Sticky Notes: How to Increase Employee Productivity

The key is conducting a time/motion study, one task at a time.

Managers ask me every day, “How do you help an employee speed up and start working at a faster pace?” Conduct a time/motion study, one task at a time:

1. Watch the employee do the task multiple times. Break each task into its component steps, and break each step into a series of concrete actions. Then time each concrete action making up each step making up the whole task.

2. Figure out how long the task should take. Step by step, concrete action by concrete action. Create a time budget for each task, step, and concrete action.

3. Do a micro-gap analysis. Identify the micro-gaps between the time budget and the employee’s actual time step by step, concrete action by concrete action. In these micro-gaps lie the potential opportunities to speed up.

4. Choose one concrete action at a time to “accelerate” and take it slowly. Close the micro-gaps one by one.

When it comes to helping an employee “speed up,” here are the surprises you should be looking for in your time/motion studies:

  • Is the employee not following best practices?
  • Is the employee doing unnecessary tasks?
  • Is the employee building in unnecessary steps in any tasks?
  • Is the employee encountering any recurring obstacles that have not been taken into account?

Coaching can make a big difference in each of these instances.

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