Workplace Capacity Management

I recently assisted in a HR process where we were tasked to analyse the working capacity of the staff compliment within a business. I was astounded to report that a group of technicians voluntarily admitted to only working approximately 40% of the required working hours and spent the rest of the time watching YouTube videos. This means that in an 8-hour day, they only worked for around 3 and a half hours yet were being paid for a full day.

In this particular case, the technicians are reliant on the sales team for workload, but none of the technicians put their hands up to help other divisions or used their initiative to utilise their free time more effectively for the business.

Employees often just do what they believe is their job is or what is listed on their job description even if it does not keep them busy for 8 hours a day and then they are surprised when their company is not doing well and need to consider making positions redundant.

As a business owner myself, I get so frustrated at this kind of attitude, but I have realised that it is up to us as leaders to TEACH our employees how to use their time, skills and experience for a full 8 hours per day. And, we need to create working environments that encourage good work ethic. It is ironic that new job entrants outspokenly want independence but require micro-management to ensure effective performance.

We’ve all heard leaders say they want new hires to have go-getter attitudes. I am one of these people that expects this in my employees. If you don’t have initiative you won’t do well in my environment. But the reality is that this approach can’t be found inside everyone, and its difficult to assess prior to employment.

Business leaders need to encourage:

  • Supportive environments, where employees feel they can approach leadership with issues, and that their thoughts and ideas are valuable – this will give them the courage to take initiative in other areas of the business.
  • Encourage employees to support another team member. Remind employees that it’s not all about coming up with the idea but also helping to move the idea forward is just as valuable.
  • Remind employees that tomorrow may never come. What you are capable of doing today should be done today.
  • Ensure employees are aware that they are expected to work for the full 8 hours they are being paid for.

Taking initiative means fighting procrastination. In the case of these technicians, the step to taking initiative is within them somewhere, but they just don’t realise that they can do it, let alone expected to do it.

Showing, and taking, initiative is not a one-day mindset. It’s an everyday process that needs continual inspiration. It’s just a matter of encouraging them, opening communication and creative freedom, you may find that you’ve had a group of team players that can think outside the box and propose ideas you would never have thought of. These technicians could still be viewing YouTube videos in their free time, but rather watching videos to improve their skills as part of professional development, rather than watching funny videos which just landed them up in hot water.

Are you sure all your staff are busy for a full day?