While work-from-home has dominated many conversations amid the sea changes that have rippled through organizations this year, there is more to the story. It involves over-extended team members drowning in an ocean of urgency, longer hours and emotional detachment.
VitalSmarts conducted a survey of 1,292 people that showed 59% of employees underwent a reduction or restructure that rocked the team dynamics and size, spurring overwhelm and disengagement. Amid the change, workload often was upped as the remaining employees were asked to do more with less, according to 82% of the respondents.
The same study asserts, “even for those who have avoided a reduction or restructure, life at work still feels harder than ever. The most common challenges people are facing–regardless of changes to their team–range from a lack of focus and increased mental clutter, to an unusual amount of anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed, to not enough time to an overflowing email inbox.”
Optimize the Talent You Have in Place
In the wake of a restructure or reduction whereby employees feel the weight of having to do more with less, VitalSmarts survey suggests leadership implement these five actions:
- Enable team-member time-off, as needed/requested to stay mentally clear (18%)
- Support people to decline non-critical work (12%)
- Trim down meetings (12%)
- Creatively engage overwhelmed team members (6%)
- Craft a clear vision for critical work (3%)
“The key to doing more with less isn’t about working longer, faster, or harder,” says Justin Hale, researcher at VitalSmarts and co-designer of Getting Things Done®, Training. “It’s not about just doing more. It’s about doing more of the right things and finding ways to renegotiate or reprioritize less critical tasks. It’s about working smarter, not harder.”
Use Automation to Refocus Energy
Further underscoring the value of lightening the load on your people, Maggie Mazzetti, in the article, SMBs Can Do More With Less During Times of Change, suggests being proactive in areas (such as customer relationship management) that can get bogged down when trying to do more with fewer resources.
This may include building a technology-enhanced customer service response “that punches above your weight. Powerful tools like AI-powered chatbots, automation and online help centers … can answer common questions and resolve simple customer issues,” suggests Mazzetti. This liberates your team to handle weightier issues while speeding customer responses.
Nearly 20% of the companies who’ve managed to keep resolution times stable, amid volume increases, have added at least 10 new tools since February to boost process efficiencies.
Jessica Nguyen, chief legal officer for Lexion, in an interview with Law.com, reinforces the value of automating tasks, underpinning the initiative with a deep-dive workflow assessment. Specifically, Nguyen describes the importance of “drilling down into the workflow, walking through a workflow from start to finish, and identifying which aspect of those workflows can be improved upon, which can be automated, which kind of work should you be doing at all? It’s really doing the analysis customized to your unique business.”
Pro Tip: Lever’s Automation Workflows provide a set of configurable automation ‘building blocks’ to help your team introduce greater efficiencies to your recruiting process. This feature will make your team more productive by automating repetitive work performed by recruiters in Lever. Automatically archive, tag, email or advance candidates based on application and opportunity stage.
Unlock Value by Tightening Spending
Honing in on spending to ensure high-value, low-waste outcome, critical to organizations caught in the upheaval of a market crisis is another way to ensure solidity, despite financial fragility. This McKinsey article describes the benefits of implementing a “spend control tower” (SCT) to ensure the right amount is being spent, no more and no less.
In what may seem like a counterintuitive way of unlocking P&L value and employee vitality, the article describes how the SCT pragmatically attaches savings to the bottom line, while also promoting, the “culture of ownership, agile ways of working and fact-based discussion that will continue to help management teams deliver greater impact over time.”
With a renewed focus on fundamentals, the SCT approach “can help companies prioritize critical expenditures and reset their spending bases accordingly,” according to the McKinsey article. Done well, this process is deliberate and disciplined and energizing, a much-needed empowerment amid the challenges of watchful spending required to do more with less.
Another McKinsey article provides a benefits snapshot of the spend-control tower that includes such items as stopping discretionary spending and consolidating spend to preferred vendors.
The value of focusing on the right things with the right tools while treating your people right underpins the “do more with less” philosophy. Pragmatic, actionable change management that responds to internal and external customer needs with automation, agility and respect will drive your company’s growth, sustainability and marketplace reputation.
Final Thoughts: Acquire the Right-Fit Talent to Steer Your Ship Forward
While the marketplace continues to ebb and flow and the future still feels uncertain, you can be certain of this: people and the unique value they bring to your organization are the foundation of your company’s future. Top notch talent acquisition and retention strategies amid a climate of disruption is more important than ever — the right people in the right roles will help ensure the right strategies to steer your ship forward.
Contact Lever today to learn more about their low-cost Do More With Less program that meets companies where they are today to help make your job of finding the right-fit talent easier.