Step 1: Improving utilization by setting measurable targets
In our previous blog, Seven steps to achieving optimal fee earner utilization, we introduced you to our 7 steps to improve fee earner utilization. This blog is going to take you through the first step in more detail.
Setting measurable utilization targets across your PSO for all project resources is challenging for even the most system-rich organizations, but targets are key as a marker for your business to focus on and move towards. After assessing your current utilization rate based on our five categories, it will be easier to see how your utilization rates need to change.
If you don’t already have measurable utilization targets, you should use best efforts to put them in place. Maybe you do have targets but don’t track or measure them, then you should consider revisiting them. It's important to look at what should and can be measured, and then decide when it should be measured, why and how.
We have devised some goal setting recommendations to help you improve your fee earner utilization levels:
- Develop a view of what level of utilization is right for your business and your employees. To be 100% utilized is not realistic in these situations, therefore you need to assess a level that is balanced.
- It is important to not to set your utilization targets too low or your employees will be underproductive and dissatisfied. But if you place your targets too high, then you’ll face possible problems with burn-out and again dissatisfied and disgruntled employees.
- Develop transparent ways to measure your targets. Targets are nothing without the ability to measure performance against them.
- Put KPIs in place to ensure that the building blocks are in place for achieving the targets. Ensure that your KPIs and targets can be measured accurately and not just on gut feel. Smaller stepping stones work better to encourage change in behaviour rather than one drastic leap to a new target.
- If appropriate, share your overall organisational targets with your workforce as aspirational goals. If everyone shares the same goal, then everyone is a stakeholder and will take their own necessary steps to work towards the targets.
- Agree personal utilization targets with individual team members to act as a strong personal incentive for improvement.
Why not check out the other six steps to improving fee earner utilization? Our white paper has lots of information about how to work towards improving your utilization and the best ways to go about it. If you want to find out more, or ask any questions, you can get in contact with the Timemaster team.