Improving Your Team’s Productivity Skills
in 4 Easy Steps
Boosting productivity is the holy grail of the business world: getting more done in less time is the goal of any manager of a team.
If you’re wondering just how to go about - practically - improving productivity, then keep reading to find out the four simple steps you need to take to make it happen.
1. Optimize Communication and Collaboration
The easier your team members can communicate with each other - as well as other departments and outside agencies - the more they’ll be able to get done. Fact.
The first step in boosting productivity is to audit your communication processes and look at how well collaborative tools are working. Assess all your team’s processes with this in mind, from your basic setup regarding, for example, internal phone calls to how you hold meetings or disseminate information.
As part of this assessment, think about things like your email provider: is it supporting the best communication and collaboration possible? Might it serve your team better to switch to a client that allows for email chat - a merging of instant messaging with traditional email features - for clutter-free, conversational threads that are easy to read and follow? By promoting real conversation and doing away with confusing tangles of headings and signatures, team members will be able to work better, and happier. Look for a webmail client with a team chat option to keep colleagues, clients, or customers in the loop.
Deploying project management software is another great way to get your team working smarter. This can be used at every stage of a project from conception to culmination; along the way, teams can make the most of an arsenal of tools to boost collaboration, as well as be able to easily view task interdependencies and potential logjams, to better understand how their individual assignments affect and contribute to the big picture.
2. Promote Individual Ownership
One of the best ways to improve a team’s productivity schemes doesn’t cost a thing and can be extremely effective in boosting morale, too: giving ownership to individual team members.
But how is this actionable, in practice? Giving ownership means allowing and enabling members of staff to make certain decisions independently and also making them accountable for their work. This can make a huge difference in how invested your team feels in a project, and a significant spike in productivity is likely to be the result. It’s a powerful way to boost self-esteem, too: and when employees feel confident, valued, and motivated, you’ll reap the rewards of a happier workforce.
Give ownership by, for example, delegating certain key tasks to a member of the team or assigning them responsibility for a particular part of a large assignment. You could even make an employee responsible for leading a team or for being the liaison with a different department or outside agency.
As part of this process, it’s important to reward your team, and individual members for tasks well done or targets met. This could be as simple as writing a quick email to an employee who you’ve noticed being particularly patient with a difficult customer or congratulating an individual for their good work in a meeting. And when the team as a whole achieves a successful outcome or completes a major project, celebrate! Head out for a relaxed lunch or treat your employees to a gift voucher each as a thank you.
3. Consider Upskilling
Investing in training for your team members can increase efficiency and, in turn, productivity. For example, if you give an administrative employee some additional training, they may be able to take on some HR or accountancy tasks, too. If a receptionist is taught to touch type or to take shorthand, this will help him/her to do her job better.
For employers, this can equal cost savings: the more competent an employee, the more work can be achieved, and there will be less need to outsource or hire temporary staff to complete certain tasks. Managers can also expect to see increased engagement and employee retention, and the new adaptability of their workforce will see them in good stead in the event of a downturn, an expansion, or anything in between!
As a by-product of upskilling, you’re likely to see a more confident team, with each member feeling happy to voice any concerns or ideas about how to do things better. This can enrich communication and collaboration and even lead to a significant breakthrough. Upskilling can be undertaken via training courses or through a system of mentoring: the latter can be a great way for an employee to learn about other departments and the roles of other colleagues. Keep your team’s skills up to date by offering refresher courses or one-off sessions.
4. Use Automation Tools
Take some time to think about some of the mundane, day-to-day tasks undertaken by your team that could be automated. Online tools and platforms enable the automation of everything from financial processes to elements of recruitment.
Repetitive tasks can be sped up significantly by, for example, creating reports and rules on pre-populated spreadsheets and databases to generate the data or documents that the team uses most regularly.
Replenishing supplies can now be easily automated: modern printers can connect to and order their own ink or toner from suppliers when they sense that their supply is running low, while you could set up a monthly repeat order, manually, for stationery so that this task needn’t be remembered and carried out by staff members.
Using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a good way to automate a range of processes connected with customer service, care, and even marketing so that there’s never a risk of missing an opportunity to connect with a new client or taking swift action regarding any potential complaints.
Further Reading from Skills You Need
Learn more about the skills you need to be an effective leader.
Our eBooks are ideal for new and experienced leaders and are full of easy-to-follow practical information to help you to develop your leadership skills.
Boosting Productivity for a Happier Workforce
Going through the steps above can revolutionize your team. As well as helping every member of staff to get more done, it’ll result in a happier, more confident workforce with higher morale that feels valued and committed to the business.
About the Author
Eddie Davis: Having produced content in a number of technical fields, it's fair to say that that my experience in these markets is superior to most. Whether it's cybersecurity, editing software or anti-virus products (and many other areas) I've worked and written for some of the key players in the industry , as such, my work comes from a place of experience. I try to inform and educate, while making sure not to alienate those with less know-how: it's a tricky bridge to cross but it's one I've journeyed on for some years.