Government has a reputation for moving slowly and accomplishing goals at a snail’s pace. Sometimes things need to be done quickly though, and that means a need for efficiency. Fortunately there are ways to help quicken the pace of government work and improve efficiency for government businesses.
Decrease the Red Tape
How many different layers of approval or different forms need to be filled out to accomplish a task? Although approval and oversight are important to ensure quality, they can take valuable time and energy away from staff who are trying to accomplish tasks. If your best people are caught up in a slog of paperwork, it’s going to take longer than it should to see results.
Similarly, if they have to go through a long chain of command in order to change a light bulb or get a purchase order signed, the wheels of progress are going to grind to a halt. If a lot of forms end up on the desk of department administration to sign-off on, it can be frustrating for lower level staff. They don’t want to bother their superiors with reminders to sign-off, so find ways to decrease this wait time and give more responsibility to those at lower levels.
On the same note, working through a ton of bureaucratic paperwork can overwhelm public servants. This can be true even to the point that no work is accomplished. If the amount of paperwork your frontline staff have to push through to accomplish a task is sky high, it’s easier for staff to simply let things fall by the wayside. To decrease the red tape, have an independent group look through your paperwork process and make some determinations on what can be consolidated. Consolidating steps will make completing day-to-day tasks less challenging and free up your team to work towards bigger goals.
Outsource to Specialized Entities
At times, processes can’t be easily untangled, and outsourcing specific tasks to private entities can work instead. Whether it’s security or government fleet management, these entities specialize in efficiency in one particular area. These efficiencies can take a load off of public servants and better use taxpayer money. These contracts can be beneficial to government organizations, just be careful when selecting which contract you go with.
If outsourcing isn’t a good option, there are other ways to disentangle bureaucracy. Many times, committees are formed in order to try and get a task accomplished quickly or to resolve a specific problem. But over time, committees become dysfunctional and inefficient. Meetings take away from other job responsibilities, and inevitably, one or two teammates take on the brunt of the committee work while others languish.
To resolve this misuse of time, look at all committees employees are on and see which are necessary and which are not. Dissolve those that aren’t contributing to the organization any longer. With those that still have value, it may be time to rotate members. Also, see if there are ways you can consolidate committees. Dissolving, consolidating and rotating committee members will keep things fresh and help teammates stay on task.
As you're working through committee reorganization and bureaucratic red tape, look at your organization’s communication processes. How is communication being channeled down from administrators to frontline staff? Find ways to improve communication between all levels of employees. This may mean more town hall style meetings. It may mean administrators spending more time in the field with frontline staff as well. Another option is to survey staff on what they’ve understood from communications in order to pinpoint where you need to improve.
Multi platform communication software can come in handy when trying to improve communication as well. Some software can combine your calendar, file storage and text and video conferencing features. Having all options in one place can streamline and improve efficiency a great deal. Although, in-person communication is still the standard for getting a message heard and creating buy-in across all parts of the organization.
If you take the time to think through processes and reorganize and refresh your bureaucracy, there are ways you can improve efficiency and accomplish more for the community you serve.