Top 10 Things You Must Do To Improve Team Members Productivity
How can leaders, business owners and managers improve team members productivity while still saving time? Here are the top 10 things you must do to increase team members productivity and efficiency:
1. Don’t be Afraid to Delegate
While this tip might seem the most obvious, it is often the most difficult to put into practice. We get it–your company is your baby, so you want to have a direct hand in everything that goes on with it. While there is nothing wrong with prioritizing quality (it is what makes a business successful, after all), checking over every small detail yourself rather than delegating can waste everyone’s valuable time.
Instead, give responsibilities to qualified team members, and trust that they will perform the tasks well. This gives your team members the opportunity to gain skills and leadership experience that will ultimately benefit your company. You hired them for a reason, now give them a chance to prove you right.
2. Match Tasks to Skills
Knowing your team members’ skills and behavioral styles is essential for maximizing efficiency. For example, an extroverted, creative, out-of-the-box thinker is probably a great person to pitch ideas to clients. However, they might struggle if they are given a more rule-intensive, detail-oriented task.
Asking your team members to be great at everything just isn’t efficient–instead, before giving an employee an assignment, ask yourself: is this the person best suited to perform this task? If not, find someone else whose skills and styles match your needs.
3. Communicate Effectively
Every manager knows that communication is the key to a productive workforce. Technology has allowed us to contact each other with the mere click of a button (or should we say, tap of a touch screen)–this naturally means that current communication methods are as efficient as possible, right? Not necessarily. A McKinsey study found that emails can take up nearly 28% of a team member’s time. In fact, an email was revealed to be the second most time-consuming activity for team members (after their job-specific tasks).
Instead of relying solely on emails, try social networking tools (such as Slack) designed for even quicker team communication. You can also encourage your team members to occasionally adopt a more antiquated form of contact…voice-to-voice communication. Having a quick meeting or phone call can settle a matter that might have taken hours of back-and-forth emails.
4. Keep Goals Clear & Focused
You can’t expect team members to be efficient if they don’t have a focused goal to aim for. If a goal is not clearly defined and actually achievable, team members will be less productive. So, try to make sure team members’ assignments are as clear and narrow as possible. Let them know exactly what you expect of them and tell them specifically what impact this assignment will have.
One way to do this is to make sure your goals are “SMART” – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (with an outlined time frame). Before assigning a team member a task, ask yourself if it fits each of these requirements. If not, ask yourself how the task can be tweaked to help your workers stay focused and efficient.
5. Incentivize Team Members
One of the best ways to encourage team members to be more efficient is to actually give them a reason to do so. Recognizing your team members for a job well done will make them feel appreciated and encourage them to continue increasing their productivity.
When deciding how to reward efficient team members, make sure you take into account their individual needs or preferences. For example, one team member might appreciate public recognition, while another would prefer a private “thank you.” In addition to simple words of gratitude, here are a few incentives you can try:
- PTO: Instead of a bonus or raise, you can offer your team members additional paid time off without having to use their vacation or sick time.
- Take Them Out For a Meal: You can take the team out to lunch, dinner, or happy hour. Maybe even allow them to leave work early to do so.
- Send a Handwritten Note: Sending a handwritten note shows you recognize the great work your team members have done and that you care enough to put your own personal time into thanking them.
- Lazy Monday Coupons: Another option is a “Lazy Monday” coupon, which allows team members to arrive late on a Monday morning.
- Tell Your Boss: If you email the team or team member thanking them for their work, considering copying your boss on the email.
- Try a Wellness Program: Consider implementing a workplace wellness program to cut down on the number of sick days and reduce your company’s overall health insurance spend.
6. Cut Out the Excess
If possible, try not to give team members smaller, unnecessary tasks when they are focused on a larger goal. Take a look at the team’s routine and see if there is anything that you can cut to give team members more time to focus on higher-priority assignments.
For example, if team members are asking to write daily reports for their supervisors, but supervisors generally don’t have time to read them, consider cutting the word count requirement. Doing something simply as a formality is wasting valuable time that could be used for accomplishing goals that actually help your company.
7. Train and Develop Team Members
Reducing training, or cutting it all together, might seem like a good way to save company time and money (learning on the job is said to be an effective way to train, after all). However, this could ultimately backfire. Forcing team members to learn their jobs on the fly can be extremely inefficient.
So, instead of having team members haphazardly trying to accomplish a task with zero guidance, take the extra day to teach them the necessary skills to do their job. This way, they can set about accomplishing their tasks on their own, and your time won’t be wasted down the road answering simple questions or correcting errors.
Past their original training, encourage continued team members development. Helping them expand their skillsets will build a much more advanced workforce, which will benefit your company in the long run. There are a number of ways you can support team members development: individual coaching, workshops, courses, seminars, shadowing or mentoring, or even just increasing their responsibilities. Offering these opportunities will give team members additional skills that allow them to improve their efficiency and productivity.
8. Embrace Telecommuting
Allowing your team members to work from home might seem inefficient – after all, how can you guarantee that they will still be productive if no one is watching them? However, the reality is quite the opposite (in fact, studies show that people who work from home are 10 to 15% more productive than office team members). Letting your team members telecommute will allow them to save time that would otherwise be wasted completely.
For example, say a team member is feeling too ill to come into work (or is simply worried about getting their colleagues sick) but can still be productive. If you don’t allow them to work from home, they will be forced to take a sick day and skip working altogether. Or, forcing your team member to miss an entire day of work if they have to wait for that 2 to 4-hour period to get their refrigerator fixed, simply isn’t efficient. Instead, allow your team members to work from home so they can maximize what time they do have available.
9. Give Each Other Feedback
There is no hope of increasing team members efficiency if they don’t know they’re being inefficient in the first place. This is why performance reviews are essential – measure your team members’ performance, then hold individual meetings to let them know where they are excelling, and what areas they need to work on.
Increasing team members efficiency isn’t all about what they can do better – some of the responsibility falls on you as well. But just like your team members, you aren’t psychic. So after reviewing your team members during your evaluation sessions, ask them what you could do to help them improve. Maybe they would like a little more guidance on certain tasks or would prefer a little more room for creative freedom. Asking for feedback from your team members not only gives you clear, immediate ways to help your team members improve, but also encourages a culture of transparency, teamwork and open dialogue that will allow for continued development over time.
10. Think Big Picture
Things that might seem like an inefficient use of time to you now, might actually be to your advantage in the long run. So, before vetoing an apparent misuse of time, ask yourself how this could possibly benefit your company.
Investing in Human Resources software now can save your company and your team members countless hours down the road. From automated onboarding to payroll that runs itself, embracing Human Resources technology will improve efficiency, reduce frustration, and help your business grow.
By utilizing a number of these efficiency and productivity ways, you can be sure that you don’t fall behind and put that extra hour or two a day to good, productive, efficient and profitable use.
Happy Sailing! 😊