Righting the Back-Office Ship: Transform Chaos into Clarity
By Nicole Nevulis
Posted in Customer Engagement
The first charter of any new back-office operations director or department head is to understand how things work across their organization so they can right the ship -- balance their costs with the level of service they provide.
They have several direct reports with teams of front line managers that have their own way of doing things. They follow disparate management processes and collect, interpret and report on data differently.
Each has their own idea of what the end goal or destination is, and the best course their "captain" should take. Some may advocate that he follow the stars (manage by gut and experience), or navigate with paper maps (manager generated reports), or use modern technology to show the way (like a GPS for operations). The new captain has to set a course for progress that may cause waves, forcing his reports and managers into unfamiliar waters.
You can't change the way people work overnight, but you can drive impactful results by getting them onboard for the journey.
The most common complaint I hear from directors and department heads who find themselves in this situation, is "I need to get a handle on what my department is doing. Where are they spending their time?" You can get results very quickly by gathering data and managing something as simple as where time is being spent. Here are three steps I recommend that enable a leader to do this quickly.
A simple and powerful way is to start by capturing employee time spent in production and non-production activity. Leverage desktop analytics and self-tracking tools to identify if people are spending a healthy balance between the two, an even keel if you will. Often organizations do not even realize they are self-sabotaging themselves because they have no means of identifying or improving this ratio.
Visibility into this simple metric, time spent in production vs. non-production, focuses staff on the activities that move them forward in achieving their goals. Operations Visualizer is one of Verint's quick-to-try solutions that gives organizations visibility into this key metric.
Create a framework for capturing and triangulating data points and using that as a means to support consistent business management processes at all levels of the organization. Organizations need to:
Make sure everyone is working off the same metrics and the same map to steer the ship and stay on course.
Use a performance scorecard to set employee and team goals and manage progress toward achieving those goals. Having real-time performance data raises employee awareness as to how they are spending their time, and where they need to make changes to achieve their goals.
Time and again, when provided with this insight, I've seen employees take ownership and responsibility for the choices they make. They self-correct their behavior, focusing on the right tasks to achieve goals. I've even seen employees ask for more work as a result of the insight and changes. In addition, managers now have a compass, with the data they need to keep staff on course to meet corporate expectations.
By creating operational visibility, a measurement framework, and a means to share real-time performance data, back offices create a foundation on which to build a more simplified, modern and automated operation. Read this Executive Perspective: Your Workforce, An Underperforming Asset? to learn how Operations Visualizer can help organizations take these first three steps to right the ship and navigate the tricky waters of balancing costs and service.
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