Three years in the human resources field with one full year of experience specializing in recruitment and selection.
With 2020 being so unpredictable, businesses are really counting on their employees to stay consistent and deliver results. But how do you manage employees in such unpredictable times? How do you create a standard where there was none before? The key lies in building and maintaining strong foundations in the workplace that allow your employees to work in an environment that promotes consistency and efficiency.
Consistency brings order to an organization. It helps to determine a standard. For example, a business that consistently delivers exceptional service has set the standard for their success. They become predictable and that can bring a lot of comfort to high-paying clients. Similarly, an employer who is consistently honest and transparent with the employees sets the standard for honesty and transparency within the workplace.
Imagine working in an environment where there is no consistency. How do you calculate progress? and how do you determine success? Implementing strategies to maintain consistency is what I believe sets a business apart from its competitors.
Proven Tactics for Creating Consistency and Efficiency
Observe. Watch various departments in action. It’s surprising what you may find. I once spent a week in another department at my old job and realized that one employee spent almost a full hour each week going all the way down to the basement floor just to get office supplies. They were on the 18th floor! I brought it up at the next meeting and almost immediately arrangements were made for supplies to be delivered to that specific floor. This company also took time to create a designated place on that floor for the storage of frequently used office supplies. Situations like that can result in much more efficiency. It may seem like just an hour but in a year that’s approximately 52 hours, and those hours can now be allocated to other more important tasks. You may notice who is and who isn’t working in an efficient manner and even those observations can cause changes that create a more productive workplace.
Lead by Example. Epictetus once said “Make it your business to draw out the best in others by being an exemplar yourself.” If those in charge prove time and time again that they themselves work in a consistent and efficient manner, people do take notice. Employees will naturally mimic behaviours of their superiors and slowly, a ripple effect occurs and this behaviour becomes the norm. Be patient, building a foundation for any type of behaviour will take time but I believe it can start with one person willing to make a change.
Determine your obstacles. Ask yourself what is standing in the way of smooth operation. It could be an old system still in place that needs to be revamped or an employee with poor performance 3 quarters in a row. Jot down solutions for those obstacles. For example, if you notice performance issues with a particular department, analyze the factors that could contribute to that. Maybe the new hire needs more training, or the old methods are not working. If you know the reason behind the issues, it is a lot easier to work out the kinks.
Be comfortable having hard conversations. As an employer, I understand that it can be nerve-racking to have difficult conversations with those that are not meeting standards. But it is those very conversations that define you as a manager and as a business. These conversations actually build trust with the people you work with. As long as the conversations are kept constructive and honest the employee, despite feeling bad at the time, will actually be motivated to work more productively and efficiently.
Develop a recognition program based on behaviour. Think of elementary school and the traditional “gold star” sticker you would get when you went above and beyond. The same concept works in the proverbial office environment. It could be as inexpensive as a shout out at the next office meeting, or a gift card to the local coffee shop. What is most important is that the employees understand that the reward is given based on behaviour that is exemplary of office culture. Employees need to know that these rewards are not result-driven. When rewards are result-driven (especially monetary rewards) the focus can shift from a happy work environment to a competitive environment. I have seen this method have adverse effects and in turn, employees can (not all do!) actually become less efficient.
Whatever tactic or tactics you choose, make sure ample time is given to execute the strategy. Changing employee behaviour will not happen overnight. But rest assured that the benefits of planning and executing a plan for consistency in the workplace are completely worth it. It just takes one person with the confidence to try. In the wise words of Dolly Parton “If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one.”
McEntire, Margaret. (April 15, 2019) Best Practices: Promoting Consistency Within A System. International Franchise Association. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
Vending Group staff. (June 6, 2020) Why Consistency Matters to Your Employees. The Vending Group. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
wikiHow Staff. (August 11, 2020) How to Implement Efficient Strategies. wikiHow. Retrieved September 26, 2020.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.