Even the best teams can be improved, tweaked, and optimized to make their output that little more impressive and valuable.
Whether or not you are happy with how your team works, it is always possible to learn something new, institute new software, or find new processes through which to make your workers more productive, more motivated, and happier in their roles.
This complete guide is full of tips and tricks designed to make teams better – better at communicating, better at collaborating, and better at producing outstanding work.
All businesses run with an ethos. Some, like Amazon, are famed for their rigorously hard-working culture that starts at the very top.
Others, such as Google, work on the basis that they are advancing cutting-edge technologies to provide to the world. In both of these cases, workers have a strong ethos or message to guide them in all they do.
Any firm can set up a similar ethos. Whether your mission is to avert climate disaster, empower women, provide industry-leading customer service, or simply sell great products, that should permeate through all you do. It is the essential reason that all your workers are doing their jobs. The more meaningful and motivational the ethos, of course, the better.
2. New Recruits
When you onboard a new recruit, it is natural for them to take a little time to settle in. Some of your existing workers, meanwhile, will need to take a little time away from their own responsibilities to help train that new individual. So despite your team expanding by one member, you may actually see a drop in productivity in their initial days and weeks.
How can you make new recruits less disruptive to your team and more effective in boosting your work quality? Well, you’ll want to hire wisely, taking the time to find diligent and intelligent candidates.
You’ll want to select individuals who believe in your ethos as much as you do, as that’ll motivate them to learn in their own time as well as at work. And you’ll want to make the onboarding process as smooth as possible so that new recruits hit the ground running in their roles.
If workers fail to properly express themselves – so to one another as well as to their management team – issues can fester, and rectifiable problems can go unaddressed.
Plus, if workers feel shunned, they may well feel like their views aren’t respected and their concerns aren’t the responsibility of management to attend to. As a result, poor communication leaves workers isolated, teams disunited, and managers out in the cold.
To make sure you are not landing yourself in this trap, you’ll want to manage your communications wisely. That involves two key responsibilities: a social one, in that you should always be open and in dialogue with colleagues, and a technological one, bringing in better communication software to your firm.
On that latter point, there are some fantastic all-in-one solutions to help teams talk in a more efficient manner. Check out Simpplr, for instance, to learn how modern intranet software can help your teamwork even better than it does today.
Your firm will have a litany of processes that convert the effort of your human resources into productive outputs. You’ll have a process for how to manage a customer inquiry and a process on how to manage orders as they come through.
Processes govern how you offer internal promotions and how you discipline workers too. All of these processes, which take place across a range of programs and apps, are ripe for optimization.
What does it mean to optimize a process? It is about looking at one process in isolation and searching for ways in which to make it quicker or cheaper. That might mean changing your approach or changing your software. It might even mean restructuring your team or making a new hire.
Processes are the invisible structures that dictate how productive your team really is. Optimizing them should be something you are continually looking to do.
5. Flexible Work
Managers have been rightly concerned during the pandemic that their workers aren’t going to be as productive when they are working from home.
Hybrid work is also concerning some industry experts, who suggest that it is essentially the worst of both worlds: you are not all in the office, nor are you all at home. So flexible work isn’t fashionable, though it should be. Workers granted flexibility tend to feel happier and more motivated in their jobs. You simply need to find a way to make it work for your firm.
Speak with your other managers about this issue. Ultimately, you’ll be worried about workers slacking when at home – but there are software packages you can use to track their activity to make sure they are putting in a shift. Or you may be worried about a lack of team cohesion if you abandon the office.
This, too, can be resolved with top-quality communications technology and diligent personnel management. Flexible work is the future, and it is worth embracing now.
Your team is only as strong as the skills it can bring to bear on any specific task. If you have a master marketer on your team, you’ll be sure to put out brilliant marketing content.
A brilliant financial manager will offer you reliable financial summaries, and a set of excellent data analysts will crunch the numbers for you at double-quick speed. The better your workers are at their jobs, the more they’ll do and the better they’ll feel about it.
Instead of turning to new hires, which can be disruptive to your current team dynamic, it might be more cost-effective and caring to your existing workers to regularly put them through training. This training should be both specific and general.
That way, all your workers might attend certain training sessions, while only certain individuals will attend those relevant to them. The overall effect will be a team better tooled to face their daily workload.
7. Objectives and Goals
Motivating your staff can take many forms. Some managers offer incentives like “employee of the month” awards or bonuses at the end of each month or year. Others send around motivational emails that’ll get everyone excited to put in a shift.
Yet there is one tried-and-tested way to get everyone working hard on a consistent basis, and that is the setting of goals, objectives, and targets for every member of your team.
Having something to strive towards helps people focus on what matters. It is also exciting, as your workers will feel a sense of unity in that they are all working together to achieve a common purpose. That is not to say you shouldn’t set individual goals too.
Such goals can help demotivated workers put in a little more effort each day. That is especially the case if you offer small rewards to individuals who hit their targets – and advice or feedback to those who miss them.
8. Social Cohesion
Your workers aren’t a horde of faceless robots performing tasks for the good of your firm. They are people, and people are complex and unique.
Some might bring issues from their home life into work, requiring empathy and pastoral care. Others might have disagreements with colleagues on their team, even though they are supposed to be working together. A way to make your teamwork in a more optimal way, then, is to make sure they are all friends.
A team that is socially comfortable is a team that will have few clashes and will support itself when you are busy with other tasks. Strong teams are often looking out for one another, managing issues on their own without having to turn to a manager for guidance.
They are also happier, with a higher quality of life that translates into a higher quality of work. Don’t discourage office conversation, as we’ve all come to appreciate the importance of those water-cooler moments.
Your team might not be involved in innovation itself, but there is plenty of innovation happening in the business tech space. There are new software packages emerging almost daily that are designed for use in an office environment, helping teams automate processes or address long-term problems with their productivity.
From communication software to AI that can write up a contract on its own, these technological innovations are helping teams rapidly become more efficient across the board. If team cohesion is the oil, you still need excellent machines and software for them to use in an optimal fashion.
In simple terms, then, you should constantly be upgrading your hardware and software. Reinvest some earnings in these key tools so that your team never has to suffer a long loading screen, a shabby internet connection, or a software service that is several years out of date.
With new computers and new software, you’ll be working on the cutting edge of what teams can do. And you’ll show your workers that you are cutting no corners in providing them with the best technology to fulfil their roles and responsibilities.
These tips are designed for managers and business leaders who are motivated to make their team as productive as possible. It may take months to make some of these changes, but they are all worth considering to make your team a well-oiled machine.
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I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.