Working towards increasing productivity is no more just an option in 2022; it is an absolute necessity.
In an increasingly competitive global economy, businesses must be able to maximize their efficiency and output to stay ahead of the competition.
Automation and robotics are becoming even more important to eliminate manual tasks and reduce human labor costs. For instance, scheduling software allows organizations to optimize the planning of their resources. As a result, that allows them to leverage their limited resources to the fullest extent.
Time-tracking tools also provide visibility into team performance and ensure that individuals are held accountable for their work. And of course, it aids in better decision-making.
Productivity is multi-faceted and needs to be looked at from multiple angles. In this article, we discuss 10 ways to increase team productivity across your organization.
1. But first, what does productivity mean for organizations today?
The secret to great organizational productivity is to not exclusively focus on increasing productivity. Employee satisfaction must be taken into consideration too.
In fact, 41% of stressed employees state that stress negatively affects productivity.
It’s clear: happy employees are more likely to be productive – thus increasing the team’s overall productivity.
As someone who manages teams, you need to create an organizational culture that encourages collaboration and transparency, fosters career growth, provides flexible work conditions — and lastly, offers rewards for productivity.
For example, a restaurant owner will want to look for a tool for scheduling restaurant shifts — but that tool must be loved by the employees too.
Ideally, a scheduling tool should make it easy for employees to send their availability, preferences, and time-off requests. It should have an inbuilt feature that notifies the employees about the schedules, no matter where they are and all of this is topped with a direct messaging feature to communicate as and when needed.
Which brings us to another critical point: in a world of automation, it is increasingly important to look for tools and software that also equally enhance team happiness and satisfaction.
2. 10 ways to increase team productivity across your organization
2.1 Define roles and responsibilities
Defining roles and responsibilities ensures that the entire team is on the same page. Here is how to achieve that;
- List the objectives of the role and make sure they are clear. Next, look at these objectives and jot down the responsibilities necessary to reach each objective.
- Identify key areas of expertise that a role must focus on. For example, customer service, product development, or project management.
- Define who is responsible for the tasks associated with the role and make sure each person understands what is expected of them. Be sure to balance the work correctly amongst the team members by taking efficiency into consideration.
2.2 Set expectations
Setting expectations is the next step. It is critical because everyone must understand what their role entails, and what is expected of them.
It eradicates any scope of conflict and doubts, and it encourages employees to work together to reach the desired outcomes.
All in all, setting expectations helps create a positive work environment and contributes to a productive work culture. So, as a team leader, you must;
- Explain why you have the expectations that you do.
- Ensure your expectations are realistic and achievable.
- Establish a timeline or specific goal to achieve the expectations.
- Make sure the rewards for meeting expectations are clear.
2.3 Simplify processes
Simplifying processes can have a positive effect on productivity – this is because simplifying processes can reduce errors, improve efficiency, increase morale and reduce costs.
Simplifying processes can also make it easier to manage and monitor the progress of tasks.
By streamlining processes, organizations can become more agile and better able to focus on the task at hand. As this article by Harvard puts it, the 6 steps to simplify processes are;
- Clear the underbrush by getting rid of rules and activities that rob time.
- Take an outside-in perspective by understanding the pain points and diving deeper to find the least time-consuming way around it
- Prioritize what’s truly important, and leave the rest
- Take the shortest path from here to there meaning shed unnecessary steps
- Stop being so nice, meaning speak up about poor practices that eat up productivity
- Reduce levels and increase spans, that is don’t micromanage
- And lastly, don’t let the weeds grow back, meaning finally that the processes are simplified and make sure it doesn’t go back to the old process.
2.4 Encourage transparency
Transparency creates a sense of openness, removes fear, and reduces communication gaps.
Openness builds trust between the organization and its stakeholders — including employees, customers, suppliers, and the public. This has a positive impact on the overall work culture, making people want to work together and solve problems; without worrying about who gets the credit. In fact, it helps in recruiting too. When organizations are transparent, they appear more attractive to potential job applicants, millennial applicants in particular who value transparency more than ever.
2.5 Automate where possible
Sureshot way to streamline processes and increase efficiency is automation.
Automation can help reduce costs, and errors, deliver consistent results and increase accuracy, and lastly, do not rely on human memory or judgment.
When deciding what to automate first, it is beneficial to focus on processes that are labor-intensive, time-consuming, prone to errors, and frequently repeated.
Examples include — employee scheduling, data entry, administrative tasks, billing processes, customer service inquiries, and certain marketing activities.
Automating these tasks can free up time and resources to work on more value-added activities that require creative thinking and problem-solving.
2.6 Delegate and empower
Delegating and empowering employees is a critical aspect of enhancing business efficiency.
It enables them to effectively focus on higher-level tasks. For example, strategic planning, setting goals and objectives — and offering guidance and direction. It also encourages them to take responsibility for their work and become independent problem-solvers and even help drive innovation. Moreover, they can take ownership of their work, gain skills, and develop greater self-confidence and satisfaction.
But again, it needs to be done in an organic manner.
To delegate effectively, managers should take the time to plan, explain and review tasks, and delegate tasks to the right person – someone who has the skills, knowledge and experience to do it effectively and efficiently.
2.7 Promote collaboration
Per Zippia, “Companies that promote collaboration and communication at work have been linked to reducing employee turnover rates by 50%.
Employees are, on average, 17% more satisfied with their job when they engage in collaboration at work. Over the last 20 years, workplace collaboration has increased by at least 50%.”
Collaboration is imperative for employees to work together and come up with creative and innovative solutions to problems.
By collaborating, people can leverage each other’s strengths and skills to create better outcomes than one person could do on their own. It also encourages diversity of thought — which helps to create more holistic ideas and solutions.
However, some prerequisites are to set clear expectations, leverage technology, set ground rules, and encourage diverse perspectives and unique ideas.
2.8 Facilitate knowledge sharing
Knowledge sharing is supremely important. It creates a learning environment, helps distribute ideas, and skills amongst employees — and uplifts everyone.
It helps to build relationships and bridge gaps between individuals, departments, and organizations. Lastly, it can increase job satisfaction and create a sense of purpose and belonging for individuals.
For example, you can create a business blog for each department or a knowledge hub where everyone can add resources that helped them achieve something.
2.9 Recognize and reward good work
Recognizing and rewarding good work is key to motivating employees.
It bolsters the behavior that the organization finds desirable and encourages employees to strive for excellence in their roles. It also increases job satisfaction and can help to increase engagement and loyalty among employees.
Further, it can help to create and maintain a positive organizational culture. Some tips to do this;
- Publicly recognize employees for their work in meetings and other team gatherings.
- Provide informal rewards such as verbal praise, high-fives, and handwritten notes.
- Allow employees to take on additional responsibility — such as special projects or stretch assignments.
- Give flexible breaks or time off, and offer financial bonuses or awards.
2.10 Invest in employee development
Staying ahead of the curve is critical for any business to succeed. Investing in employee development is thus critical to improving productivity. It helps them stay engaged and motivated in their roles.
Moreover, it sends a subliminal message that their professional development is a priority for the company and that their dedication to learning and growing is appreciated. Ultimately, this can result in greater employee satisfaction and retention.
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