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Building an Efficient Workforce


In this job market, when hiring is more difficult than any other time in recent history, maximizing the workforce you already have is crucial. Read on to learn how.

To build a more efficient workforce, you must first understand your organization’s current capacity. In other words, you want to know the ideal capacity level your team should be aiming for. 

Organizational structures are built assuming every “full time employee” is performing their job duties as the jobs were designed. But too frequently employees are not performing at that full capacity. 

Employee under-performance can happen for several reasons:

  • They don’t have the necessary skills to perform the job
  • They may not have had the training, or the time, to learn every job duty
  • They aren’t putting forth the effort needed to accomplish all of the tasks
  • They are busy doing someone else’s job 

It’s important to get clear on the percentage of full capacity each employee is currently performing. Do this by assessing each employee based on how much of their job description is actually being done the right way. Assign a percentage to each employee. 

Important note: the performance percentage does not directly equate to how “good” or “bad” an employee is. It’s simply how in-line their performance is with their role. In some cases, where for example an employee is performing someone else’s duties and not their own, the under performance is not their fault. 

Once you have percentages for all of your employees, add them up and divide by the number of planned full-time employees. This calculation will show you your organization’s operating capacity, so you can get to work on improving it. 

What do you do with this “organizational capacity” measure? You can use it to see if and where you should hire, cut back or keep going.

When you look at organization key performance indicators, if your organization or department are not achieving objectives, it’s likely your team is performing below 100% capacity. Your calculation can verify that. Conversely, If the KPIs are being met, and the capacity is below 100%, the goals and objectives might be too low, or the organization may have too many employees.  

Having too many employees can also explain why the organization can’t provide competitive compensation. In this job market competitive compensation is a minimum requirement, so this alone is reason enough to learn your capacity. 

So how can all this capacity information help you build an efficient workforce? 

To build a more efficient workforce, you need to go back to your organization and job design.  You have to balance the expectations of the job with the compensation you’re willing to pay – you may find that the skill sets aren’t available at what you’re willing to pay, in which case you need to redesign the job or re-examine what you’re willing to pay.  This will be a constant balance to find the right mixture.  

When you know you have realistic jobs, go back to the individual employees and try to find out why they aren’t meeting their expectations.  At that point, you’ll need to determine how much more help employees may need, or whether some just will never be a good fit for the jobs you have today.

The most important thing that management has to understand is that its needs are constantly evolving and that change is inevitable – in its organization structure, its jobs, and its people… and that the amount you are willing to pay will need to change to meet that evolution.