As teams grow, so do the challenges of keeping them productive. Communication, employee morale and efficient workflows are all necessary to ensure team performance, but an over-reliance on any of these can have diminishing returns.
So how do you get the balance right? And what are the key things you should be focusing on when it comes to getting the most out of your team?
Focus on Outcomes Over Output
Productivity, in the dictionary definition, is “measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.” But in business, it’s not output that pays the bills.
If we want to get the most out of our team’s input, we need to focus on the outcomes achieved.
Let’s say a sales rep conducts 30 demos of the company’s software per week. They close 15 of them. Great — that’s 15 sales. Now let’s say they conduct 25 demos the next week and close 16 of them. Even better — 16 sales! Do we really care how many demos they’ve done when they’ve achieved more than last week?
By focusing on outcomes, we get to focus on conversion rate, efficiency and results. Output alone won’t grow your business, but outcomes will.
Assign the Right Work to the Right People
If we know what outcomes we want to prioritise, we should then be able to look at how we get there — and who should be responsible for each aspect.
This process starts all the way from the point of hiring. Hiring the wrong person can be catastrophic for your business, and you can see up to a 39% reduction in productivity.
But what’s equally as important is helping your employees to understand their roles.
Clear roles stop the team from wasting time, and help them with the job at hand. On average, employees show a performance increase of 25% when their roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.
Once the clearly-defined roles are given to the right people, employers should feel confident in letting team members get on with the job and getting out of their way. This is also shown to have a benefit, as autonomy breeds increased productivity.
So the process of assigning the right work to the right people is made up of three clear steps:
- Hire the right people for the work
- Assign clear roles and responsibilities to team members
- Get out of their way
Once employees are empowered to do their best work, it’s up to management and/or employers to make sure the environment they provide allows them to do so.
For this, we can’t just rely on our instincts.
Even in the most open and honest workplaces, team members won’t always speak up when things could be better. Encouraging feedback is essential to any workplace if you want to create a harmonious work environment that offers the most opportunities to do great things.
The same goes for giving feedback.
When things aren’t up to par, it’s important that you remind team members of their performance in a constructive, encouraging way.
So make sure you regularly check in with your team, and discuss how they could be improving as well as what you could be doing to help them improve.
Honest, open discussions about quality and culture only elevate a team — when done in the right way.
When feedback is given under the lens of achieving outcomes, we shift the focus of ‘do more’ into ‘how can I help you achieve more?’
Communicate & Collaborate Efficiently
So you’ve listened to and provided feedback, opening up the communication channels to create a harmonious culture. Now it’s time to harness that communication and use it efficiently.
When completing projects that involve various parts of the workforce, it’s important that communication channels are provided to update the team on a member’s activities and responsibilities. But in the information age, sometimes too much communication can lead to huge inefficiencies.
26% of employees say that app overload makes them less efficient, accessing around 10 apps every day.
To communicate efficiently and effectively, make sure you’re not complicating the communication channels you use. With many all-in-one options, you can make sure app overload isn’t a dysfunction in your team.
Cleaning up communication channels means you can open up the floor for collaboration. This is particularly important for complex projects that require multiple team members.
Collaboration allows teammates to share ideas and workloads, and helps with clarity of roles and responsibilities, which we know increases productivity.
You could join the two together, by using software such as WORKR that combines communication, collaboration and more in one central location.
Stop Wasting Time on Meetings
When working with others, it’s very easy to make things a lot more complicated than they need to be. This is particularly relevant when in comes to meetings, with 47% of employees considering meetings the #1 time-waster in the office.
To ensure meetings run smoothly you should set a clear agenda and let everyone know prior to the meeting. The person responsible for the agenda is then responsible for the direction of the meeting and keeping it on-course.
Another person should be responsible for recording the outcomes of the meeting, and sharing this with everyone after the session.
So you minimise the diversions from the topic at hand, and re-affirm people’s roles and responsibilities relating to the agenda, ensuring efficient communication and maximising productivity.
Lead Your Team
A leader helps their team achieve outcomes, rather than telling them what to do. They allow people to own their role, work autonomously and solve problems.
Leading your team goes beyond day-to-day micromanaging and focuses on providing employees with the means to overcome challenges. This could be through professional development, or simply allowing team members to find solutions without getting in the way.
This doesn’t mean leaving them alone — you should always be there to support your team. It means that you should trust your team until they give you a reason to think otherwise, rather than thinking team members have to earn the leader’s trust.
Even with professional development, you don’t have to focus solely on coaching people to be better at the core skills involved in their jobs. You could train teams on how to stop wasting time on meetings, communicate and collaborate effectively, give constructive feedback, work efficiently and focus on outcomes.
Taking a holistic approach to productivity helps you identify inefficiencies within your organisation and rectify them.
A holistic approach needs an all-in-one solution. That’s where WORKR comes in.
Manage team meetings, professional development, performance management, project management, staff communication and collaboration, and more with the all-in-one business management app.
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