Utilization is all about maximizing the potential of your team. Put simply, it’s a measure of productive hours within a certain time period. And when it is managed properly, utilization can drive the greatest improvements to your agency’s bottom line.
From a business perspective, it’s important that you manage utilization in order to make your salary dollars go further and you get more bang for your buck. But from a human perspective, it is important to manage utilization so that you can protect your most valuable asset by balancing workload to avoid burnout and high employee turnover.
It can be extra challenging to manage resource planning for a distributed team, but by empowering your team to understand their responsibility to the big picture and providing them with the right processes and tools to get it done, it is exponentially easier to find that balance and optimize utilization, regardless from where your team members are working.
Empower Your Project Managers:
- In order to set the baseline to which employee utilization will be measured, project and resource planning both need to be tied to a budget. In most agencies, the Project Manager is accountable for the budget and ultimate deliverables, so the process of managing utilization actually begins with them. WorkBook makes this process easier by allowing Project Managers to quickly convert a client-approved Price Quote into a matching schedule, or copy a schedule from a similar job, complete with resource suggestions per task.
- Depending on your agency’s workflow, the Project Manager can apply the suggested resources to tasks and then submit them for approval to the Resource Manager, or leave the entirety of this phase up to them, once the schedule has been made.
- Booked assignments are then automatically fed back into the schedule, ensuring one cohesive version of the overall plan to serve as the baseline against which job performance can be measured.
Empower Your Resource Managers:
- The next step to managing team utilization is proper resource planning. Once a schedule of tasks has been created for a job, the Resource Manager should book those tasks to the people that are best-suited to deliver on the brief, both in terms of skillset and availability. WorkBook makes this simple by allowing Resource Managers to filter the team by skillset, with visibility into the hours they have available within the task period.
Full Resource Transparency
- Once team members have been booked to all tasks, Resource Managers now have full visibility into the team’s planned utilization, or the ratio of hours booked on tasks out of the total amount of hours available, from a single view.
- With this overview, you will likely notice that there are people on your team that are in danger of being overworked, as well as some that are not as busy as others, who might have the ability to help out. The ability to quickly and easily spot these issues ahead of time, is the key to properly managing utilization and maintaining workload balance.
Evaluate & Optimize Regularly
- Because jobs and priorities are in a constant state of flux, it is important for Resource Managers to keep an eye on the team’s utilization as time gets submitted, and make quick adjustments when needed. Much of this happens organically on a daily basis, but it is also important for them to reevaluate long-term staff plans weekly or monthly, depending on how far out resources have been planned.
- By reviewing the Utilization Dashboard (available in the Power Launch configuration) or the Employee Profitability Report, Resource Managers can assess the team’s realized utilization, or the ratio of actual time worked out of total available time. This also gives them insight into how time was split between billable and non-billable hours.
Empower Your Users:
- When the Resource Manager has booked a task, it will automatically appear in the team member’s task list. This essentially acts as a digital job jacket, providing the User with briefing materials, job and task numbers, as well as the number of hours they have been allotted to complete the task. With this information at their fingertips, Users become accountable for accomplishing the work that needs to be done within the parameters established by the budget.
- Nobody likes timesheets, but if hours are the metric used to build the Price Quote, they are essential for monitoring job progress and informing more accurate quotes. In order to make them less painful, and thereby boost compliance, time entry needs to be as simple and as effortless as possible. WorkBook lessens the burden on the User by integrating task management with time entry, allowing them to submit hours as they move tasks from one category to another, without the need to remember lengthy job or task numbers. They can even enter time in a WorkBook conversation or through the mobile app, whichever suits their natural workflow best. When Users understand the value that submitting time has on the rest of the team’s ability to accomplish their daily tasks, and when they have the tools to make it happen effortlessly, it is much more likely to happen.
By empowering your team to take an impactful role in managing utilization:
- Project Managers are better equipped to monitor job progress and identify over-servicing quickly, which allows them to take preventative action to avoid overspend.
- Resource Managers are able to balance workload easily, which helps optimize utilization and prevent burnout and reduce turnover.
- Team members can spend their time more productively, which helps ensure that projects are delivered on time and on budget.
- You have a happier and healthier team.