Effective versus Efficient

Companies often talk about improving employee effectiveness and efficiency. They do sound similar, but effectiveness means something entirely different than efficiency. You can be utterly efficient, but not effective. Combining both ensures the best results. Let’s discuss effectiveness versus efficiency.

Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (important or not), in the most economical manner possible. Being efficient without regard for effectiveness is utterly unproductive.

Ineffectiveness can be seen all day long in the office. A person who checks e-mail 20 times a day is rather ineffective. Even when that person has made an elaborate system of folder rules and techniques, for ensuring that each of the 20 e-mails move as quickly as possible. This is just wheel-spinning, and thus, not effective. Combining efficiency and effectiveness however, yields great results.

What is effectiveness?

Effectiveness is the level of results from the actions of employees that drive results and goals. Effective employees deliver high-quality results. Let’s take Sales for example. An effective salesman makes sales consistently. However, if he is ineffective, he will struggle to close a sale. Effectiveness can be measured by conducting performance reviews. Effectiveness of a workforce has a huge impact on the quality of the company and its products. This in turn improves a company’s reputation and customer satisfaction.

What is efficiency?

Efficiency in the office can be seen as the time it takes to do something. Efficient employees complete tasks in the least amount of time possible, with the least amount of resources. This can be done by numerous time management skills and tricks. Inefficient employees on the other hand take the long road, they need an excessive amount of time in order to achieve the required results. Efficient communication for example, might be communication face-to-face instead of sending an unclear e-mail which results in a chain of responses. Efficiency boosts productivity and as a result, saves time and money.

Being effective and efficient are not the same sides of a coin. One can be effective without being efficient and vice versa.

Improve effectiveness

In order to improve effectiveness there need to be performance reviews, detailing an employee’s weakness through constructive criticism. Managers need to be aware of the effectiveness of their employees and should empower their employees to work more effective.

Ineffectiveness can be the result of employees who don’t really care about their work. Or they don’t have the skills to work effective. Luckily, both can be improved. You can also teach yourself to become more effective, by staying on track and focussing on your main goals.


Improve efficiency

Improving efficiency can be done by meetings between managers and employees to outline ways to implement efficiency in the office. Different automation tools might be needed. You can improve your own efficiency by seeking the way of least resistance and focussing on the 80/20 principle. How can any given task be done in the least amount of time, with the least effort? In this way you will improve your efficiency and thus have more time for the truly important tasks.

Effective and efficient

By working efficient and effective you will achieve better results faster than before. Always keep in mind why you are doing something and if that something can be done faster – or better yet, how to automate it. Keep your goals in mind and focus on the time it takes to finish something. Giving yourself a deadline might be another way to improve efficiency, as you are less likely to use up all the time that is at hand.

Become effective and efficient at what you do, and reap the benefits.

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