The changing nature of today’s distributed and digital workplaces is creating a shift in how organisations operate. Organisations often struggle to come up with quality internal management processes, however, increasing productivity through operational efficiency is a strategic move that is necessary for positive growth.
Productivity and its challenges
Modern workplaces achieve higher productivity when they are focused on team-based, social and collaborative skills. Time pressures and mobile technology within popular industries create a new approach to work that is less dependent on the geographical location of workers, fostering an environment of productivity across borders and removing other challenges that would affect the traditional workplace.
This is a result of organisations and workplaces becoming leaner and agile, and more focused on the customer perspective.
So why are a high number of organisations failing on this point?
Global management consultancy firm, Hay Group, found that for more than five million employees across the world, productivity is one of the major challenges that global companies are facing together with collaboration, agility, innovation and transparency.
Most companies fail to come up with strategies that can address these challenges. Other challenges also include the following:
- Poor management
- Employee dissatisfaction
- External distractions (emails, mobile devices, environmental factors)
- Poor performance assessment system
- Outdated internal process system
(The Harvard Business review developed an in-depth article about how we came to a point where employees in organisations do so much but still score low on productivity scales. Although the article is not recent, its facts and points are still relevant today, over 20 years later. Read it here: The New Productivity Challenge.)
Efficient internal process and productivity
It’s important now more than ever for organisations to understand how collaborative tools and effective internal communication can increase workforce productivity.
Internal processes can generally exhaust several management processes. From operations to customer service to regulatory and social management, there can be many facets involved in a single process. Although each of these facets is important and helps achieve some goal, organisations may not be making use of each department in the most efficient way. Organisations find ways to improve resource-heavy key business processes by using dedicated tools.
Collaborative tools such as an intranet is just one all-encompassing way to increase productivity and improve business processes. In fact, connected employees within an organisation can improve productivity by 20-25% which equates to a potential improvement in revenue of up to $1.3 million a year. These possibilities prompt small, medium and large companies alike to invest in these tools.
These possibilities look very positive, but an improvement in productivity is determined by how efficiently and how often employees use an intranet and other tools. Prescient Digital Media found that 13% of employees reported using their organisation’s intranet daily while 31% of employees reported they never participate. This is where the new challenge for companies lies. How can an organisation make their intranet interesting, useful and valuable enough that employees actually use it?
Managing processes and tracking workflows through the intranet
Intranets, among other collaborative tools in the market, are viewed as a catalyst of better workflow tracking and management within organisations. For example, within an intranet, an organisation can employ the usual processes and features of a newsletter, event management (best for conferences and meeting scheduling), social feeds, collaborative workspaces, publishing options, document management, reports and analytics, search options, etc.
These are some of the most popular and useful features in an intranet, but let’s focus on four options that the typical intranet user may overlook which could actually improve business processes across the organisation for a more efficient organisation:
●Subscriptions to notifications
Tracking management enable users in organisations to generate articles to track and manage their internal processes. This intranet feature will simply ask users to fill in a form about initial information that needs to be managed which can then support tasks and documents among other elements to enable efficient tracking management.
Notifications are sometimes thought to discourage employees from being productive. However, the right notifications can lead to more personalised, useful updates for users and help them with accessing resources that are relevant to their role. Notifications can be received by an intranet user can through emails or any preferred notification feature. Employees of different departments might see different notifications that are relevant to them and help them be more efficient or discover content.
Training manager features can help intranet users create and register for courses or training days. Including this feature within an intranet encourages personal and professional development, and leads to employees gaining new skills which they can put into practice in the organisation.
Finally, form creators are a popular intranet feature. But what makes this feature really useful to employees is how you present the tool to them and what they can achieve with it. For example, allowing employees to access a designer tab can help them easily visualise a form through drag and drop functions. Templates also mean form creation can become an easier process. These online forms can be attached to workflow automation to trigger faster approvals.
Want to learn more about how intranets can help manage internal processes? Read our in-depth post on Intranet Best Practices.
Collaborate and manage
To summarise, productivity within an organisation can be improved by the following:
- Address employee-related productivity challenges by going to the root cause
- Provide employees an avenue to collaborate i.e. collaborative tools, intranet
- Provide a system that makes internal processes easy and understandable
- Update your internal processes and workflows as they change and grow with the organisation.
Making employees feel that they are part of your organisation and giving them an avenue to interact with each other can be an effective and surefire way to build a positive and inclusive workforce culture. This in turn can boost efficiency and productivity while also reducing operational costs.
And of course, at the end of the day, always assess the steps and tools you’ve implemented to find areas to improve and perfect.