(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at Kronos, a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Mark your calendars! The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Kronos are hosting a special #NextChat on January 4, 2017 at 3p Eastern, to discuss creating organizational cultures where employees are working more engaged. Hope you can join the conversation. Enjoy the post!)
We’ve spent a lot of time on this blog talking about engagement. And engagement is important. Managers need to build and maintain positive, trusting relationships with employees. Employees need to feel connected to their work.
However, organizations could be undermining their engagement and productivity efforts with too much administration, according to a new research report from Kronos titled “The $687B Question.” While I would encourage you to download the full report for details, the big takeaway is that the estimated potential opportunity cost of time wasted on unnecessary administration is – you guessed it – $687 billion. Which equates to roughly $4,500 per employee per year.
One of the most fascinating aspects for me was the realization this isn’t just a U.S. problem. Unnecessary administration is a global issue. In every country surveyed (Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, U.K., Canada, Mexico, U.S., India, and China), most respondents said their working life was not too complicated. However, the margins weren’t significant. On average, 54 percent felt their working life wasn’t complicated compared to 46 percent who did.
The 5 Top Challenges Facing Organizations
When you look at what the specific issues are, the areas of difficulty (and complexity) were similar across countries as well. The top difficulties (with over 50% of respondents in each country rating it as an issue) were:
- Not enough staff. It’s true – recruiting has gotten tougher. Organizations are going to have to step up their sourcing strategies to find the best talent. Even if that means developing talent from within. Recruiting needs to be more about action and less about paperwork.
- Poor technology/lack of automation. When most adults conduct their personal lives on smartphones and tablets, they expect the companies they work for to have current technology. That includes automating processes like recruiting, performance management, and growing opportunities for employee self-service.
- Management pressure. Yes, the numbers are important and management is tasked with making the numbers. But making the numbers at the expense of people is the same as stepping over dollars to pick up quarters. Managers need time to manage people as well as processes.
- Maintaining consistent high levels of customer service during busy periods. Employees should not be torn about serving the customer. Organizations exist because of their customers. Reducing administration gives employees more time to sell more products/services and resolve customer issues.
- Heavy/unrealistic workload. Just because recruiting is tougher doesn’t mean that current employees can pick up all the slack. That is not a sustainable business strategy. Organizations need to develop contingent worker strategies to maintain productivity.
So, what’s the productivity solution? Well for starters, organizations need to spend less time on administration and more time on communication. Nearly three out of every four employees surveyed (73 percent) said better communication with management will help them feel more engaged and stay with the company. Specifically, employees said they wanted more communication in three areas:
- The company’s direction and goals,
- The employee’s future with the organization, and
- Management recognition for their efforts.
I think it’s also important to note that managers are employees too! There’s a lot of talk about “managers need to do this…” and “managers need to do that…” Organizations also need to make sure managers are freed from administration burden so they can dedicate more time to value adding activities, like communicating with their teams (as well as training, customer service, etc.) Taking care of management administration can mitigate and minimize many of those top challenges employees identified.For Engagement, Employees Need to Feel Connected to Their Work #WorkEngagedClick To Tweet
Employee engagement and productivity is connected to the entire organization. While it starts with the manager and employee relationship, it also involves business functions such as staffing, technology, and operations. The less time that managers and employees have to focus on administration; the more time they have to focus on the business, developing their people, and their customers’ needs.
If you want to take a deep dive into the data, you can download the full report or listen to the results via webinar. And remember to mark your calendars now for a special SHRM #NextChat on January 4, 2017 at 3p Eastern, where SHRM and Kronos will host a conversation about organizational cultures where employees are working more engaged. (Oh, and if you’re not familiar with a Twitter Chat, here’s a quick video to explain.)