Four investments for success in a struggling economy
Most companies prioritize cost reduction during economic downturns, eliminating anything that is not essential to the core business. But that mindset makes it easy to forget why your business exists in the first place: to sell the best product or service on the market. In this uncertain economy, here are the four investments every business needs to weather the storm, stocks Bhavin Shah, CEO of Moveworks.
The S&P 500 has been on a roller coaster since 2018: up 41%, down 33%, up 111% and now finally, down 23%. It is this last plunge that has raised fears of a real recession. Even if stock prices remain stable for the rest of the year, 2022 would be the seventh worst performing year checked in.
Business leaders need to make a subtle but important shift in focus – away from just cutting costs and towards maximizing efficiency.
To do this, you must actually invest After into the systems and processes you already have in place: your knowledge, approvals, software licenses, and employee issues.
How many of your employees actually use the FAQs, knowledge articles, and troubleshooting guides you created to help them? I’ve analyzed data from thousands of these knowledge bases at some of the largest companies in the world. The reality is that 75% of them are never even read once.
Most of the time, employees will ask questions that you have already answered on page 47 of the VPN troubleshooting guide. And even if they find the guide, they probably won’t find the one paragraph that can help them. This erodes productivity in two ways: employees spend their time searching for deep-rooted knowledge in your organization, and managers spend their time answering the same questions over and over again.
To combat this, you need to understand how employees seek knowledge for help today. Where do they look for information? Are they in the wrong system? Is your search giving bad results? Or do they find the right knowledge article and still not discover the answer? You need to figure out which parts of the process are broken and deal with each part.
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Do you know the average employee wait time for IT, HR, and financial approvals? Working with companies around the world, I’ve found that something as simple as approving a new laptop takes an average of 10 hours.
In large organizations, the approval process is a complex web that involves dozens of different systems and people. A simple request like buying a new laptop shouldn’t take 10 hours. But that adds up quickly if you’re waiting for multiple people to get the nod. Consider this: you submit a request for a new laptop through the IT portal, the request sits in a colossal ticket queue until IT can access it, IT contacts your boss for approval, and your boss finally confirms.
While 10 hours may not seem like a long time, more than an entire working day is wasted while the employee waits. Multiply that by 500 approvals per month – depending on the size of the business – and the amount of potential lost productivity per month is staggering.
I’ve seen some of the biggest companies in the world reduce their approval time from 10 hours to just 9 minutes by automating this process. To do this, business leaders need a way for managers to approve employee requests where they already work, whether that’s Slack, Microsoft Teams, or another platform. form of cooperation. All the approver has to do is click “yes” or “no”, and the process can move forward in minutes rather than hours.
Your software licenses
How many of your employees actually use the software they have access to? 37% of software licenses never get used to it at all. For American companies alone, this represents a combined waste of $30 billion a year.
Knowing this, IT teams often designate a team member to retrieve unused licenses. But a simple task like this can take an IT analyst anywhere from two hours to an entire day to determine who has used a specific tool in the last 90 days. The same person then spends more time crafting personalized messages for each employee who needs a revoked license to maintain trust.
Instead, you need to figure out exactly which parts of this process require IT specialist or employee involvement and which are good candidates for automation. For example, IT professionals can focus on more impactful work when they aren’t spending their time checking software licenses and sending emails asking if those licenses can be revoked. But the employee must ultimately choose whether or not he wants to keep his license or give it up. It also allows IT teams to focus on their highest priority: enabling employees to be productive.
Your employee issues
So how do you know which knowledge items need improvement? And how do you know if approval delays are having a negative impact on your employees’ productivity? Or how do you quantify the amount of money you lose after a year due to unused software licenses? A recent report found that 50% of IT and HR managers do not have access to data on their most pressing issues.
The reason for this is that CIOs and IT managers have historically focused on tickets to understand where they need to improve. Most could tell you the size of their backlog, the number of SLA breaches they’ve had, or the volume of issues they’ve had each quarter. But very few could tell you how long their sales team has been waiting for software approval or how many people on the engineering team have access to software they never use. But these latest issues tell a much larger story about where the business is losing efficiency on a daily basis.
Instead, business leaders need data that provides a holistic view of the employee experience. They need to understand exactly what issues are holding each team back and what changes they need to make before those issues have a meaningful impact on the bottom line. If you work backwards from this real, tangible information, increasing efficiency becomes an informed decision as opposed to a knee-jerk reaction.
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