The year is winding down, which makes this the perfect time to reflect on your business and your work performance. Hopefully you’ll find things to celebrate while you look back on how the year went as well as areas you want to improve. After all, growth is a constant process but it’s important to recognize how far you’ve come already! At Tigerpaw, we’re committed to improving efficiencies and helping you run a better business year-round, and a year-end efficiency overhaul can set you and your business up for a successful future.
If you’d like to make this period of reflection more effective and productive, a year-end efficiency overhaul could be exactly what you need. First, let’s identify the difference between business efficiency and your own efficiency. According to Indeed, “Business efficiency refers to how much a company or organization can produce as it relates to the amount of time, money and resources needed. In other words, a business’s efficiency measures how well it can transform things like materials, labor and capital into services and products that produce revenue.” Your own personal efficiency is similar, but it’s primarily focused on your productivity, professional output, ability to achieve your goals, and the intelligent usage of your time. As they say, you get more done if you can work smarter, not harder.
Now that you know what you’re evaluating, here are a few tips for conducting a year-end efficiency overhaul for both your business as a whole and for yourself as a professional.
How to evaluate and overhaul efficiencies in your business:
Evaluate processes and identify gaps
The best place to start when conducting a year-end efficiency overhaul for your business is with your existing processes. What areas of your business are running smoothly, like a well-oiled machine? Are there any processes that seemed to be lacking or moving slower than you’d like throughout the year? If so, it’s a perfect time to identify the changes that need to be made to improve the efficiency of everyday operations at your organization.
In order to accurately evaluate your existing processes, you need to measure how things are currently working in your business. That’s why it’s crucial to work with systems like Tigerpaw that capture and collect the right information. Once you’ve identified the areas that lack efficiency, it’s time to get to work. Let’s say you wanted to reduce customer response times to improve client satisfaction: these key changes in your existing process can help with that. Or maybe there isn’t an established process in place for ensuring your inventory stays accurate. This is a gap that you can only bridge once it’s been identified and prioritized.
Address hiring constraints from the ground up
If you struggled to find and keep the talent your company needs to run efficiently over the last year, you aren’t alone. A lot of organizations are feeling hiring constraints. Part of your year-end efficiency overhaul can be taking the time to address existing hiring constraints from the ground up. According to a recent Gallup poll, 64% of surveyed employees identified higher salaries and better benefits as the key factors that attracted them to a new position or kept them at an existing one. If you want to retain the talent you have while attracting the right candidates, make sure you’re doing what you can to stay competitive in this area.
At the same time, almost as many surveyed employees—61%—identified work-life balance and improved personal wellbeing as the key factors that attracted them to a new position and kept them in their existing job. If you don’t have the budget to improve salaries and benefits in the new year, focus on creating an environment that fosters a healthy work-life balance for your employees. Another great strategy for keeping the talent you have while bridging the skill gaps you need is to help upskill your existing employees by offering training, education, and growth opportunities to the employees you already have. Finally, make sure your company’s core values are clear, realistic, and consistently upheld from the top down. That will help your employees feel secure and attract the right talent to your organization.
Stabilize your bottom line
In the same Gallup poll, 53% of surveyed employees identified better job security and stability as important elements that attracted them to new jobs. With the economy inching towards a recession, it’s more important than ever to stabilize your bottom line and amp up your company’s efficiency wherever you can. If data is being lost or miscounted across disjointed systems, your year-end efficiency overhaul should include looking at software—like Tigerpaw—that addresses these issues. Additionally, diversifying the services and products you offer can increase revenue streams that help improve your business’ bottom line. If you’re interested in additional efficiency boosts that help your business thrive during uncertain economic times, check out our free eBook packed with beneficial strategies.
Open lines of communication
One area that can slow down the efficiency of your business is communication. Does your company prioritize a culture of transparency? If so, you know that employees are often more motivated and reassured when they know how the business is doing overall. They’re also more likely to identify ways they can help that you may not have thought of and bring those ideas to your attention. Another way that you can create clear lines of communication and cut down on misunderstandings that slow your business to a halt is to make sure everyone is using the same system. When everyone can utilize the same system, you know they have access to the same data and things are documented in a visible way so everyone can stay on the same page without having to ask for clarification as often.
Be realistic with resources
What resources do you have at your disposal? Successful business efficiency lies in identifying those resources and utilizing them in optimal ways. You can do a few things to set your business up for greatness in the new year. During your year-end efficiency overhaul, make sure you take time to have a realistic look at your existing resources. You’ll want to find ways to lower costs and increase profits wherever you can.
How to evaluate and overhaul efficiencies in your work life
The best place to start when conducting a year-end efficiency overhaul for yourself is by checking in with your goals. Which ones did you attain over the past year, which ones did you ignore, and which did you achieve some progress on? Do you want to carry over any of your existing goals to the new year or start with a clean slate?
Are your goals SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely)? Use this time to renovate your work goals for the upcoming year and break them down into small, actionable targets you can hit along the way to larger achievements. At Tigerpaw, we utilize Traction to structure and manage our professional goal-setting. We also use it to stay on track with overall business and departmental goals throughout the year and in meetings. This will ensure you end next year in a better spot than you are now and help you make progress efficiently throughout the year.
Do, decide, delegate, delete
If you felt like you had a hard time focusing on what was necessary or like you had too much on your plate at work over the last year, you’re not alone. The best way to deal with a packed schedule is to prioritize. Try implementing the Eisenhower Matrix into your daily decision making to make sure the essentials are done, and your focus is pointed in the right direction. This separates your tasks into four sections each day: do, decide, delegate, and delete. It can help keep your focus sharp without letting essential projects fall through the cracks. If decision-making is something you struggle with at work, these tips can also help.
Strategic breaks can help
While it may seem counterintuitive, taking strategic breaks throughout the workday can often help you get more work done. If you aren’t great at remembering to get up and walk around every now and then to reset your focus and improve your efficiency, you can always set a timer as a reminder. Another way you can use timers to take breaks that improve your efficiency is by utilizing the Pomodoro method.
Identify skill gaps
While you don’t have resources to evaluate in the same way a business does, you can evaluate your skillset during your year-end efficiency overhaul instead. Think about it like this: if you understood something better or knew how to do something you don’t yet know how to do, would that help your work performance next year? Make a list of any skill gaps or areas you feel like you need to learn more about and find ways to target them in the upcoming year. You could seek out a mentor, find someone who you can learn from by shadowing on the job at work, find relevant online courses and certifications, or even turn to informative books and podcasts on your areas of interest.
Don’t forget to balance the personal with the professional
Your own year-end efficiency overhaul should take your work-life balance into account. If you want to do better in your current job but don’t factor in balance with your personal life, it can lead to burnout, dissatisfaction at work, and more. Make sure you’re making time for the things you love to do outside of work and making time for the people who matter most to you (as well as taking care of yourself). Identify any area you feel like you’ve been neglecting over the last year and set a goal to focus on it a little more each week over the next year.
Maybe you feel like you haven’t made any time for a hobby you used to enjoy, so you can carve out one hour a week just for it. Maybe you haven’t been utilizing your PTO and haven’t seen your friends or family as much as you’d like to, so you can plan a trip or even a staycation that includes them. Balancing the personal with the professional is essential if you want to be as efficient and successful as possible.
A year-end efficiency overhaul of your business and of yourself as a professional will help you jumpstart your goals and set you up for success in the new year. Hopefully you’ll get a lot of insight out of the process as a whole and it will be something you repeat year after year from now on.
If you’re serious about improving your business’ overall efficiency, you need the right technology on your side. Learn more about how Tigerpaw’s all-in-one platform makes it easier to build a more efficient business so you can sleep better at night.