I got a note this morning from a friend and former colleague regarding a trending topic about employee engagement:
"#HowIStaySaneInMyWorkspace" is trending on twitter. It would be interesting to gram highlights for a bklog post on productivity.
There were a great number of references to the various alcoholic solutions, but the trend was very real.
Funny to be sure, but the hashtag #HowIStaySaneInMyWorkspace backs up the data:
The New York Times took a look Why You Hate Work and concluded that people don’t enjoy work because they don’t get to do what they enjoy and feel drowned by the volume of busy work that they have. In short, employee engagement is at an all time low. Here’s what they found:
Answer: Automating minor, repetitive tasks and processes to increase employee engagement.
There are tens (hundreds, at some companies) of tasks at most companies that can be automated in this way. Here’s a recent example that added hours back to a company who automated small tasks that historically took up a lot of time, but added very little value in terms of having an employee do them versus a machine. Hopefully this will get you thinking about how you can do this at your company.
At a large youth soccer club, ordering jerseys for the 50+ teams in the club was a highly manual, very tedious task involving sending the same series of emails over and over again, clarifying the same things, and tracking all of it in email (this is equivalent to the work done while provisioning new accounts at tech companies–or doing a technology refresh).
What they did to free up hours of employee time was set up a system where they could build a templated message with merge fields, send the message to a large group of people, and then have those people list the task as “completed” as they finished them with built in automated follow ups if the task wasn’t completed.
By creating a process that allowed them to do all of the normal set up work once, and then have the system automate completion, tracking, and clarification they freed up time for employees to make other systems better, focus on larger projects, and spend less time doing a task that’s essential, but non-complex.
Whether it’s HR emails, setting teams up in Slack, or getting a new employee set up with a computer, there are numerous tasks at every company that can benefit from a system like this that will free up employee time for higher value tasks that both benefit the business and result in happier employees. Not only that, but these tasks being automated increases the accountability of those processes (the system will show you any bottlenecks) and ensure that no balls get dropped.
The number one thing employees lack is regular time for strategic, creative thinking. Automating the little things creates this time and empowers employees to innovate rather than simply pull the levers that keep the business going. Employee engagement, especially focused around strategic and complex tasks, can be a huge driver for your business. Thinking this way for you business will create not only better processes and better products, but happier employees and more satisfied customers.
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