Employee utilization is a reflection of how efficiently a company uses its staff. It is determined by looking at how much time employees spend on specific assignments and tasks as a percentage of their available time on the job. Low efficiency suggests that employees may be idle on the job, which costs the company money. This can also increase dissatisfaction, as bored, restless staff tend to be less happy on the job. Consultants can assist companies with underutilized personnel to determine how to apply their human resources more effectively.
This approach to management requires employees to keep accurate records on their activities. Instead of using a basic time clock to track time spent at work, the company can ask personnel to log time in association with specific projects. The time clock still monitors overall work hours, but the detailed logs show what employees are doing and when. Some workplaces facilitate such logging more than others. At a law firm, for example, staff are accustomed to tracking billable hours by client or job.
In an employee utilization review, managers can look at how much time employees spend on different tasks. Some underutilized time may be expected to handle routine tasks and maintenance activities like tidying a desk and attending office meetings that do not concern a specific job. If an employee spends a lot of time idle or working on unspecified projects, that person is not being utilized well. The company may be wasting money, and the employee’s skills are not being put to good use.
One tool for increasing employee utilization is flex scheduling, where employees develop personalized schedules. This can include opportunities to work from home or to change hours to suit the needs of specific projects. People with particular skills may also be reassigned to departments where they are more likely to be used. Managers and schedulers may also be reminded to use people with specialized skills rather than relying on general employees for tasks that might require someone with more experience and training.
Proper project management, delegation, and scheduling are also important for employee utilization. If a project manager does not create a workable schedule for a project, people may be left idle at various points waiting for work. This could include people waiting on other personnel to finish a task, or staff forced to be idle because of delays caused by problems with the project. The ability to reassign workers if they aren’t being used in situations like this can help increase employee utilization.