It's a phrase thrown around so often that it loses meaning, but it's also an essential factor of any business's success. A recent OKI study found that 78 per cent of businesses intend to implement new initiatives to improve cost efficiency in the next year. Are you looking to do the same? How can you get started?
Fully optimising for the long term requires a top to bottom audit of your employees and your processes, but luckily there are things that you can do right now. We've had a closer look at four easy, inexpensive methods of quickly improving your business's efficiency.
Clarify employee expectation
The Harvard Business Review recently spoke to Jordan Cohen, a leading productivity expert and Senior Director of Organisational Effectiveness at Weight Watchers International. They asked for her advice on improving business efficiency and her first suggestion was simple – speak directly with each employee and clarify what you expect from them.
"Tell them the top two or three areas where you want them to focus. Be specific. The last thing you want is for someone to begin his day thinking, 'I have seven projects to work on, where do I start?'" she said.
Total health-related employee productivity loss accounts for 77 percent of all such (productivity) loss and costs employers two to three times more than annual healthcare expenses.
Be clear about how much time you expect employees to devote to each task, and each part of their job. Help your employees fully understand the quality of work that you're expecting, and the final outcome you want so that the way forward for them is as clear as possible.
From here you can step back and track each employee's progress, and and watch as they boost your business's efficiency.
Let your employees be autonomous
After you've set your expectations you may be tempted to micromanage each employee to ensure they are effective.
As a business owner or manager it's a natural instinct, but one that should be quickly unlearned and forgotten because autonomous employees are simply more efficient.
Once you've set expectations and targets for each employee step back and let them find their own ways to achieve them. Research shows that this approach greatly improves efficiency and even employee satisfaction, creating a healthier more successful workplace.
In fact, a Gensler study of successful workplaces found that employees who have a choice of when, where and how they work are 12 per cent more satisfied with their jobs. They also report higher effectiveness in all aspects, are more likely to see their workplaces as balanced, and are more likely to be high performing.
It's seems overly simple, but stepping back and letting your employees do their jobs could be the best way to help them and improve your business's efficiency.
Provide incentives and rewards
The majority of research findings investigating the impact of incentives and rewards on employee efficiency come to a uniform decision. Employee incentives increase efficiency and foster a positive organisational culture.
One such study of 145 businesses by the Incentive Research Foundation found that the right incentive increased employee performance by 22 per cent or more. It may take time to realise the full benefits of smart incentives, but with the right advice you can be sure yours are as effective as possible.
One way to incentivise employees is to offer free or subsidised corporate health insurance – it's a reward that's gaining popularity in businesses all over the world. It's essentially a financial incentive (which have been proven to be the most effective) but can also help facilitate a healthy culture change that may lead to better employee efficiency and satisfaction in the long term.
Adopt a healthy culture
A business's culture is a defining factor when it comes to employee health, new research from Brigham Young University shows. The study of close to 20,000 employees also found a close link between employee productivity and health.
A corporate health insurance plan is a brilliant way to provide employees with an incentive, while fostering a healthier culture to increase efficiency.
Its chief author, health science professor Ray Merrill, commented on the findings in a media release:
"Total health-related employee productivity loss accounts for 77 percent of all such (productivity) loss and costs employers two to three times more than annual healthcare expenses."
The study also found that employees who believed their employer didn't care about their health were more likely to be unproductive and that there is clear value in health initiatives in the workplace.
The first step towards providing a healthier workplace and improving your business's efficiency is an easy one to take – taking out a corporate health insurance plan tailored to your business.
Such a plan is a brilliant way to provide employees with an incentive, while fostering a healthier culture to increase efficiency. With the help of a HICA insurance advisor you can be sure that you'll receive the maximum return on investment, and that your plan is easily affordable. Get in touch today to find out more.