When something of great interest is presented, I need to make a note of it. One
such note was made three years ago when attending a mentoring session for
business owners. The key note speaker talked about lifting the performance
curve which included an interesting equation by British physicist and
information scientist, Derek Price.
After extensive workplace analysis, Price proposed that:
50% of tasks in a company are performed by the √ (square root) of the
number of people in that company.
For example, if you have a team of 25 employees then five staff would perform
50% of the tasks in hand. So, to flip that, 20 people are fulfilling the remaining
50% of the work suggesting some if not most people are disengaged from the
You might be thinking, so what? The work is getting done, business is growing
and everything is tickety-boo. But what about those vital people who are
carrying more than their fair share of the load?
The greatest impact to your business could be losing those key players who
may seek the challenges they crave and an equal share of workload they
deserve. Remember, the best people create the best opportunities, and they
tend to set demanding targets of themselves. If your best people are
disillusioned, then they may seek pastures new. This could leave a big hole to
fill in your business which in today's recruitment world is not that easy.
I guess the other question to ask is why are the other 20 staff members not
engaged with the business and what steps can be taken to engage or indeed
re-engage people in the business?
Aware of the pitfalls of Price’s formula, we set out to review our business
structure, clearly define our individual roles, clarify individual responsibilities
and set a shared 3 year plan for growth. Steps also included:
I’m delighted to say that our most recent staff engagement survey showed a
69% fully engaged workforce (national average of 27%) which is, in my
view, fundamental to us achieving continuing double-digit growth. Of course,
the process is non-stop, as it takes time to be good, and even longer to be
great - unfortunately there are no shortcuts.
Does the Price formula apply to your business?
I’d certainly welcome your thoughts.
50% of tasks in a company are performed by the √ (square root) of the number of people in that company.