Is It Possible To Do More with Less? With the Right Systems, You Can

Have you heard this before?

“As much as I’d like to add another person to your team, we just don't have the money in the budget. See if you can spread the work across the existing team.”

It’s the constantly-present do more with less mantra. An industry-agnostic challenge that virtually almost every employee receives at some point in their careers. And as priorities shift, and workloads grow, managers request more from their teams.

But if everything is a priority, which, to be honest, often seems true, then how can employees expect to do their jobs well? Walk through any office and you’ll hear the hectic movements of fingers just trying to get something completed. They check off a box and then it’s onto the next task. It’s no wonder that an important meeting, a report, (a shoe) is likely to drop.

At the heart of every person is a desire to do well. No one wants to be the weakest link on their team. No one wants to perform poorly. But when workloads become unbalanced, it’s not just morale that sinks. The rush to meet deadlines inevitably causes more errors. With a heavy workload and a sprint to every imaginary finish line, leaders need to pause and ask:

Can your organization trust the integrity of the data, or the reports, or the analysis you’re generating?

Losing the taboo with technology…

Be honest, when was the last time you used a physical map to get to a new destination? It’s been a while, right?

Or, the last time you physically dialed someone’s number (by memory!) instead of looking for their name on your cell phone?

The fact of the matter is that we are not only relying on technology more and more, but we are also getting more comfortable with using it. There’s a reason we panic when our phone is missing; true, we no longer know those numbers by heart but even truer, our phones literally hold our life’s information!

Think about your own personal use with technology and how it enables you to do things better. AI assistants set timers to ensure meals aren’t overcooked, apps like Waze help us avoid traffic and get to our desired destinations faster, and wrist watches monitor our heart rates to ensure our overall health is on track.

but not in the workplace

While we are comfortable using technology for personal reasons, when it comes to using it in the workplace, it seems that organizations tend to find every excuse not to invest in it.

Why are some companies so hesitant to invest in technology that would make their employees lives easier? Cost, resources, not enough time?

Think of it this way: if leadership is telling employees to “do more with less,” putting a strong internal system in place is the only way to support and enable those employees to do their jobs.

Can Excel help an employee crunch numbers? Yes. Is it a manual process? Absolutely. Manual processes will continue to put stress on employees and increase the potential for error. Trying to “do more with less” while still using manual processes is the modern-day equivalent of Sisyphus pushing his boulder up the hill; it’s increasingly difficult and every time employees think they get ahead, something will cause the boulder to roll back down.

Why the right systems can help organizations thrive

Strong financial systems can increase productivity, organize business models, and make data useful and readily accessible. Here are three ways the right system can help:

  1. Create a single source of truth. If companies are not adding to their workforce, they must review proposed processes and workflows to help employees get the information they need. Most companies separate (and silo) finance and accounting departments and therefore store data in multiple locations; as a result, the “do more with less mantra” becomes impossible. By creating a single source of truth, you can empower employees to get the data they need to provide insights and be strategic in their decision-making.
  2. Understand what companies need to do to grow. Where does your organization want to be in five years? What controls do we need to put in place to make us more successful? Those questions can feel overwhelming to answer. A strong internal system can create a financial baseline that can visualize and “dig into” the data. By doing so, you can see where to adjust and what to focus on for success.
  3. Generate more time. The whole “do more with less” comes down to time. It bears repeating: At the heart of every person is a desire to do well. Learning a new technology isn’t easy. There’s usually a steep ramp-up to figure out the ins and outs of the system on top of doing your job. Employees feel the pressure and the spotlight on them. Make sure your organization creates a plan to help ease employees’ anxieties and remind them that this new technology will save them time in the long run. 

Let’s wait until next year; then we can revisit this. Organizations are only hurting themselves by waiting to invest in technology. Show your employees that you’re behind them – and the future of the company – by enabling them to do their jobs well. Do more with less may be a mantra for companies, but to their employees, at some point, less will become zero.

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