Profit Fix #7: Burnt-Out Back Office Staff Wearing Multiple Hats and a To-Do List That Never Ends?
Retaining back-office staff leads to higher revenues.
Don’t be alarmed, but right now, one of the A-players on your back office team is probably this close to quitting.
He's overworked, swinging from anxiety to boredom, rarely getting into flow, and the mountain of mundane and repetitive tasks is draining all of his energy before lunchtime. He wants to do a good job, he loves your company culture and his team, but jumping from dispatch to sending invoices to chasing after unpaid bills to ordering parts to picking up after-hour service requests is driving him to the edge.
But fear not.
By the end of this article, you’ll know how we’re helping our partners make all of this go away and have their staff focused on their highest-value activities, with close to zero turnover.
And hopefully, you’ll want to do the same.
Now, to make sense of the rest of this article, we need to take a look at Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow Model. It’s a fairly known chart that maps employees’ states depending on the skill required for a task and the challenge of those tasks.
And I bring it up because it gives company executives a new lens through which to look at their staff's productivity (maybe even your own?), and gives extreme clarity on the steps to take to solve productivity issues.
The model looks like this:
Looking at the extremes, we have:
✱ High-skill tasks with high challenge ➜ Leading to flow states, a sense of control, and arousal at the job to be done.
This is where we help back-office teams get to, but more on that in a minute.
✱ High-skill tasks with low challenge ➜ Leading to relaxation.
Think of a piano virtuoso, relaxing as she plays a difficult song she knows by heart.
✱ Low-skill tasks with high challenge ➜ Leading to anxiety and worry.
✱ Low skill tasks with low challenge ➜ Leading to apathy and boredom.
Based on experience, the last two are where most back-office teams stand:
Most back-office teams stay in states that swing between boredom and anxiety, with rare episodes of flow and relaxation. They may have an important issue to take care of for a key account but have 30 other mundane tasks in the backlog at the same time.
So they’re torn between conflicting choices:
“Should let go of the small stuff? Should I keep the key account waiting for another couple of days? (stress levels go up) Bah… I’ll just go out and have a smoke”
And this leads to a host of issues that affect the whole organization, top to bottom.
➤ No one is really productive when they are anxious, bored, or apathetic.
➤ This creates a revolving door for the back-office staff, with people coming and going in a matter of months.
➤ This adds a strain on the HR department—or managers doubling as recruiters—constantly needing to source new back-office people.
➤ Or leads to using band-aid solutions, like using temporary staffing agencies to keep up with the recruiting needs.
➤ Regardless of where the new staff comes from (internal or external recruiting), they still need to be onboarded, trained, and managed.
➤ Most of the new staff gets to really be productive and independent at around the 90-day mark—which is when they often leave—and the whole cycle starts again.
Sorry if this sounds too gloomy, but it’s a reality that we’re seeing…
And we’re turning it around!
Not long ago, industry leader Rodger Smelcer (VP and Co-Owner of United Service Technologies) had a revolving door in his accounting department—even though he’s known for fostering an amazing company culture and his staff loves working there—there was a particular set of tasks that people hated doing.
Until we came on board.
With our remote team and processes, not only did they solve this problem for good but their whole accounting team was performing at their best level. They were happier than ever, with ZERO turnover ever since.
We were able to take a whole lot of tasks off of the in-house team’s plate that they hated! Remember from the Flow Model: apathy, boredom, anxiety.
And it turned out that those are the exact types of tasks that the remote team excelled at doing—flow, control, arousal.
And thus, their in-house team turned to higher skill and challenging tasks.
In other words, the new Flow Model looked like this:
But it gets better because…
Not only do back-office teams perform better than ever and stay longer…
The effects on management are just as good.
We’ll turn your 27 step-long recruiting processes into a one-call process. We’ll free up managers wearing multiple hats—and dropping a few balls in the process—to let them focus on their core flow activities. We’ll even overhaul your SOPs and documentation—or create them from scratch—making it all more efficient for the remote team AND the in-house team.
As you can see, we’re not here to “take away your staff jobs...”
Quite the opposite!
We want ALL your team to stay, be more productive, be happier at work, and essentially give them superpowers to take on more higher-value work that keeps them sticking around.
And as a result, now you can have:
Estimates sent out in real-time
Invoices sent out on the same day (usually within an hour)
Collect more unpaid invoices, while keeping an excellent client relationship (and without collection fees)
More revenue per technician
And six-plus figures in extra cash flow every month.
It’s all part of the new “gold standard” in remote teams —focused on business profits—that we’re thrilled to be bringing to the mid-market industry. Several industry pioneers have already discovered the kind of competitive advantage that we can give them, and we’d love to give it to you as well.
So, I’d like to invite you to have a run through our “Profit Score” Quiz, to find out if your back-office team is leaking productivity—as well as look into 8 other key business areas.
For companies processing 10,000+ orders every month, I wouldn’t be surprised if they uncover more than six figures a month in profits leaks. But even if they don’t find any leaks, they can be sure that they’re running a tight ship that’s ready to scale!
Honestly, for the amount of strategic clarity it provides, I'd reckon fancy consultants could charge tens of thousands of dollars for it. But if you’re reading this, you get a free run through it with me, as my holiday treat.