Has Your Staff Hit the Productivity Wall?

Thursday, December 20 at 07:00 AM
Category: Business Banking
To survive lean times, business owners find themselves needing to tighten staff, expecting employees to accomplish more with fewer people. In a recent survey of human resources professionals, 8 out of 10 respondents reported that their companies had increased workloads compared with before the recession.*
The good news: Productivity continues to increase in the U.S. largely due to technology advances and employers’ reluctance to hire. The bad news: Reluctance to hire results in a larger burden on existing staff and can lead to workplace burnout – and, potentially, decline in productivity. 
The Tipping Point 
Identifying the tipping point when there is simply too much work for current employees and productivity starts to fall off is key to maintaining a healthy and secure workplace. Here are some signs that your staff may be hitting their productivity wall:
  • Costly errors begin to happen. If the frequency of errors is increasing and mistakes are becoming more serious, that could mean your employees are cutting corners to get things done or that they do not have adequate time to follow important quality control steps. They may also only have time to put out the immediate fires of each day rather than come up with long-term solutions and effective processes that can improve productivity. 
  • Employee engagement drops. There may be less camaraderie among employees because they can’t afford to leave their desks or work stations. They tend to cocoon and isolate themselves from others. Morale, the sharing of ideas and best practices, and teamwork all suffer.
  • More health issues and sick time reported. When employees are strained to their limits and struggle to keep up with increasing workloads, they may feel like they are failing their employer, co-workers and families. This stress often leads to serious, long-term health issues. They may neglect their own health by exercising less and adopt unhealthy habits to cope with increased pressures, such as eating poorly or too much, drinking or falling into other addictive behaviors. 
  • Clients begin to complain of poor service. Once internal employee stress is apparent to your clients or customers, your staff is definitely beyond the tipping point. This is especially true if your company is a service business that relies on strong client relationships. You may need to step back from less valuable clients in order to allow your employees to give more time and attention to your company’s pivotal ones. 
Don’t Risk Future Growth
In the long run, having to replace valuable employees who may choose to look elsewhere in an improving job market is more expensive than adding the staff necessary to balance workloads now. Employers who remain too frugal may be jeopardizing future growth, corporate reputation and employee engagement. 

The views of this article are for general information use only.  Please contact and speak with a subject expert or your banker when specific advice is needed.  Find articles like this and much more in the online Arvest Biz Center
Tags: Arvest Biz, Business Banking, Managing Employees
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