Your Blockchain Reading List

With blockchain grabbing headlines, people want to learn about this transformative technology. While a good first step is reading our primer, The Blockchain Disruption: Insight report on Blockchain, the following titles are a great place to start or deepen your understanding of this disruptive technology. Read on …

Your Blockchain Reading List  1. Blockchain Revolution – Don Tapscott & Alex Tapscott

Wikinomics author Don Tapscott and his son, Alex, explain blockchain, its applications, and provide a broad overview of changes that could be brought about. For those getting started in the space, Blockchain Revolution describes the technology as a simple but transformative protocol that enables financial transactions to be anonymous and secure through the decentralized ledger—a public, tamper-proof virtual ledger of value.

 

Your Blockchain Reading List  2. Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy – Melanie Swan

Melanie Swan is a technology theorist at Perdue University’s Philosophy Department and founder of The Institute for Blockchain Studies. She focuses on detailing the implications of decentralized ledger technology in an academic style. This book is a good next read after Tapscott and Tapscott’s Blockchain Revolution (above) and takes you beyond currency and smart contracts to explore blockchain as a new form of information technology and the possibility of how it can expand how we think in financial markets.

 

Your Blockchain Reading List  3.  Mastering Bitcoin Programming the Open Blockchain – Andreas M. Antonopoulos

This guide is recommended for those looking for a deeper understanding of Bitcoin’s technical operation. Mastering Bitcoin describes its and other cryptocurrencies’ technical foundations, from cryptography basics (such as keys and addresses) to data structures, network protocols and the consensus mechanism mining that underpin Bitcoin. Each technical topic is explained with user stories, analogies and examples, and code snippets illustrating the key concepts.

 

Your Blockchain Reading List  4. The Business Blockchain: Promise, Practice, and Application of the Next Internet Technology – William Mougayar

William Mougayar is an angel investor who has been investigating cryptocurrency and broader distributed ledger ecosystem. His book explores how enterprises and organizations should look at distributed ledgers and specifically, blockchain.

 

Your Blockchain Reading List  5. Business Innovation Through Blockchain – Vincenzo Morabito

This book explores the main challenges and trends related to the use of blockchain technology for digital business innovation and provides stimulating insights and ideas. It explores topics in three broad sections: 1) Blockchain technology and management  (including impacts on value chains and systems, governance, and security issues) 2) The Bitcoin phenomenon and main technological trends in the use of blockchain, and 3) Examples of business innovation using blockchain that is drawn from across the globe.

 


Your Blockchain Reading List


By: Madison Wright, Senior Business Analyst

The full circle approach to Workforce Management

The full circle approach to Workforce Management

Workforce Management (WFM) is a fairly common word in the world of consulting and business. Encompassing a variety of topics and features, WFM is generally associated with the process and organizational behaviour change around maximizing the performance level of staff.

Top organizations take Workforce Management to the next level by encompassing a full circle approach. Listed below are the main components of an efficient and fully structured Workforce Management program for any company of any size.

Data Collection & Process Definition
Organizational data is found everywhere, however, finding the right data is often hidden. Implementing a successful workforce management program begins by finding the right data within an organization. Through detailed cataloging, defining business processes, and collecting data on an ongoing basis, workforce management provides organizations with up to date findings.

Coaching & Staff Development
In today’s workforce, it is essential for management to identify and develop employee’s skillset to meet the needs of a growing business. By understanding an organization’s current and future staffing needs, Workforce Management aims to create a dynamic workforce that produces high performing staff armed with cross-functional skills. This proven approach helps management harvest the true potential of their employees in a sustainable manner, producing long-term results.

Forecasting & Planning
Experience has proven that management often struggle to identify expected work or capacity beyond a one month time frame. Without adequate forecasting and planning abilities, organizations often either waste valuable resources or fail to meet SLA’s.  By leveraging industry best practices and equipped with reliable algorithms, Workforce Management helps senior leaders predict and anticipate change in demand and provide tools for resource management. Whether it’s busy season, or slow season, having a strong grasp on future needs and the resources available is essential to remain competitive in today’s demanding business landscape. Through successful forecasting and planning abilities, businesses can realize tremendous cost savings that extend to the bottom line.

Analytics & Insights
Workforce Management provides leaders with data-driven insights to promote informed decision-making. By collecting and synthesizing large data sets, sophisticated analytical tools provide user-friendly dashboards and insight-driven action plans. Within minutes of viewing these reports, filled from key collected data, management will be well-equipped with the information needed to make the right decisions and management choices.

 

To learn more about top-tier Workforce Management, please reach out to The Burnie Group to discuss how WFM can help take your company to the next level.

 

by: Andrew Martel, Senior Business Analyst & Darren Olevson, Business Analyst

The full circle approach to Workforce Management


22 Benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a relatively new technology that has already firmly claimed its spot in improving the productivity of organizations alongside tried and true methodologies such as lean and six sigma. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of  22 RPA benefits based on our many years of experience implementing RPA solutions with Financial Services, Insurance, Telecommunications and Healthcare clients.

22 Benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)  1. Decreased costs.  Cost savings of approximately 80-90% can be achieved when a business process performed by an FTE is replaced by a software robot.

2. Freeing up staff for higher value tasks. Automation of repetitive and time-consuming processes frees up your staff to make a more value-add contribution.  For example, when assessing an insurance claim more time can be spent in the assessment as opposed to populating the same data into 5 various systems.

3. Increased employee engagement. When staff can focus on high-value tasks they often feel more invested in the work they are completing. When implementing RPA projects, we often see staff engaging in repetitive activities e.g. copying data between 10 different systems while completing a single customer request, with RPA they can serve an additional 3 clients instead.

22 Benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)  4. Reduced operational risk. RPA reduces the rate of errors because robots make less mistakes. Avoiding purely human mistakes, such as those made while tired, or by deviating from the process, means a lower level of operational risk.

5. Reduced output variability. Robots are great at duplicating tasks consistently with little to no distinguishable variability. It ensures that similar tasks are handled in the same way e.g. underwriting for insurance policies is consistent across the same risk groups.

22 Benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)  6. Reduced paper use/waste. RPA forces digitization as it requires that companies have the data and files being manipulated by software robots in a digital form. Work that in the past may have been done partly or in full on paper, by an FTE, can now be purely electronic.

7. Driving process improvement. In an automation project you often first analyze and then simplify (where possible) the processes to be automated, creating more manageable processes (for both people and machines). For example, if you have 10 different ways to set up a new client in your system, it would make sense to streamline this process first and then automate it.

22 Benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)  8. Increased output. Automation allows for work to be done 24/7/365 without people fatigue, or quality variance. Often, customers want to interact with service providers outside of a 9-5 timeframe—on evenings and weekends—automation allows you to offer this level of service.

9. Higher speed and throughput. Customers receive expedited service as machines are able to process requests in real time. e.g. credit checks, etc.

22 Benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)  10. Improved customer experience. By deploying RPA you free up expensive and high-value resources, FTEs, from more menial and repetitive tasks and put them back on the front line assisting your customers.

11. Improved internal service levels. With RPA things like internal reports can be delivered faster and without mistakes, new employees can be set-up very quickly, and even IT issues can be enormously accelerated.

12. Defined governance structures. RPA forces companies to define clear governance structures around IT applications by forcing organizations to agree on who owns each application. Leading to a clearer definition of access rights for each application, since robots, like humans, will need to use the same access.

22 Benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)  13. RPA does not require substituting existing IT systems.  An RPA virtual workforce uses all the same systems your FTEs use. This is one of greatest advantages of RPA in comparison to other automation solutions. In the past, Business Process Management solutions and workflow management tools had to be integrated with each application they interacted with. RPA simply uses the existing systems in the way your FTEs would.

22 Benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)  14. RPA is Scaleable. Being able to easily scale up or down your operations as needed ensures that companies can make adjustments based on seasonality. In the insurance sector, for example, a virtual workforce can be ramped up in order to process snow/hail claims in the winter, flooding in the summer, etc.

15. Virtual workforces are highly secure. Managing IT security for RPA robots is very simple as they do not change roles, leave the company, or retire. They also don’t hack your data.

16. Increased expertise in core domains. By automating simple tasks, your company can develop increased expertise in your core domains, such as developing more sophisticated fraud analysis, and/or creating more accurate underwriting algorithms.

17.  RPA eliminates customer pain points. A successfully implemented virtual workforce can enhance your customer’s experience and eliminate common customer pain points. For example, traditionally when processing a loan the customer has to fill out several forms, submit required documents. These are then sent for processing, review and approvals. The overall process can take several weeks, with multiple human touch-points, after which the customer gets a feedback on the status of their loan application. With RPA, a robot can take over the complete process, reducing turnaround time to a few days or less.

18. Impact is delivered quickly. From the moment when robots are in place – a matter of weeks – organizations start seeing benefits. The Burnie Group’s typical implementation timeline for RPA projects is approximately 8 weeks.

22 Benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)  19. Improved capacity for SLA analysis. RPA solutions allow management to know the progress of SLAs in real time. Dashboards tracking the output of your virtual workforce address a frequent problem of operations and back-office managers – understanding where his/her team stands and how volumes are evolving.

20. High-quality processes and output. Similar to a recipe being created by a five-star cook, a robot’s decision making logic is designed by your best SMEs, ensuring high-quality output. Your SME transfer knowledge of best practices with the RPA team ensuring your virtual workforce is performing at the highest standard.

21. Better record keeping. Robots always document what they’ve done, not only leaving a clear audit and control track, but also allowing for easy recovery after unexpected shutdowns.

22. Being an innovator. RPA is a cutting edge technology that is dramatically changing back-office operations enabling greater innovation by freeing up human labour to focus on idea-generating.

While RPA has many benefits, there continues to be a clear need for humans in the workforce. The question is no longer which jobs will be replaced, but rather, what work will be redefined, and how? In the future, most processes will consist of a mix of human and machine labour. Nothing will be fully automated. Even at the most highly automated production plant you will see there are still humans working.

Automation allows for traditional jobs to become more fluid, ensuring more effective human labour. With freedom from high-volume, low complexity administrative work, humans can continue to drive and innovate in areas such as customer service, expertise-based tasks, the development of new products, etc.

This article is just a glance into the world of RPA topics – should you be interested in exploring RPA opportunities in your industries or want to understand how to apply or deploy RPA in your organization, please contact us for a free no-obligation discussion. We look forward to hearing from you.

 


22 Benefits of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)


Sources:
image: https://teachingphysics.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/tate-error-t-shirt-ben-newman.gif

7 mistakes to avoid when implementing Robotic Process Automation

7 mistakes to avoid when implementing Robotic Process Automation

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a relatively new technology that allows companies to drive significant efficiencies by enabling software robots to execute repetitive and often clerical activities normally performed by humans.

Efficiency is not the only benefit of RPA – it also allows for increased process quality, and eliminates errors that may result from manual work.

Furthermore, the use of RPA technology typically results in increased customer satisfaction, both internally and externally. For example, loan application processing times can be reduced from days to hours via automation, resulting in happier customers. And staff, who are often wary at the beginning of an RPA implementation, become supportive of the technology once it relieves them from dull, repetitive work, and allows them to focus on more interesting and challenging projects.

The path to reaping the benefits of RPA, however, can be riddled with many obstacles. If you are considering introducing RPA to your organization, these are seven common mistakes to avoid.

Mistake #1: Not engaging senior leadership

Every successful project begins with strong leadership. RPA initiatives are no exception, and we recommend securing strong leadership from both the business and IT sides of your organization.

Business leaders will champion the effort, build a business case, and ensure that necessary resources are available (e.g. investments, subject matter experts, etc.)

IT leaders must be involved early on because RPA relies both on IT infrastructure (e.g. servers) and access to various IT applications. IT leaders can help to quickly resolve any unexpected challenges along the way, such as issues with IT security policies, or IT infrastructure upgrades, etc.

Want additional support for your initiative? Engage with the Audit and Risk leaders within your organization. They will quickly grasp all the benefits that RPA offers them, such as auditable processes, reduction in operational risk (due to reduction in manual work), and improved security.

Mistake #2: Not choosing the right processes

It is easy to get into the trap of automating small and simple tasks that nobody wants to touch. The real benefits of RPA, however, lie in the end-to-end automation of processes that tie up significant human resources.

Examples of such processes are: credit decisions in banking, underwriting decisions in insurance, processing of account changes, or setting up new customers across various industries.

In order to generate tangible benefits from your RPA project, you need to think big. Ask yourself if the impact of your automation project can be measured through one of these KPIs:

  • Revenue generation
  • Cost reduction/efficiency increases
  • Quality improvements
  • Positive impact on audit, risk, and compliance

As an example, a global bank used RPA to reduce its loan processing times from several weeks to two hours, resulting in dramatic efficiency improvements and significant customer satisfaction uplifts.

Mistake #3: Automating broken processes

Though RPA can, in most cases, automate existing processes, it is recommended that you look critically at processes before automating them and streamline where possible. This results in simpler, cleaner decision logic for RPA bots, shorter RPA testing cycles and easier maintenance of automation solutions.

For example, if you plan to automate an onboarding process for new customers, but there are currently 20 different ways your organization can onboard them, it makes sense to determine which is the most effective and reliable process, and then automating that process.

Mistake #4: Not investing enough time to test your bots

RPA bots can handle various tasks so long as they are programmed to manage them. Taking the time to define the different parameters involved in each process and programming your robots to handle each of them will save you a lot of time in the future. The idea being that your expert staff should only have to deal with exceptional cases that your robots cannot process. In order to achieve this, you need to rely on extensive testing to ensure that the robots know their part of the work.

Don’t forget to involve your SMEs when defining these testing scenarios. It is an iterative approach, and there are sure to be scenarios that nobody in your organization anticipated in the development phase, so be sure to allow sufficient time for testing.

Mistake #5: Not showing benefits early on

If there is one thing that will motivate your leadership to continue investing in RPA, it is seeing benefits early on.

Our RPA deployment experience shows that 8-12 weeks is enough time to automate a select group of processes and push them live, allowing you to show tangible benefits within a 3-month period.

A quick demonstration of benefits will strengthen the position of the RPA sponsor in the organization, and encourage other business areas to get involved in your automation transformation. They will be eager to leverage this new technology to drive benefits in their areas.

If, however, you fail to demonstrate the benefits quickly, the position of the RPA sponsor will be weakened over time.

Mistake #6: Failing to communicate changes to your staff

The introduction of RPA in most organizations can also have a significant impact on people, often staff is unsure if, or how, they will be impacted by this initiative which leads to great uncertainty. When the implication of an RPA implementation to human resources is not anticipated as part of an automation project, it can lead to increased turnover, as staff, motivated by fear of losing their jobs, start seeking alternative opportunities.

It is crucial that the introduction of RPA is combined with carefully drafted ongoing communication to staff ensuring they are aware of how they will be affected. This communication can vary from organization to organization, but we recommend something along the lines of the following narrative:

“RPA is not about reducing the number of people. Our objective is to focus our staff on important, client-facing activities, boosting client satisfaction, and eliminating manual, non-value adding activities.”

Or

“Our organization has aggressive growth plans and we need to complement our staff with automation to ensure we are able to cope with our growing volume of clients.”

Mistake #7: Failing to scale up

Many organizations find it easy to deploy the first RPA robot, but are less successful in scaling up their efforts beyond that.

As discussed earlier, the true benefits of an RPA implementation can be reaped only if you automate the right set of processes. In addition, the scaling up of your RPA means the creation of an RPA Centre of Excellence (CoE) that will handle numerous tasks and capabilities, such as:

  • Bundling RPA expertise in the organization (e.g. own a library of RPA objects)
  • Provide training for new RPA users (e.g. other business areas)
  • Oversee RPA technology infrastructure
  • Own relationship with RPA provider and 3rd party RPA experts
  • Own methodology for choosing candidate processes for RPA

Putting an RPA CoE in place will ensure that your organization is always self-developing and that it will be able to provide viable solutions for growing RPA benefits.

 

We hope these insights will allow you to avoid some of these more common mistakes when introducing RPA in your organization.

If you are considering bringing RPA into your organization, work with a partner who will ensure you to keep your project efficient and on track, in addition to helping you build your internal capabilities as required.

As a pioneer in North American RPA, The Burnie Group will help you develop the right strategy, identify the right programs, and implement your first RPA processes. Ensuring that your Robotic Process Automation can grow quickly, become a core capability, and help you to differentiate your organization from your competitors.

 

 


7 mistakes to avoid when implementing Robotic Process Automation


Sources:
image: https://teachingphysics.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/tate-error-t-shirt-ben-newman.gif

INFOGRAPHIC: Kinds of Process Automation and how they differ

What are the key differences between the various types of process automation? Below is an overview of the different types of process automation and how RPA differs.?

INFOGRAPHIC: Kinds of Process Automation and how they differ

 


INFOGRAPHIC: Kinds of Process Automation and how they differ


INFOGRAPHIC: 4 Simple Ways to Avoid Burnout Before it Happens

Stress, the root cause of burnout, causes Canadian economy an estimated $33 billion a year in lost productivity each year. Over 6 in 10 highly stressed workers identified work as the main source of their stress.

Taking some simple measures to prevent burnout and reduce stress can go a long way towards keeping workers fitter, happier, more productive, and stress-free.

INFOGRAPHIC: 4 Simple Ways to Avoid Burnout Before it Happens

 


INFOGRAPHIC: 4 Simple Ways to Avoid Burnout Before it Happens


2017 Summer Reading List

It is a proven fact that reading can help reduce stress. However, many of us don’t find this to be true because we have so much “required” reading in our daily lives. But when we read for pleasure we know it’s an enjoyable and stress-relieving activity.

The simple act of reading can have considerable benefits, from improving our health and well-being—even six minutes can be enough to reduce stress levels by more than two-thirds—to enlarging our capacity for empathy and strategic decision making.

Naturally, we thought we’d ask our practice leaders about some of their favourite reads. And, well, they geeked out, offering us this list of  10 recommended books. Read on …

2017 Summer Reading List  1. The Power of One – Bryce Courtenay

Set in a world torn apart, where man enslaves his fellow man and freedom remains elusive, THE POWER OF ONE is the moving story of one young man’s search for the love that binds friends, the passion that binds lovers, and the realization that it takes only one to change the world. A weak and friendless boy growing up in South Africa during World War II, Peekay turns to two older men, one black and one white, to show him how to find the courage to dream, to succeed, to triumph over a world when all seems lost, and to inspire him to summon up the most irresistible force of all: the Power of One.

 

2017 Summer Reading List  2. The Innovators Dilemma – Clayton M. Christensen

Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen says outstanding companies can do everything right and still lose their market leadership — or worse, disappear completely. And he not only proves what he says, he tells others how to avoid a similar fate. Focusing on “disruptive technology” — the Honda Super Cub, Intel’s 8088 processor, or the hydraulic excavator, for example — Christensen shows why most companies miss “the next great wave.” Whether in electronics or retailing, a successful company with established products will get pushed aside unless managers know when to abandon traditional business practices. Using the lessons of successes and failures from leading companies, The Innovator’s Dilemma presents a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation.

 

2017 Summer Reading List  3.  The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell

The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behaviour crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.

 

 

2017 Summer Reading List  4. This is Water – David Foster Wallace

“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

A commencement speech turned book, David Foster Wallace’s This is Water explores how one keeps from going through their comfortable, prosperous adult life unconsciously? How do we get ourselves out of the foreground of our thoughts and achieve compassion? The speech captures Wallace’s electric intellect as well as his grace in attention to others.

 

2017 Summer Reading List  5. Outsmarting Google – Evan Bailyn

If you aren’t at or near the top of Google searches, you won’t be found. Your company might as well not exist. But many common Google “search optimization” techniques don’t work–or even make things worse. In Outsmarting Google, world-renowned search expert Evan Bailyn reveals real, gritty, up-to-the-minute tactics that helped him attract more than 50,000,000 visitors last year without spending a dime on advertising! You won’t find any unethical “black hat” tricks here: only proven techniques that reflect comprehensive testing and extraordinary insight into Google’s secret rules.

 

2017 Summer Reading List  6. Dear Leader: My Escape from North Korea – Jang Jin-sung

In this rare insider’s view into contemporary North Korea, a high-ranking counter-intelligence agent describes his life as a former poet laureate to Kim Jong-il and his breathtaking escape to freedom.

With in-depth insight into the workings of everyday life in North Korea, a society that is very closed-off from the rest of the world, this book can be difficult to read but will leave you with great appreciation for life in Canada.

 

2017 Summer Reading List  7. The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – But Some Don’t – Nate Silver

Nate Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data. Most predictions fail, often at great cost to society, because most of us have a poor understanding of probability and uncertainty. Both experts and laypeople mistake more confident predictions for more accurate ones. But overconfidence is often the reason for failure. If our appreciation of uncertainty improves, our predictions can get better too. This is the “prediction paradox”: The more humility we have about our ability to make predictions, the more successful we can be in planning for the future.

Nate Silver’s book provides a foundation for analyzing and asking questions about the statistical models and predictions that surround us.

 

2017 Summer Reading List  8. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done – Peter F. Drucker

What makes an effective executive? The measure of the executive, Peter F. Drucker reminds us, is the ability to “get the right things done.” This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mould them into results.

Drucker identifies five practices essential to business effectiveness that can, and must, be learned: Managing time Choosing what to contribute to the organization Knowing where and how to mobilize strength for best effect Setting the right priorities Knitting all of them together with effective decision-making.

 

2017 Summer Reading List  9. Start with Why – Simon Sinek

Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?

Simon Sinek’s book is a well-argued narrative that both people and companies should rethink their approach to work or to the marketplace.  Most of us start with ‘What do I want?’ and end with ‘How will I get there?”.  Rarely do we ask ‘Why?’.  Sinek challenges us to turn this around and begin with ‘Why do I work?’ or if a company, ‘Why do we exist?’.  Only once this has been answered, should we move on to ‘how’ and ‘what’.  Although more difficult than may first appear, understanding one’s “Why” can be a powerful lever in both personal career success as well as overall business success.

 

2017 Summer Reading List  10. Bossypants – Tina Fey

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.

From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon—from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

 


2017 Summer Reading List


Sources:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/5070874/Reading-can-help-reduce-stress.html
www.goodreads.com

 

Preventing burnout before it begins

Preventing burnout before it begins  Burnout—exhaustion, lack of motivation, and feelings of ineffectiveness and frustration—is a growing concern for many Canadian companies. As workplace stress rises, the implications of disengaged, overworked, highly-stressed employees present some very real challenges for businesses.

Stats Canada recently reported that the majority of highly stressed workers (62%) identified work as the main source of their stress.  A separate 2013 survey by Kronos, found that 54 percent of employed Canadians admitted that they have called in sick to avoid going to work. And the majority of those (65%) said it was because they felt stressed or burned out.

It can be tough enough to manage your own stress. But how can you, as a manager, help the members of your team handle their feelings of stress, burnout, or disengagement? As a leader, you play a huge role in creating a work environment in which staff have the resources and support they need to be productive and effective and where they feel valued.

Although it’s unlikely that the pace or intensity of work will change anytime soon, there’s a growing body of research that suggests certain types of activities can effectively build personal capacity for resilience. Below we delve further into two tactics that we at The Burnie Group believe are effective in managing workplace stress before it becomes burnout.

 

Workforce Management

A key challenge that many of The Burnie Group’s clients face is having access to in-depth daily data from which to make operating decisions. They often do not know what was accomplished, what was left behind, and how to meet SLAs on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Without this data, managers and staff are often overwhelmed by workloads that appear to be beyond their daily capacity, which is one of the main culprits of burnout.

Workforce management allows an organization to optimize the productivity of its employees at the individual, team, and entity-wide levels. Managers are empowered with tools that help them develop an agile workforce and meet targets in a steady and stress-free manner. From matching employee skills to specific tasks over time, to quantifying the amount and types of labour needed to accomplish particular jobs on a day-to-day, or even hour-to-hour basis, effective workforce management has been proven to dramatically reduce workplace stress while enhancing staff engagement.

 

Investing in Wellness

Understanding and prioritizing activities that promote well-being for yourself and your team will not only contribute towards the prevention of burnout, it will also increase productivity and team engagement. Simple activities or tools that we have found to be effective include: mindfulness and resilience training; encouraging people to take time for exercise or other renewal activities, such as walking meetings; and building buffer time between key deliverables to help work at a manageable pace. These 5 Productivity Hacks are also great ways to help keep staff motivated and engaged.

 

The bottom line is that both personal development and effective team management can truly help reduce burnout, all the while enabling higher productivity and greater staff engagement. Doing well at work and encouraging people to feel well isn’t just possible — it’s the foundation of a high-performing team.

 


Preventing burnout before it begins


Sources:

 http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-008-x/2011002/article/11562-eng.htm

INFOGRAPHIC: How to be Productive

Too much to do? Looming deadlines?

Productivity is all about efficiency — doing more, faster and with less.  And with increasing demands from today’s anytime, anywhere workplace, productivity has never been more important. To get the most out of your day, try employing these 15 PRODUCTIVITY TIPS into your workday.

INFOGRAPHIC: How to be Productive

 


INFOGRAPHIC: How to be Productive


5 hacks to make your business more productive

5 hacks to make your business more productive  All companies want to improve employee productivity, but study after study consistently show that a disturbingly high number of employees are disengaged and not working at full productive capacity. Making productivity (and the ways to increase it) part of the norms at your office will mean that each day from start to finish people will be thinking about how to perform their jobs more efficiently.

Accordingly, organizations need to prioritize the “culture of productivity”. Here are our top 5 “hacks” to help make your business more productive:

 

1. Take Breaks

Clicking through photos of baby animals at work? That’s not silly procrastination, it’s an exercise in heightened focus. Short breaks have been shown in several studies to correlate with higher productivity.  In a recent study, employee computer use was tracked; the highest-performing 10 percent of employees tended to work for 52 consecutive minutes then take a 17-minute break.

While a hard-and-fast break policy won’t accommodate everyone’s individual habits—after all, some people work in short bursts, while others need long, uninterrupted stretches of time—it’s in your organization’s best interest to encourage employees to step away from their desks and take breaks.

 

2. Focus on creating value

Identify one negative work habit or one action that you do daily that is detracting from your productivity and eliminate it. Even better, replace that habit with something that has value.

For example, to minimize distraction and increase focus on the task at hand try:

  • –  Placing your phone out of site to prevent constant checking for text messages and feed notifications;
  • –  Closing your email application and opening it only when your task is complete; or
  • –  Turning off feeds from news sites and social media

 

3. Use efficiency-enhancing tools

Adapting efficiency-enhancing technologies will enable you and others in your organization to be more effective. A few of our favourite options include:

  • –  Harvest (getharvest.com): Track your time and expenses easily while you’re on the go.  Take photos of receipts and submit them on the spot – no more late nights stapling receipts and filling out Expense spreadsheets
  • –  Try a project management tool for more effective teamwork, we like: TeamGantt (teamgantt.com) and Basecamp (basecamp.com)
  • –  Fitbit (www.fitbit.com), or your preferred activity tracker: Fitbit users with one or more friends are 27% more active, and companies with worksite wellness programs experience an 8% increase in employee productivity.

 

4. Inspire!

An engaged employee is 44%  more productive than a satisfied employee. However, an inspired employee is 125% more productive than a satisfied employee!

There isn’t one single strategy that can magically inspire or motivate all employees, however, here are some general rules of thumb that’ll get you started:

  • –  Provide individual attention and give direct praise to team members;
  • –  Provide a clearly articulated career path and advancement opportunities;
  • –  Create an inviting and comfortable work environment, and
  • –  Foster a culture of transparency.

 

5. Bananas!

Productivity is all about working steadily at a goal and maintaining a consistent focus. The food you eat directly affects the way you think, feel, and work; the right food can significantly boost your productivity –  the right foods can boost brain power by as much as 20%.

For optimal productivity, stock the office with bananas. One banana holds the amount of glucose your brain needs for a whole day; starting your day with a banana will keep your mind sharp and functioning well.

 


5 hacks to make your business more productive


Sources:

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/09/science-tells-you-how-many-minutes-should-you-take-a-break-for-work-17/380369/
https://www.govloop.com/community/blog/organizational-drag-wasting-time-talent-energy-agencys-workforce/
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245208