6 Techniques to Find Areas of Improvement at Work
Whether you are an entrepreneur trying to grow your startup business or a well-seasoned business owner, there will always be areas of improvement at work. While seeking for ways to improve your business, the key thing is to make sure you have a sharp, clearly defined vision. Always consider what you want to achieve, where you want to be and who you want to become.
Below are six techniques on how to find areas of improvement at work:
1. Measure workforce performance
You should put in place a standard system, such as key performance indicators (KPIs), to determine how well your business is doing. In essence, KPIs, otherwise known as Key Success Indicators (KSIs), are quantifiable sets of measurements used to gauge an organization’s overall long-term performance. They vary from one industry to another and help determine a company’s financial, operational and strategic accomplishments compared to others in the same business.
Use KPIs to identify patterns in the business, rule out the ineffective strategies and assess whether you are on target, even as you work towards achieving your company goals. When designing your KPIs, go for those that offer the most valuable insights for your business. In more elaborate business models, the KPIs will complement other metrics (such as work attendance, time schedules, and labour costs) to give you a more comprehensive outlook on workforce management.
Also, check to make sure the KPIs accurately reflect your business processes, take into consideration factors that may control or influence the business, focus on improvement, and offer quick feedback. Carry out this assessment periodically so you can track your business’s progress.
2. Conduct a SWOT analysis
As common as it may be, a SWOT analysis is one of the most effective ways to gauge an organization’s overall standing. It reveals the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the business. This information informs major company decisions such as how to maximize its strengths and improve on its weaknesses.
For instance, a SWOT analysis may inform decisions on the use of outdated equipment and how to position the company, so it benefits from the opportunities and navigates threats in the internal or external business environments.
While conducting a SWOT analysis, be careful not to overlook weaknesses or threats to the organization, however small and insignificant they may appear. These could snowball into a crisis and cost your business both time and money. You need to identify these areas of improvement and find ways to improve upon them.
3. Monitor trends at work
All businesses are influenced by events and changes in the global markets. Stay up-to-date with trends and developments in your area of specialization and pay attention to what is happening in your industry and locality.
Be aware of trends that may affect your business such as changing legislation, among others. Besides, this will keep you abreast of the competition and inspiring innovations. You will also be able to monitor industry trends to identify areas of improvement at work and adopt cost-cutting strategies.
4. Ask your employees about work improvements
Employees form part of the internal stakeholders of your business. They are your eyes and ears in the workplace. If something is amiss, they are likely to be the first to know about it. As such, let your employees know you are approachable and open to new suggestions. This will make them feel their opinions are valued. In turn, they will be motivated to offer viable solutions and help you find areas of improvement at work.
You will also save yourself the trouble of having to deal with high employee turnover as they will feel happier, more comfortable and more content with their jobs. Also, hold periodic departmental or general meetings to promote transparency and to keep employees informed of the overall progress of your company.
Help them to understand the role they play in the business and encourage them to air frustrations or challenges they may be experiencing in their workstations. Open communication with your employees comes with the bonus of trust.
5. Ask your customers about work improvements
Customers are the most important stakeholders in a business. Take the time to go through your customer database and have meaningful engagements with them. Use the most appropriate means of communication, be it phone, email, letters or in-person conversations to reach out to them.
Find out what they think about your products/services, the quality of services and other business processes. For non-repeat customers, ask them why they felt dissatisfied with your business. Customer feedback will help you determine which areas in your business need improvement.
6. Review your business plan
Most entrepreneurs tend to write a business plan when starting their business. However, they rarely, if ever, refer back to it. This should not be the case. As a business owner, you should constantly review your business plan to determine how far or close your business is from the original idea.
At a certain point, your products or services will evolve. Besides, there are likely to be drastic shifts in the business environment that will necessitate adjustments in how you do business. Reviewing your business plan would be a great way to find areas of improvement at work.
Constantly update your business plan to the changing times and have a clear direction for your business. Drafting a business plan entails more than just deciding what you want to accomplish. Your goals need to be clear, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.