Creating self-starters with the right workplace tools

From a management perspective there are a number of ways to painlessly and judiciously boost the productivity of even the self-starters on your team. The typical internal monologue inspired by receiving “the talk” goes something like, “Well, I could be getting a lot more done if I wasn’t wasting my time in this sit-down,” and, snarky as this may be, it contains a kernel of truth.

According to Michael Mankins, a partner at Bain & Company and the co-author of “Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power,” the average business loses around a quarter of its productive capacity to processes written into its organizational bureaucracy. As such, management has the opportunity to significantly improve its workforce’s productivity and create more self-starters simply by unleashing the potential lost to “organizational drag.” In other words, in most situations a manager need not ask her team to increase its output, only its efficiency.

The average business loses around a quarter of its productive capacity to processes written into its organizational bureaucracy.

But what is the most effective way to approach mitigating organizational drag? While there are many approaches that may differ from company to company, we believe that automated workplace tools are a great starting point.

At first glance, the connection between self-starters, autonomy and automated workplace tools may seem like a stretch, but a closer look reveals that the two are often closely related. Employee autonomy must be built first and foremost on trust, but this doesn’t mean that managers should adopt a completely hands-off approach. Giving employees their space, allowing them to work in whatever manner they prefer as long as they produce, is certainly a key step toward building autonomy. That being said, a manager’s job is still, well, management, and even within environments where a premium has been placed on autonomy, managers still need to retain the ability to monitor productivity.

Employee autonomy must be built first and foremost on trust, but this doesn’t mean that managers should adopt a completely hands-off approach.

This is where automation tools come in handy. By enabling managers to keep tabs on what their employees’ have and haven’t accomplished, automated learning management software affords comprehensive oversight without the necessity of constantly looking over employee shoulders. Automated LMSs facilitate team growth and can even help build company culture by delivering what we call “just-in-time learning.” With this kind of tool, managers are able to craft company learning materials and distribute them based on what any given employee has already completed, encouraging self-paced learning and guaranteeing that the right employee gets the right information at the right time.
The automated learning process delivered by a good LMS ensures that employees gain access to the insights they need at the precise moment they need them – neither too soon nor too late. As a result, fostering efficiency no longer requires managers to constantly probe employees with well-intentioned but invasive questions about how things are coming along. An automated LMS offers managers the ability to orchestrate team growth, productivity, and efficiency all without having to micromanage employees’ everyday operations. In this way, employee autonomy is actually reinforced by automated workplace tools, a development that reduces organizational drag.

 

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