Our latest guest on HR Insiders was actually the first guest ever featured over three years ago! It was great to have Dr. Stevie Dawn back on the show and we had a fantastic chat with her about productivity. Especially as HR professionals, productivity can be difficult to manage, but her insights apply to everyone trying to streamline and improve their personal and professional productivity.
Stevie highlighted three common problem areas that are secretly killing your productivity, this week we’ll be taking a look at the first problem. If you’d like to catch the full conversation, you can listen to it here. Read on to hear from Stevie in her own words.
One of the reasons productivity starts to fall apart or wane is because we get stuck in bad processes. Often, we have processes at work that have been the same for years and we haven’t updated them, or maybe we’ve never stopped to ask, “Does the process actually make sense? Is it efficient? Is it effective?” We’ve all been in places where the process required 20 steps, but we knew we could do it in two.
From an HR perspective, addressing productivity starts with being able to look at the processes within the organization that the employees are struggling with and saying, “Are these effective? Are these things we need to do?” And then, for our own work, are these things we should be doing in this format? Is this still serving us? We need to really take that moment to review a process, not just keep doing it because it’s what we’ve always done.
Personal Processes & Productivity
When I work with an HR professional to do a productivity audit, I look at their personal calendar first. Before we address any huge organizational inefficiencies, we have them walk through the productivity issues that they’re having personally. We live in a world today where we live by our calendars. Too often we’re not in control of our calendars, they control us.
The first step in assessing personal productivity to look at the process for how your schedule is set up. If your calendar is so full that you can’t identify a place where you get to take a break or get to have a conversation, I can already tell that you’re setting yourself up for failure. It can feel like you’re maximizing productivity, but really it’s an inefficient process. When your calendar is that full, you can’t deal with a crisis, and especially in HR, we often live as firefighters dealing with crises.
To address your personal processes to boost productivity, start with answering one question, “How many hours a week am I doing the work that truly matters?” If it’s not more hours than everything else, then you need to do some tweaking and make improvements.
The Work That Matters
In a staff position, the work that matters is the work that you’re being judged on. I relate it to being back in school. Some of us were overachievers and some of us were those people who just did whatever they knew was going to be graded. If it wasn’t going to be graded, it didn’t need to get done.
Similarly, as a staff member, we should always do the work that’s going to be “graded” first. What are we being asked to do by our boss or our boss’s boss? What is the requirement of the job? What time are you spending not doing that work? What time are you spending helping Joe in the other department because he asked? Does that mean you’re taking time away from the projects you really need to get done?
That last idea will carry us into our next blog about the second problem secretly eroding your productivity: People.
We’ll continue our chat with Dr. Stevie Dawn in our next blog, but you can also chat with her yourself! You can send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more about her at www.alwaysbetheshark.com.