How is it possible to achieve clear structures, efficient performance, gain transparency and IT control? One way is certainly the tedious systematic work on problem zones (i.e. bottlenecks), analyzing and optimizing processes and structures. More successful, however, is a new control mechanism incorporating role based work through: Active Qualified Human Resource Organization (AQRO™). The purpose of AQRO™ is to substantially reduce the company’s risk of poor performance and failure. The focus is shifted from line organization to project organization. This means that the team members are exclusively active in a defined role for a specified time and are responsive only within this role. They are thus able to focus their work effectively – but nonetheless, the departement is available for clients, co-workers and external partners.
Using this method can additionally yield a working time gain of up to 1,5 hours per day and employee which relates to a total of approximately 8 hours a week (or one work day) per employee! A huge benefit for each and every business! AQRO™ can be implemented in large departments as well as in small, medium or large sized enterprises with 7 or more employees.
The working time gains through AQRO™ can be used effectively to:
- Reduce or avoid employee overtime;
- Increase the quality of work performance;
- Start new projects or invest in new business opportunities that were previously delayed due to lack of time.
AQRO™ provides transparency – when, which employee takes on which roles – establishing a solid base for active management control.
At a utilities company, 12 IT professionals now accomplish the job previously done by 14. By implementing AQRO™, it was possible within 6 weeks to substantially increase employee efficiency, which allowed 2 employees of the team to take on additional tasks and projects.
Reduced Efficiency through Shifting Roles
We are all familiar with the regular conflict between line organization and project organization. Especially affected are IT professionals, who often simultaneously assume multiple roles and functions. On one hand, they handle the day-to-day business tasks and on the other hand, they actively assume responsibilities within defined projects. In respect to the given task, they have to jump from one role into the next – a very time and energy consuming matter, not to forget the constant change of thinking processes. The situation is especially stressful, when employees are distracted by co-workers, superiors, external partners or clients, who do not understand or are not aware of the current role the employee is momentarily assuming.
Even with minimal distractions, it requires a certain amount of effort and time to reconnect to the subject matter, calling back into mind the recent activity and then continue from where the employee left off. How can important tasks such as budget planning for the next project or compiling current data for risk management be accomplished efficiently and error free in such a scenario?
Interruptions reduce efficiency and quality. Psychological studies have shown that each distraction costs a business up to 15-20 minutes of valuable work time. A mere 6 interruptions equate to a loss of 1,5 hours of work time each day and per employee! This „down-time“ is not only annoying, potentially causing unneccessary overtime, but can also can lead to stress and excessive workload, increasing cost and error prone result sets as well as project delays, or at worst, project failures.
New Management Control Mechanism
A company’s IT department or other corporate departments can be difficult to control at times – for you as divisional supervisor as well as for management. There always seems to be a lack of transparency. But what if it was possible to know the exact utilization of each employee? What if you could know exactly which employee is working on which project and who has time available to take on new tasks? Who is overworked, who is underutilized? What if you could clearly identify at which point the team’s capacity is exploited? Fact is, that in such a given situation, you cannot report to management appropriately, because it is barely possible to assess if a new project can be taken on by the existing team; if further resources are needed and would reassure completion, or, if another project should be reprioritized in order to balance resources as required by given projects.
Tangible facts are simply not available. It is only possible to make a vague assessment based on a personal notion or many years of experience. Under certain circumstances, projects will not be completed on time, customers/clients react angrily and may be lost for good and not to mention potential increase in overall cost.
Scheduled „Time-Out“ has proved to inspire Companies
Why did we develop AQRO™? Each employee is distracted an average of 27 times a day according to a current field study by Cornelius König, Professor for Occupational and Organizational Psychology at the University of Saarland, Germany.  Employees, who are able to „check out“ for just one hour a day, achieve better quality results, are more motivated and more satisfied with their job.
In the study, supervisors documented their daily work performance over a period of two weeks. During the first week, the participants scheduled their time individually; during the second week, they integrated a „focus hour“ into their workday, during which they focussed on important tasks and allowed absolutely no interruption. As a result, the supervisors experienced higher quality performance during the „focus hour“ and the entire workday was regarded as more fulfilling and efficient. Important, however, was that the “focus hour” was not left to the intent but rather actively pursued and integrated into their daily work schedule and process. The regularity makes the difference.
Another problematic situation arises, when employees are continuously available for and have access to email communication. Scientists at the University of California proved in 2012, that employees who received no emails during a certain period of time were less stressed and definitively more productive. 
It is evident that employees – unlike supervisors – only have limitied possibilities to take a short „time-out“, to close Outlook & Co. or to instruct the team secretary not to put any calls through. For this reason, they must rely on their supervisors to allow them to retreat from daily activities – a situation that unfortunately is rarely feasible.
We at AQRO™ want to change this! For many years now, we have successfully implemented our methods and processes in IT as well as other departments and have shown that employees, who continuously and unconsciously shift back and forth from one role to another are substantially less efficient.
For this reason, we have developed a method that:
- Firstly, considers each individual role that an employee assumes;
- Secondly, allows each role sufficient time, enabling quality performance;
- Thirdly, is transparent and easy to apply and
- Fourthly, guarantees that the department is nonetheless continuously and reliably available for clients, co-workers and external partners.
This post is also available in: German