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How we solved the problem of losing employee motivation due to overtime

Overtime creates an excessive burden on employees who quickly become disillusioned with their work, lose motivation, and at best leave, and at worst drag the entire Department along with them. This is especially painful in small teams, where one person performs many functions — the decline in their performance hits the business hard. This article explains how to overcome this problem

The problem with modern offices is that an irregular working day is slowly beginning to be considered the norm. Research shows that every fifth working Russian is delayed at work every day. And rarely does anyone pay him for it. As a result, endless work drives employees into a state of stress and nervous exhaustion, which leads to a drop in productivity and revenue of the company.

The tasks that stood in front of our team

In our company, we had to constantly search for new personnel, engage in training, which created an additional burden on HR and ordinary managers. As a result, this predictably led to a drop in overall productivity and income.

And you couldn’t just remove it:
First, the scope of customer service implies that the main load falls on weekday evenings and weekends. This is the time when people return from work and are ready to make purchases.
Secondly, by limiting the working day to a conditional “9 to 18”, productivity fell even more, and there was a risk of losing customers. It would have been possible to hire additional employees and transfer them to a 12-hour shift, but this was opposed by the team. In addition, this increased the burden on the budget due to additional expenses for people and office.
We didn’t consider the option to transfer people to a remote location (even partial), because:
There has already been a negative experience of such decisions.
During working hours, you need physical presence of people in the office.
It is clear that the ideal solution to this problem is to give employees a certain degree of freedom and flexibility, while maintaining their productivity and not forgetting about control. It is also important to save money — a small company does not have an inflated budget for complex project management systems, even if they would bring results in the future.

What did we do

1. Abandoned the time tracking policy in favor of the task tracking policy

Although this is a well-known scheme for increasing employee productivity, it is still extremely reluctant to use it. It often has the opposite effect, especially when employees are removed from the salary and put on interest, which depends on the implementation of the plan. This may work in small retail sales (which are not sensitive to staff qualifications), but it certainly doesn’t work in project management.

We have set a minimum amount of daily tasks for each employee. People were assigned to new projects by the project Manager at weekly meetings. At the same meetings, they created a matrix of responsibility distribution for each Manager.

2. Switched to the cloud service to work using the Agile methodology

Agile boards are good because in addition to self-monitoring, the project Manager controls the tasks of subordinates.

Cloud services are doubly good: you don’t need to rebuild an existing corporate system, send employees for training, and so on. In addition, such solutions cost a penny for small companies. For example, for a team of up to 10 people, they are generally free.

3. For each employee, a personal “quiet time” was set after the end of their working day

At this time, a person has the right not to approach the phone and not to answer the mail, except in really urgent cases. This is 1-2 hours daily, depending on the employee’s personal workload. Each employee chose their own time. We have distributed the schedules so that the two managers responsible for the same project do not overlap.

4. Revised the KPI and bonus policy

We did not remove salaries and set bonuses depending on the degree of participation in the project. Those who completed more tasks and worked longer on a single project receive a higher percentage of its implementation. This increased the motivation of employees to contribute to the development of a specific project, rather than” go out ” at the expense of colleagues.

5. Added responsibility for outstanding tasks

In addition to motivation, we also added depremization for systematic failure to complete tasks. Using the same agile Board, we obtained data on the most inefficient employees over the past month. We looked not at the absolute number of tasks, but at the number of tasks assigned to a person, but overdue or unfulfilled by them.

What we got

Although the workflow optimization decisions took about two months and required the collaboration of HR, project managers, line managers, and Directors, we ended up with the following:
Staff turnover decreased, which relieved the burden on project managers.
The number of processed requests has increased.
The involvement of employees in projects has increased (that is, more people have started working on one project, and the project, accordingly, has become faster to complete).
The number and duration of conference calls and reporting sessions has been reduced to one per week.
The cost per employee has increased, but the average KPI has also increased.
Subjectively, personal satisfaction with the work of each team member has increased.
In the end, we solved the problem: the company’s total revenue increased, covering the costs of both optimization itself and employee compensation. And by increasing the satisfaction of employees, their motivation and productivity increased, which is why, in fact, all this was started.

Naturally, this approach is only suitable for small teams — as the number of employees increases, the time and cost of developing technological processes and working with each employee increases. But, as practice shows, even in large companies, the simplest solutions lead to the greatest result.

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