Our reader poll today asks: How would you describe the “back office” functions at your company (finance, procurement, legal, HR, etc.)?
- They occasionally add value and respond in a reasonable time. 29.78%
- They add value in every interaction and are highly responsive. 25.56%
- They are extremely frustrating and overly bureaucratic. 19.38%
- They rarely add value and tend to slow things down. 17.98%
- They make my life a nightmare, and I can’t get anything done. 7.3%
Improving the back office. Eighty percent of you report your back office functions like procurement, finance, legal and HR only occasionally add value (30%) or even worse, rarely add value or make your life extremely difficult (55%). That’s alarming. But blame resides in two places. One place is with the back office. If you’re in one of these functions, remember these other groups are your customers. While policy and procedure has a place, responsiveness to their needs helps business performance. If you’re more interested in process and bureaucracy than you are in getting things done, it’s time to rethink your priorities. The other half of the blame is with those who consume back office services. Going to them with short timelines, ill-formed requests and excessive requests for exemptions doesn’t make their lives easier. You need to plan your requests better. Give them time to respond (they have a lot of customers!). Respect their rules and processes. The answer lies somewhere in the middle here (and 26% of you have found that sweet spot). It’s a partnership — treat it as such.
Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!
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These results were originally a SmartPulse poll in SmartBrief on Leadership which tracks feedback from more than 240,000 business leaders. Get smarter on leadership and sign up for the SmartBrief on Leadership e-newsletter.