What kind of friction do you have in your workplace? Is there friction between workers in your team? Maybe there is friction caused by different teams vying for political advantage.
Greatest Cause of Inefficiency
One of the greatest causes of inefficiency and waste of resources is friction between people or departments. Human Resource departments spend a fair amount of their time dealing with some kind of friction between different factions in a business. If a person feels slighted or wronged, they bring it up with HR who must deal with it. Many meetings are scheduled in an attempt to bring parties to a resolution and relative peace so they can continue their jobs.
When conflicts happen between people, they have to stop their work and talk about what is happening between them. Many times, it is just a misunderstanding about what one person said or a misunderstanding about the role of each person on a project. Sometimes it is more serious, and the HR department must be brought in to be a referee between people to work out their differences.
All this time is not productive as far as the company is concerned. It usually is perceived as a necessary evil to be dealt with. The lack of productivity that this kind of friction causes is money flushed down the drain.
Managers Can Cause Friction
There is another type of friction that is common in companies. It’s the friction between managers and their employees. Many times, this kind of friction hides below the surface because of fear on the part of employees. They don’t bring disagreements up to the boss because of perceived or real repercussions that might occur to them if they did. The result of this kind of friction is loss of productivity that may be more damaging than open disagreements between people. Employees may slow work down or be resistant in other ways that affects their work. Unhappiness, or at the least, disengagement of employees, will pervade the relationship between the boss and their workers, which is the number one reason for inefficiencies in companies.
Almost a Whole Day Per Week!
If you are looking for ways to improve efficiency in your company, look at what kinds of conflicts need refereeing between employees. Accountemps, recently did a survey of CFOs about the time they spent dealing with squabbling employees. They said, on average, they spent 15% of their time engaging in conflict resolution – 6 hours per week. (That is almost a whole day wasted each week.) That’s an astounding amount of time and money that could otherwise be put to good use.
Work For Harmony
It may not be an easy task if you have employees at each other’s throats often, but the more harmony there is in the workplace, the less time needs to be spent refereeing conflicts. It starts with the culture you spread to your employees. If you treat them as valuable people, with respect and honor, and you get to know them very well, they will respond in kind. They will also be more liable to treat each other with the respect they have received from you. With very little effort, even the most contentious environments can be turned around.
Yes, Bigger Profits
I talk about this kind of culture making in my book The Magical Manager: How to Crush any Company Goal with Greater Efficiency, Lower Cost, and Bigger Profits. One of the reasons this culture shift is so important is that with less friction comes more productivity and efficiency. That works like an avalanche. It produces lower costs, happier employees, more loyal customers, and greater profits.