Accsys, winner of the Management of Systems Award in the medium enterprise category

Systems take care of the boring stuff, enabling creativity

Never allow a process to happen twice without a system. Even if the process involves something as apparently simple as collecting cans for social responsibility purposes, people management software company Accsys has a system for it.

While this might seem like a lot of work, it’s more than worth the effort, says Teryl Schroenn, recently retired director at Accsys and now a business consultant at its holding company, Transactional Capital Risk Services.

“When you have a system in place for things, you stop reinventing the wheel every day and you pre-empt unproductive behaviour that happens when everyone does things differently.”

Human nature being what it is, you can ask 10 people to give you the same information and end up with 10 different versions if you have not explained what is required and preferably designed an input form.

When everyone approaches the task the same way, you get the results you want – particularly if the system you have established saves people time and minimises effort.

This is especially true for day-to-day, repetitive or regular processes, such as applying for leave.

“The average employee in South Africa applies for leave 8 to 15 times a year,” says Teryl. If done manually, this can take 10 to 15 minutes every time (and longer if there are errors). On the other hand, it can take a mere two or three minutes – and eliminate mistakes – if the company has an automated employee self-service system.

Apart from putting systems in place and making them easy to use, it is important to make sure those systems are applied consistently.

An example is the monthly staff meeting, held on the second Friday of every month. “Come hell or high water, it will take place,” she says. “People come to rely on consistency and when you have it, you create a platform for innovation because the day-to-day stuff is taken care of. Systems give you confidence. They become part of your DNA. And because the boring stuff is just done, it enables creativity.”

Systems themselves must be flexible enough to change, and Accsys has a system for that too. Any employee can recommend a system improvement by registering it on the SharePoint system, after which it will be checked and approved for use – via a system.

Teryl says its consistent approach to processes and systems is one of the reasons Accsys keeps performing well. “We never did anything that probably thousands of companies haven’t done – but we do what we do consistently.”

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