For a long time we’ve had it all wrong when it comes to productivity in service industries. In a rush to increase customer and shareholder value or lower the total cost of service provision, two of the most popular strategies are proving spectacularly unsuccessful as long term bets:
1. Chasing the cheapest resource
You get what you pay for, right? So why is it that some of the largest organisations with the biggest brand image to protect have persisted with trying to find ever cheaper resource to service their customer base? Using cheaper hands means cheaper inefficiencies and we are reaching the end of the world when it comes to low cost labour. Add in the fact that customers don’t like having to deal with offshore facilities and you can see why businesses like EE are prioritising moving their services back to local providers.
2. Creating an “always on” workforce
Here’s an idea: let’s equip our workforce with mobile devices guaranteed to grant them network access 24 hours a day. It will triple our productivity, right? Wrong. Any gains that you make are only ever going to be self-determined by the employee. On a day when they’re feeling particularly motivated, you might get an extra hour but on a day when they’re not….well, you’ve just given them the reason why they’re feeling stressed all the time and checking email while watching Britain’s Got Talent.
We have productivity tools coming out of our ears and yet according to the Britain’s Healthiest Company study British companies lose on average 23.5 days of productive time per employee per year due to stress and ill health – and this includes the IT industry. Tools might offer choice, but they cannot dictate which choice a person makes.
Bring on the Robots
The solution to the productivity problem is to turn your employees into robots. I’m not joking. If you want consistent, measurable, long term gains then automation is the only answer. By taking the monotonous task or repetitive process and passing it to a robot you’ve immediately given your business something that an employee cannot – guaranteed productivity
Written by Dean Chapman – Commercial Director, Thoughtonomy