so on and so forth.
Office communication is a key to efficiency because it can lead to better collaboration and time management. Even something as simple as the office layout could stand to be re-evaluated: “Departments which work closely together should be placed side by side!” or, “Would the creative team work better if the cubicles were removed?” These seem like small considerations, but asking these questions are important because they may end up benefitting the company in the long run.