When it comes to managing your team's productivity, it's important to know what measures and tools to use in order to improve. From investing in training that works, to harnessing techology and measuring motivation. We've pulled together practical advice that you can apply to your business today to make your team more effective.
This is the second part of our two part blog on increasing productivity in your team. You can read the first article, focussing on culture, talent and workspace, here.
Monitoring and measuring provide the timeframe, KPIs, and results needed to determine productivity, with regular one to ones and appraisals providing opportunities to reinforce the objectives and identify development areas that can be addressed with training or coaching. It also provides the data to help you decide if technology is working, needs upgrading, or better training to optimize it. Here are some tactics from members related to measurement and how it can improve productivity:
- Project tools: Some members recommend project management tools including Jira and Insightly to help you and your team organize time sheets, invoices, holidays, proposals, job planning while providing a framework
- Timesheets:Some members have usedtime tracking software like Toggl and Harvest to measure productivity. They emphasise the need to keep re-iterating the importance of timesheets, explaining that they help determine the time cost of clients and projects to charge for them more accurately. They also recommend that people complete them on a Friday and block any social media access until they are submitted
- Motivation surveys: More members are conducting happiness surveys, either monthly or quarterly. Members use Survey Monkey or employee engagement software like Officevibe. Others prefer more face to face polls, with lunchtime ‘clinics’ with the team to gauge morale and motivation, or suggestion boxes for confidential feedback
- Benchmark: More members have invested time in benchmarks like best companies to work for as a cheap way of measuring satisfaction and using the framework to highlight areas that might improve productivity
Technology has made communication both an enabler and a distraction. Online collaboration tools and mobile devices connect people working in different offices or from home, which saves time and cost. But email and social media are constantly cited by members as the biggest distractions in their business that reduce productivity. Here are some tools recommended by members to improve efficiency and productivity:
- Slack is credited with improving productivity by enabling people to crowdsource quick answers to progress projects. Although some members say that you can run the risk of information overload with so many threads.
- Trello is favoured by many of our members because it allows staff to organize and prioritise projects as well as posting new ideas on boards to improve efficiency
- Document sharing tools like Confluence, Google Docs & Dropbox help remote or flexible workers stay connected to the team and business
- Qorteq,launched by a member of The Supper Club, uses technology to drive behaviour change with standardized email templates that also embed company values
When deciding why and how to train someone to be more productive try to gauge their attitude and approach to learning. People are either audio, visual or kinaesthetic learners, and members best at developing people have tailored teams, workspaces, and training to bring out the best in each. They also observe that coaching is more effective than training, whether it’s from the founder, their manager, or a colleague, but only if they have space to act, make decisions and learn from their mistakes. Here are some tips and observations from members on making training more effective:
- Guidance: Managers should be able to identify training needs from regular one to ones and Personal Development Plans aligned with career goals
- Budget: Many of our members have a training budget -for both personal and professional development -and give people the autonomy and flexibility to find the right solution for them. However, they don’t always spend it. One member recommends delaying their pay review until the next appraisal if they haven’t used their training budget
- Experts: Some members have developed people into specialists to train and coach others in the team, champion the values and behaviours of the business, and create aspiration for others to step up
- Bite size learning: Have short, regular training sessions of 30 min to 1 hour each week, delivered by a member of the team on a topic they can choose. Some members occasionally invite an external expert or a special guest with some factor to inspire the team
- E-learning: Online training has evolved to become more social and interactive, designed for people who want to use it on the job and on the go on different devices. Platforms used by members include Learn Amp (https://learnamp.com) for curated learning content and Fuse Universal (www.fuseuniversal.com) for video based micro-learning. IT professionals and developers use Stack Overflow (https://stackoverflow.com) to crowdsource advice and answers to specific questions
- Shadowing: Spending a day with a colleague or hot desking one day a week can help people learn new skills or approaches. It can help sales people understand the challenges of delivery or opportunities to upsell from those in operations or delivery. Some members arrange for people to spend a day with a counterpart or mentor in a similar business
If you're interesting in connecting with our members and gaining insights like these at our event, apply to be a member here.