Support Functions, the Catalysts of Change

It’s time for a change in how we view the support function and we will show you how essential they are to the future of your business.

What is the support function? Who is considered support in the organisation?

Before you go “Admin”, the support function is actually pretty much the majority of the business whose responsibilities don’t contribute directly to the profit margin. Those who do – they are in the core function.

This means, Human Resources, Finance, IT, Legal, Marketing, Research, Admin and the Design team.

Yes, these are all support roles in an organisation. Does being in a ‘support function’ make you feel smaller than your real contributions to the business? For those who are in the ‘core function’, do you feel superior those in ‘support roles’?

It’s time for a change in how we view the support function and we will show you how essential they are to the future of your business.

Stop seeing support functions as a cost centre

Harvard Business School Professor, Ranjay Gulati helped General Electric transform their marketing department has a word of advice to organisations who continue to view support functions as an overhead.

“…attempting to prove their worth by becoming corporate bureaucrats who enforce sometimes meaningless rules in an attempt to affect the bottom line. This, unfortunately, leads them (support functions) to regress into three successive pathologies: rule makers, naysayers, and innovation blockers.”

When you continue to view support as an overhead, it’s only natural for them to be conscious of their value to the organisation which sets off a chain reaction in them proving how they impact profit margins.

The last thing you want anyone in your business to be is an innovation blocker.

Until support removes this self-limiting label on themselves, expect barriers to innovate.

Support Function the true catalysts of innovation

If you had identified yourself earlier in the article as support staff, did you ever realise the power you have in your hands to steer the business in a better direction?

At Cogs, we work with various digitally driven business across industries – technology, advertising and consultancies, FMCG, retail, luxury, finance etc.

Here are some observations we noticed when working with organisations that empower their support staff:

Experience higher productivity levels

Organisations with a high level of engagement also report 22% higher levels of productivity. Witness an increase in teamwork, cohesiveness and collaboration as part of higher productivity levels.

Productivity can translate to profitability

For example, in a study of the “The 100 Best Companies to Work For” it was observed that empowered companies appear to maximize corporate wealth.

Greater willingness to go ‘the extra mile’

67% of employees are willing to put in extra effort (being more helpful, more resourceful) at work when empowered.

Reduced turnover rates

In a Gallup survey in 2012 found out that engaged employees in an organisation experienced lower turnover (25% in high-turnover organizations, 65% in low-turnover organizations). Employee engagement is a result of empowerment.

More job satisfaction that translates to customer satisfaction

In a survey conducted by Forsee, companies that score high on employee satisfaction prove to have a direct and positive influence on customer satisfaction. If employees felt engaged, trusted and empowered to deliver strong customer service, that is exactly what they did.

There is so much to gain when you empower your employees.

Start delegating authority to them today.


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