Have a think if this sounds like you… You are a hard worker and you know more than everyone else in your department. Because of this, people repeatedly come to you for answers on how to do something, and a lot of the time it’s just easier to do it yourself. Or, your manager puts you under a greater workload because he/she knows you will get the job done. This makes you frustrated at the situation and can lead to unnecessary stress causing you to be hostile, impatient, and aggressive. You always consider playing dumb so that people will leave you alone, but you take far too much pride in your work. Academically, you are known as a “Type A” employee. (Jenkins & David, 2011)
This is an enormous problem for both managers and the Type A employee. For the individual, the amount of stress can lead to significant health issues down the track, as well as the inability to work on projects within the organisation that are going to lead to career development. For management, Type A workers can often turn into Type B workers, workers that are disengaged and just “float along.” If management continues to allow this to carry on, they are killing the innovation of their top players.
The problem is often derived from the difficult task of communicating the organisations specific processes and the correct way to do things. As a result, employees often use their own creativity to do a task and often complete it incorrectly, or they are continually asking a Type A employee how to do it. Either way, it’s incredibly unproductive.
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So how do you deal with this problem? Business Process Management, or BPM, is designed around tasks being completed around predefined processes, taking out the tasks that can be automated by the system, and leaving those tasks that require a human element to complete, delivered instantly to their computer screen. What this means is that the menial tasks, such as manual data entry and assignment delivery, are taken away from company staff, and the tasks that do need to be completed are delivered in a fashion whereby the user cannot continue to the next step until the guided tasks have been completed.
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Think of every process in your organisation. Now think of how quickly it would work if everything happened instantly. No walking to the warehouse and back to deliver a document, no waiting for Sally to come back from lunch to see what needs to happen next, no hell breaking lose if the Type A employee is off sick, and no intensive time spent training new employees of company processes.
Now think about you. Imagine if you had all that extra time to work on things that are going to make your department operate more efficiently. Either you want to progress in your career, or you want to climb up the ranks of your organisation. If you’re a manager, give your Type A employees the power to help you to improve your business. You know they are good at what they do, so harness it!
From a management perspective, wages in Australia are far too expensive in comparison to the rest of the world for their staff to be unproductive. The technology is here to change the way we work. It may seem like a daunting project to consider, but it’s just as easy as calling a BPM consultant in to work with you to analyse your most painful process to begin with. Once you see the benefits post to implementation, you can work to implement it across your entire business.
Individual Factors, Hurrell, Jr., Joseph J.,Levi, Lennart,Murphy, Lawrence R.,Sauter, Steven L., Editor, Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety, Jeanne Mager Stellman, Editor-in-Chief. International Labor Organization, Geneva. © 2011.