For most business owners, labor represents our most significant expense, yet are we really paying attention to how it’s being used? Far too often we see some employees being overburdened whereas others are underutilized.
Workload management is maintaining proper workload distribution among your workforce. Workload management is not giving more work to employees who are the most positive, dependable, and cooperative; while avoiding employees who ask the most questions, complain the most, or need the most help.
By making sure that no employees are overburdened while others are underutilized, you will (1) maximize opportunity, (2) make proper use of your resources, (3) facilitate load balance, (4) drive engagement, and ultimately (5) increase production. All good stuff!
Maximizing your opportunity starts with hiring the right people; identifying their skills, knowledge, and abilities (SKAs); using the employee best suited to meet specific objectives; and developing a growth oriented culture that includes stretch assignments and advancement opportunities. Don’t expect success when trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. Or worse yet, don’t expect success if you allow some round pegs to remain unproductive.
Similarly, making proper use of your resources means making the best use of each employee’s SKAs. For example, if you have a team member who is great at customer service but horribly unsuccessful when it comes to sales, take all sales tasks off his plate and allow him to do what he enjoys, because what he likes doing is often what he does best - and where he can contribute the most to your company’s success.
Facilitating load balance is strategic, whereas following the path of least resistance is not. Often times, especially in companies with a more experienced workforce, some employees will gain the reputation for being rigid or negative. Often these employees are “rewarded” by being given less work. Conversely, cooperative employees are “rewarded” by being given more work than they can handle. Survey your workforce. If you see anyone working under 70% capacity, it’s time to evaluate their SKAs and then reposition them in a role where they can contribute more toward the company’s success.
Engaged employees have a lot in common, including: alignment with company values and goals, knowledge that their input is valued, and pride in their work. They witness, among other things, that there is workload balance among their peers. An otherwise engaged employee who is swimming in work while watching their peer(s) goof off will wonder “why they bother.”
Increased production results from recognizing where each employee can contribute the most, and actively using that knowledge to your best advantage. When everyone is productive and properly contributing to the company’s success, you will have achieved load balance and made proper use of your most expensive asset.