Elements of Organizational EfficiencyWe’ve published numerous posts about productivity on this blog over the last few years—we’ve called attention to common drains on employee productivity, explored management tactics and new technologies that are designed to increase it, and even created our own model for multiplying it.

And we will continue to do so. First, because it’s central to what this company does. Second, and most notably, because no matter how proficient end-users become with their tools and applications, new technology, an increasing availability of data and a greater understanding of human behavior will consistently throw curve balls.

To really improve productivity, you need to first understand what creates value for your organization and direct employees toward those tasks

For business leaders, the key is to remain vigilant about productivity. Here are three ways you can keep it high on your priority lists:

1. Ensure organizational capability

Many companies are migrating to cloud solutions like Office 365, which have enormous productivity-boosting potential. But new technology alone will not deliver productivity and efficiency gains.

We detailed the many ways organizations can work to increase productivity in a recent webinar and blog post. We noted that most employees use only a small fraction of their software’s capabilities because they often don’t know they exist.

To increase adoption—and overall productivity—approach every new technology initiative comprehensively: Start early with efforts to increase user proficiency with their current tools, and sustain the momentum with relevant, engaging training during a migration and long after.

2. Plan ahead

Software updates may be smaller these days, but they still carry potential for business disruption and productivity losses. Microsoft’s new Office 365 Roadmap provides detailed information about updates that have already launched, are rolling out, are in development, and even those that have fallen by the wayside. It enables organizations to avoid disruption and discover new features. (See our previous post about the Office 365 Roadmap for more detail.)

3. Understand and communicate the context

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, contributor Ryan Fuller contends that many organizations have been focusing on the wrong kind of productivity. He explains that, although technology has enabled the average knowledge worker to produce more in a day than they previously could in an entire year, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that overall labor productivity has only grown 1%-2% per year during the tech boom.

Focusing only on individual productivity, and not considering how it does or does not contribute to organizational productivity, does not provide an accurate measurement, according to Fuller.

To really improve productivity, you need to first understand what creates value for your organization and direct employees toward those tasks.

Productivity is a universal concern. Leaders from organizations of every size and in every industry grapple with the issue all the same. Organizations that craft insightful approaches can realize the value increased productivity promises.

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