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4 ways to increase team productivity

Monday, 18 November 2019 14:32 PM | People power

how to increase team productivity

Managing a team is hard whether it's 10 or 100 people. How do you make sure you're getting the most from your employees?

Great productivity starts with getting the right people in the first place. Recruiting to culture and values and then inducting and appraising around key behaviours.

We’ve split this blog into two parts, first we’ll be looking at talent, culture, communication and the physical workspace. In the second part we’ll share some practical tools for measuring staff motivation and tools for training and productivity. 

Company culture and values
While values are generally seen as the foundation of a business, created by the founder, culture adapts and evolves around its people. Some members exert greater influence over their culture by demonstrating and rewarding the behaviours they want to see in the business. This helps to increase productivity as everyone understands how they need to perform to impress and progress. Here are some tips from members:
Culture guide:
Some members have created a coffee book guide to culture. Whilst others have developed posters or a simple one or two-page manifesto as part of their induction pack. Watch out for your tone when creating these documents. The should be meaningful, and have wide appeal. Avoid a dictatorial tone.
Recruitment guide:
Build your values and key behaviours into interview questions to ensure you are more likely to recruit candidates with the right cultural fit. See our blog on 3 best interview tactics here.
Buddy system:
If a member of the team is lacking in productivity, buddy them up with a high motivated individual who is a champion of the company values. This can help to improve productivity but also shows the rest of the team what great looks like. Desk moves can encourage new interactions and spark productivity between teams.
Quarterly review:
Ask your team to rank their behaviours against your company values every quarter and provide examples of where they have delivered against the values. Then work together to set behavioural objectives that will help them progress in their role
Know your team
Understanding your greatest asset takes time and effort. Members with the most engaged, loyal, and productive staff have regular one to ones, clear KPIs, and strict deadlines to keep people accountable.
As the business scales, it’s harder for founders and CEOs to have one to ones. But those members who do, have higher retention rates and a better insight into their team. Here are some tips from members:

One to ones:
Members who still arrange one-to-ones advise not having a specific agenda. Instead openly discuss: what people like or dislike about the company, what motivates them or de-motivates them, their ambitions for themselves and the business

Monitor your managers:
Make sure your managers know their staff and they are arranging regular catch ups and one-to-ones with their teams. Members warn against those letting them slip as it can de-motivate employees. 

If junior staff are reporting into someone they don’t rate and respect, and if they can’t see a clear path to career progression, they will leave
Each manager should book in Monthly Business Reviews of 30-60 minutes with each team member to discuss:
  • achievements and disappointments
  • challenges and opportunities
  • review delivery against targets
  • set agreed actions for the month / quarter
Some members use a RACI matrix (responsibility assignment chart) for their teams. For this they list projects and tasks alongside who is Responsible and Accountable, who they should Consult to get it done, and who to Inform when it’s complete.
This not only removes any blurred lines on responsibilities but also means only those who should be involved are copied in to emails
Career path:
Create Personal Development Plans for each team member to show them what their path looks like over the next 12-18. Ask them to write down five personal goals and five professional goals. The purpose of this is to help them understand how their career path ties in with their life goals, and how they can achieve both in your business. It’s the job of their manager to ensure they achieve their goals
Alumni events:
Some members have brought former employees back for town halls or socials to show how people have progressed through and from the business. This can inspire the team, show the potential for career progression, and demonstrate that you care about your people even if they’ve left the company
A clear vision, communicated in the right way, can motivate everyone to perform beyond expectation. Poor communication, particularly in times of change like acquiring or being acquired, creates fear and confusion which impacts motivation and productivity. Members who regularly communicate with their teams, individually and company wide, get more engagement and commitment from their people. Here are some tips and tactics to improve your internal communication:
Consistent messaging:
Whether it’s in weekly blogs, vlogs or monthly town hall speeches, be consistent in your messaging. Keep reinforcing your company values, and celebrate the behaviours you want to see
Functional roles:
Job titles are part of the messaging and some members advise designing them around responsibilities that relate to the company goals and mission. This also makes it easier to promote people above those who have been in the business longer
Democratic decisions:
Involve the team in change. To manage change, particularly if it’s transformational (new tech roll out, moving office, acquiring a business, redundancies etc), communicate throughout. Try to involve your team in the process and decision-making if possible as they will be embrace it more readily
Musical chairs:
Some members sit at different desks each day / week to get out on the shop floor. This re-connects them with their teams, gives them valuable insight on challenges and opportunities in the business. People tend to work harder when they areneary to the founder / CEO
Many of our members have invested in their workspaces to create environments that their teams want to work in. One even bought and renovated a castle. Inspired by creative spaces favoured by tech giants like Google to attract and retain talent, members have seen a return on investment in terms of retention and productivity. Here are some workspace related tips from members:
Workspace audit:
There are now tools to measure the correlation between physical environment and productivity. Leesman (www.leesmanindex.com),founded by a member of The Supper Club, provides data on what is and isn’t working to help companies find the right solution for their team
Some members faced with productivity issues have sent their team to a co-working space. In doing so they test whether it’s the physical environment affecting their efficiency and if an office move is needed. This also helps to choose environment, location, and facilities.
Nominate someone in the team to champion the office move project so it looks like it’s led by the team. Get them to survey everyone on what their ideal office, building, and location is. Try to find a consensus but make it clear that the project leader will make a recommendation but the ultimate decision will be made by the board
Creative collisions:
Some members rent their extra desk space to create diversity and allows their team to engage with different people/ businesses. This community approach helps to bring new perspectives on the business from ‘creative collisions’ in the kitchen
If you're interesting in connecting with our members and gaining insights like these at our event, apply to be a member here.