The success of a business ultimately depends on the efficiency and effectiveness of its workers. This is a sobering thought, but when you come to think of it, you see the truthfulness in it. Thus, a business may be occupying a good location, a prime location if you like, but if its workers are either inefficient or ineffective (or both), then it won’t be successful. Similarly, a business may have the best equipment, but if its workers are deliberately inefficient or ineffective, then the business won’t be able to achieve optimal success. Against that background, a question that often bothers business owners and business managers is the one as to how they can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their workers. And, as it turns out, this is one area where technology can play a major role. In this article, we will be looking at some of the specific ways in which technology can be used in human resource management, to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the workers.
1. Using technology to track workers’ hours
One challenge that businesses often face is that of ensuring that the employees report to work on time, and that the employees don’t leave before the times they are supposed to leave. Closely related to this is the challenge of tracking the employees’ hours: to ensure that, ultimately, the employees are only paid for the hours they were actually at work. Thankfully, this is one of the areas where technology offers simple solutions: like where, using various integrated tech tools, a ‘clock in, clock out’ mechanism can be put in place. If a biometric-based ‘clock in, clock out’ mechanism is implemented, you get a (more or less) fool-proof solution. You can then end up with a situation where the exact numbers of hours put in by the employees are clearly known. Then the employees’ compensations can be calculated, in a straightforward manner, on the basis of those hours during which they were actually at work.
2. Using technology to monitor workers’ activities
It is possible for workers to spend lots of hours at their workplaces, and still end up with very little output. This happens if the workers spend all their time idling around or doing their work in inefficient ways. Thus, a business that is keen on ensuring high standards of efficiency and effectiveness has to go beyond tracking workers’ hours. Such a business has to go a step further, and ensure that the hours logged in are actually spent on productive activities. And this is yet another area where technology can go a long way. This is where, for instance, leveraging on the power of technology, CCTV monitoring tools can be put in place, to ensure that the workers’ activities are actually monitored in real-time, and to therefore ensure that the workers spend their time productively. This sort of approach is likely to have a psychological benefit as well: because if the employees know that their activities are being monitored, they are likely to ensure that they do the right things – ultimately leading to an almost automatic improvement in their efficiency and effectiveness levels.
3. Using technology to calculate workers’ compensation accurately
This is where, for instance, through the use of computer-based payroll programs, a business can be able to calculate its workers’ salaries and benefits with very high levels of accuracy. The system is likely to work even better if, say, the computer-based payroll programs are synchronized with the employee hour-tracking programs. The ultimate objective is to ensure that the workers are paid for all hours they were at work. Nothing can mess up with workers’ motivation (and hence their efficiency/effectiveness) than failing to be paid for hours worked. On the other hand, one of the things that can really affect a business’ bottom-line is a situation where employees are paid for hours they didn’t actually work. The way to avoid both situations is by making use of technology, to enhance accuracy in the calculation of employees’ dues.
4. Using technology to motivate workers
There are many ways in which technology can be used to motivate workers. One simple approach is one where, through the use of tech tools, motivational messages are continually transmitted to the employees as they work, thus motivating them to be even more efficient and effective. Another approach, which we have already alluded to, is the one where the employees’ activities at their workplaces are monitored on a real-time basis (using tech tools such as CCTV systems). This is likely to have an effect of motivating them to be more efficient and effective: knowing that their activities are actually being monitored by their bosses.
5. Using technology to gauge workers’ efficiency
This is something that works very well in industrial settings, where the employees are engaged in simple repetitive tasks. Computer programs can be developed, to analyze the tasks, so as to gauge the efficiency with which the workers are able to perform the tasks. If a target can be worked out (in terms of the expected output for a given task) then the extent to which the specific worker is able to achieve that particular target can be used as a measure of efficiency. Actually, this sort of system can be extended even to fairly sophisticated workplace settings: like where, for instance, a bank teller can be gauged on the basis of the numbers of clients he is able to serve in an hour. It is just that the system is not likely to be very effective, when used in such sophisticated settings – where efficiency can’t be gauged on the basis of the raw numbers alone.
6. Using technology to gauge and enhance workers’ effectiveness
This works well in sophisticated workplace settings, where the simple efficiency-gauging programs we made reference to earlier can’t really function well. So, in this case, you can have tech-based programs to collect feedback from the people (clients) who are served by the various workers, with the objective of gauging those workers’ levels of effectiveness. The key to success here is to ensure that the collation of feedback is done on a long-term basis. Then, if most of the feedback from the people served by a particular employee is positive, and if the said employee is able to serve a significant number of people in a short duration of time, it would be inferred that he is ‘effective’. Conversely, if (according to data from the system), another employee is only able to serve a small number of people in a relatively long duration of time, and the feedback from those people is largely negative, it would be inferred that he is ‘ineffective’. Of course, the employees are bound to work hard at being truly effective, once they know that such tools are in use within their workplaces. The end result would be improved effectiveness, as well as higher efficiency, all thanks to the use of technology.