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Strata Performance Solutions

Helping companies find their Full Potential.

July 31st, 2012 by Robert Ringstrom

Employee utilization seems to be one of those over-used business terms that poorly describes one of the most important elements in productivity.  America’s Most Productive Companies know that successful employee utilization is an active ingredient for overall success.

When human capital planning is at the top of a company’s priorities, they are sure to achieve their goals despite a potentially lean number of employees.  So, what do the most productive companies mean when they say they have impeccable employee utilization?  To successfully utilize employees, organizations should consider three elements:

  1. Each employee should have a detailed job description

  2. Employee engagement should remain a top priority

  3. Employees should be assigned an amount of work that is manageable based on their personal capabilities

Despite the complexities one might expect, human capital planning tools have made these processes easier to achieve.  Here are 3 simple steps to ensure you are utilizing your team.

1. Detailed job descriptions for all employees

Each employee’s job description should be detailed and thorough.  Just because an employee holds a specific title does not always mean that he or she will understand what is expected of them.  Setting clear boundaries for employees allows them to acknowledge their goals and understand what they are expected to accomplish.  Employees should be utilized based on their job descriptions; they will aim to be more productive if they know their limitations.  It is a common occurrence for many employees to end up working on projects that are not part of their job description.  As a manager, make sure that employee’s duties and responsibilities are clearly and effectively communicated to them on a regular basis.

2. Employee engagement is critical

Employee engagement is another major factor when considering how to use an employee to the best of their abilities.  Employees who are disengaged are less likely to achieve their goals and more likely to avoid exceeding expectations, but employees who feel respected and valued will produce double the work that a disengaged employee produces.  Personalized assessments are valuable tools that managers can use to better understand how to increase employee engagement.

Every employee will respond differently to the same motivators, but a good manager recognizes these differences and works with employees to create a productive work environment.

3. Workloads should be manageable (not too much, not too little)
Finally, the amount of work employees are expected to produce is the quintessential element of employee utilization.  Workload capabilities are just as diverse as employees’ engagement levels.  Organizations need to understand that an employee’s workload capabilities do not always directly correlate with their intelligence or activity levels.  Each employee can handle a certain number of tasks at a time, but this number will vary greatly throughout all levels of the company.
Strategic human capital management tools can assist organizations with the complexities involved in the employee utilization process.  The results from assessing employees can teach managers about an individual’s workload capabilities and engagement levels.
Managers should also consider open communication when trying to encourage that employees work to their full potential.  Weekly one-on-one meetings or an open-door policy will encourage employees to communicate when they are having trouble managing their projects or meeting their goals.
In order to successfully master productivity, companies should administer accurate job descriptions to each employee, keep employees engaged, and adjust each employee’s workload so that they never feel tired or burned out. Using employees to their fullest potential will result in higher productivity and a happier workforce.

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