With the downturn of the economy in recent years, many organizations were forced to figure out how to be as productive as before but do it with less help. Even though things seem to be picking up, many companies are still running very lean while increasing output.
Doing more with less seems like a smart thing to do. It can be. The way most companies are going about it however, is creating employees who work on a lot of stuff, but never actually get anything done.
Allowing employees to never focus on anything makes it nearly impossible for them to ever actually get anything done.
I have talked to professionals who were in marketing and now have IT responsibilities. Or people in HR who now own part of finance. I recently met someone who is so frustrated and contacted me to help him start a job search because he is in sales, but his emloyer had to lay people off and now put him in charge of operations as well – which he knows nothing about.
While I understand the necessity of cutting back on employees that many people have faced in recent years, the longer employers keep this strategy in their workplaces, the unhappier their employees are going to become. Not focused and not happy means very little productivity. It also means high turnover.
That’s a little counterintuitive to the original purpose right?
For years the ability to multitask has been praised as a great trait for people to have. Therefore, giving employees different types of things to do doesn’t seem like it would be that bad of an idea. According to research though, it is. Humans actually aren’t that great at multitasking – at least not if we want things to be done well.
So here’s the question I think is important for leaders to ask. Are my employees able to focus on their role or are they being pulled in so many directions that nothing is getting done? If you really want to get an E for effort, you could ask them. Ask them what tasks keep them away from being truly productive. You may find processes that are broken, work that is being placed on the wrong person or things to keep in mind for the future if you are not able to do anything about it right now.
Doing more with less may seem like a smart business strategy, but eventually you’ll be getting less done with more unhappy employees.