To improve the overall team performance of your employees, you do not need to observe them and their behavior consistently, like a lion stalking its prey.
Instead, create and instill such a process that measures and monitors your team’s progress in a streamlined fashion.
Here are a few quick solutions you can immediately implement into your business to improve your team’s overall performance and boost their morale:
1. Delegative Leadership Style: As a leader, trust and rely upon your team’s skills to execute tasks effectively. Determine the strengths and weaknesses of each employee and then delegate work accordingly to enhance your team’s performance.
Best Skills Tracking Software: EdApp
2. Goal-Oriented Leadership: Based on your leadership experience, set clear, defined, specific, and achievable goals for each employee. Thus, achieving individual goals will raise the graph of your team’s overall performance and help accomplish the collective goal.
3. Monitor, Measure, Assess, and Incentivize Employee Performance: To monitor and measure your employee’s performance, set timeframes. Then, conduct regular check-ins with your employees and inquire about their issues or problems in a specific task if the deadlines are not met in the set timeframe. Also, try incentivizing them to trigger motivation.
Best Time Tracking Software: Buddy Punch
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4. Avoid Micromanagement: You don’t need to control or keep on reminding your employees of their work. While short-term micromanagement can be great if you train newbies, long-term micromanagement can reduce employee productivity and high staff turnover. To avoid micromanagement, let go of perfectionism and try empowering your employees through transparent communication to avoid mismanagement.
Best Team Management Software: Slack
|What is Team Productivity? ⏱️|
|Team productivity is the number of tasks and projects a team completes within a given timeframe.|
How To Improve Team Performance: Step-By-Step Guide
- Is Your Team Productive?
- Characteristics of High-Performing Teams
- How To Build a Productive Team?
- Delegative Leadership Style: Save Time and Introduce Trust
- Goal-Oriented Leadership: Set Goals to Improve Team Performance
- How To Set Practical Goals To Improve Team Performance?
- Assess Your Current Team’s Performance
- Monitor and Measure Team Performance To Increase Productivity
- Use Self-Monitoring Tools
- How To Use Data To Improve Team Performance?
Is Your Team Productive?
Firstly, you have to determine whether your team is productive or not.
To determine if your team is productive, ask yourself:
- Is your team working together towards the same goals?
- Are all team members following the process you created for them? Is someone lacking behind or doesn’t understand your business’s process?
- Is your team having extensive and in-depth discussions? Are all the team members involved in those discussions?
- Does your business provide a wholesome working environment where every team member feels comfortable expressing their feelings and ideas?
- Do disagreements between your team members have positive outcomes? Are there any complaints regarding a specific team member? Is criticism constructive?
- Is there mutual respect amongst workers, and do they know how to work together to accomplish their shared goals?
- When friction or tension occurs, is this quickly diffused respectfully and flexibly?
Characteristics of High-Performing Teams
Once you have answered all of the above-stated questions, to check if your team contains the characteristics & traits of high-performing teams, look for the following:
- Clarity: Your team understands your business’s overall mission, goals, and plans.
- Satisfaction: Your team is satisfied under your leadership.
- Collaboration & Communication: Your team members act as a community and help each other out.
- Conflict Resolution: Your team does not attack each other at a personal level, and disagreements are resolved with respect.
- Employees Feel Valued: Your team members feel valued and acknowledge that they contribute directly to the company’s overall success.
How To Build a Productive Team?
Do you know what the recipe for a disastrous team is? This is a team where:
- Everyone feels uncomfortable all the time (including you)
- There is one conflict after another.
- It’s always exhausting when it comes to communication and meetings.
- Your team members are consistently complaining.
As a team leader, enhancing team building will cultivate a workplace where hard work is rewarded and members perform to the best of their ability without dreading each moment of the day or feeling burnout, in other words, you’ll get an effective team.
If your team hasn’t reached this point yet, don’t panic.
Remember that improving the team performance of different people from various backgrounds isn’t an easy task to build an effective team.
If you want to achieve a productive and high-performing team, these are the elements you need to achieve to get there:
- Effective communication within the team
- Emotional involvement from all workers
- Mutual respect
- Consistent feedback
- Measurable goals
- A clear sense of purpose
- Individual responsibility
- Good cohesion
- Team productivity
If you can instill these characteristics into your team, you’ll have a winning one.
1. Delegative Leadership Style: Save Time and Introduce Trust
The delegative leadership style empowers your employees to make decisions freely in executing a particular task. In other words, it eliminates the factor of micromanagement from your daily routine and, in turn, boosts your employees’ confidence.
Why is Delegation Important To Improve Team Performance?
The more time you spend on tedious tasks as a team leader, the more your business will suffer.
More work will start piling up, exhaustion levels will go up, and frustrations will rise.
All of this will directly hit your entire team’s performance as you won’t have enough time and energy to deal with your team members’ needs and wants.
As a quick solution, “Delegate.”
Delegating effectively will save you a lot of time while helping you and your team develop as professionals.
Well, delegation helps you in:
- Freeing up more time for strategic planning
- Enhancing your team’s flexibility for personal growth and development
- Helping to distribute responsibilities effectively as you’ll get more familiar with each team member’s strengths and weaknesses
- Organization of workforce
Additionally, delegating mentally prepares you to handle larger teams while directly impacting your team’s motivation.
Your team gets motivated with delegation because when they experience their leader’s attention, trust, and full-time availability (with a fresh mind), they get inspired and thus perform better.
How and When To Delegate?
It would be best if you started practicing delegation from the beginning. Determine how much control you need over the processes you have devised for your business. Once determined, delegate the rest.
To delegate effectively, ensure the following:
- Hire the right people
- Filter each team member’s strengths and weaknesses
- Empower employees with the right resources and training guides
- Enlist tasks clearly and concisely
- Encourage communication culture
- Give feedback and appreciation
2. Goal-Oriented Leadership: Set Goals to Improve Team Performance
Now that you have successfully mastered the delegating leadership style, what comes next is “goal setting”.
You must first familiarize yourself with goal-oriented leadership to set measurable and achievable goals.
Goal-oriented leadership requires team leaders to set realistic goals that are not only clear but also achievable.
When there are clear goals that the team needs to accomplish, it naturally boosts their performance because they will need to focus and prioritize tasks better if they want to achieve that set goal.
Interestingly, the traditional approach to motivating teams comes with a financial reward or incentive.
But what happens when well-earning people leave their jobs?
While it’s essential that people feel properly compensated for their efforts, money alone doesn’t lead to job satisfaction.
Setting goals can be more effective in improving team performance than financial rewards.
Also, goals provide clarity to team members because they’ll know what they’re working towards.
In large teams, in particular, it always helps everyone know the project’s purpose so that they can remind themselves of the end goal when they come across challenges.
(i.) Goals Help to Motivate Your Team Members
When employees have a common goal they’re trying to achieve, it encourages them to develop creative strategies and practices for accomplishing this benchmark.
After working hard and accomplishing this goal, the satisfaction will boost the confidence of team members and increase employee engagement as they’ll start to recognize that they can achieve anything they put their minds to.
Also, when your employees have clear goals, this means that as a team leader, you are introducing such a workplace culture that will eventually decrease your employees’ stress levels and increase your employee retention.
A study conducted by LinkedIn showed that 70% of employees leave a company just because of a bad workplace culture where they are not getting any support from the top management.
(ii.) Goals Encourage Transparency in the Workplace
Have you ever been a part of a team where you had no idea what some of your colleagues were up to during the day? And you never see how their work ties in with yours.
When you set goals for the team, everyone within that team will be on the same page.
Transparency is a major contributor to employees feeling like they’re being treated fairly. Glassdoor notes that transparency was linked to increased engagement, a stronger company culture, and comfort in communication.
(iii.) Goals Encourage Collaboration
This one is straightforward— Performance management is easier when you use collaboration.
If employees understand they’re working toward accomplishing the same goal, they’re more likely to collaborate.
Collaboration helps to avoid the dangers of a silo mentality in the workplace. Silo mentality is a damaging mindset —when departments don’t want to share information with others in the same company.
This type of work is not collaborative and can have a detrimental effect on the company. Individual team members begin to compete, lowering your business’s productivity overall. It reduces overall efficiency, diminishes morale, and impedes profitability.
Setting goals will encourage collaboration and prevent the infiltration of silos in your company.
Also, you can consider starting to use a collaboration software to encourage teamwork.
How To Set Practical Goals To Improve Team Performance?
Always aim to set SMART goals.
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
When you’re working with different people, the last thing you want is to set vague goals. Locke & Latham, the creator of the goal-setting theory, found that specific goals often lead to higher performance.
How will your employees know they’ve accomplished or surpassed their goals? Accurately tracking and measuring your team’s goals is essential.
While the aspiration to achieve big goals is important, goals must also be attainable.
If the goals are too ambitious, your team members will struggle to reach them. If they don’t accomplish these goals, this will demotivate them and decrease overall team morale. Then, it will be even harder to improve team effectiveness.
Every goal needs to tie in with the bigger company vision and purpose. As a leader, ensuring that every member adheres to this is vital.
Otherwise, you might have a situation where different teams might be performing well; however, the company isn’t growing because its accomplishments don’t align with the bigger picture.
When you set a timeframe, it will help to keep all team members focused and on track. In other words, introduce time management practices into your business.
What Does Setting A Smart Goal Look Like In Practice?
Picture this: after extensive customer and market research, you have found that most of your potential customers have active Instagram accounts. You’ll be releasing a new mobile app in a few months and want to ensure that you get your market’s attention.
One of the SMART goals a team should accomplish may look like this:
S – Open up a company’s Instagram account.
M – Achieve 5 000 followers.
A – The digital marketing team will be in charge of running the campaign. They will post regularly, interact with relevant social media stakeholders, and provide engaging content for the audience.
R – Promote our new app on Instagram to get traction and 1,000 early signups.
T – Within the next three months.
Setting SMART goals can provide clarity and direction to your team.
3. Assess Your Current Team’s Performance
Improving team performance without thoroughly assessing the current situation is challenging. And before you assess your team’s performance, it’s also important to know the key performance metrics.
As Jeff Haden highlights, “measuring is important, but measuring what you need to measure and measuring it the right way is critical.”
To help you get started with assessing your current team’s performance, look into the following metrics:
- Efficiency — What’s your team’s efficiency with assigned tasks and projects?
- Turnaround time — What time does it take to achieve goals?
- Volume — How many goals/tasks have they accomplished? For example: how many emails were sent?
- Quality — Are they doing quality work? You can measure this with output results, such as customer feedback, app signups, booked meetings, etc.
Here are other examples to help you better assess your team’s performance.
Is Your Team Meeting Goals Efficiently?
Once you have delegated tasks and have set SMART goals for your team, now is the perfect time to assess how they have achieved those goals.
Consider the following:
- Does your team deliver work on time while maintaining the expected quality?
- Do your employees struggle to meet deadlines?
- Do they relax for a while and only start working hard once the deadline approaches and deliver work at the last minute?
What is the relevance of this metric? If your team delivers on time, does it matter how they did it?
The challenge with teams that work hard only when deadlines approach is that they may often reach burnout.
And if your team is struggling to meet deadlines, you need to ask yourself what the reasons are.
Do they miss deadlines because the goals are unrealistic, or is it because there is some slacking and they aren’t working hard enough?
Identify Your Team’s Strengths And Weaknesses
As a leader, it is necessary to understand and familiarize yourself with each of your team member’s strengths and weaknesses.
Not only does this type of awareness help you in delegating tasks, but it also helps you manage the workflow of projects strategically.
To determine each employee’s strengths and weaknesses, you can:
- Start by observing: As a leader, you should regularly observe your team members. Watch how they work, listen to what they say, and observe how they interact with others.
- Analyze their performance: Once you have observed your team members in action, take some time to analyze their performance. Identify areas where they excel and where they struggle.
You can do this by tracking their work output, assessing their productivity, and evaluating their quality of work.
- Conduct assessments: Use surveys, questionnaires, and other tools to gather information about their strengths, weaknesses, skills, and interests.
- Encourage self-reflection: Encourage your team members to engage in self-reflection. Ask them to identify their strengths and weaknesses and encourage them to take ownership of their professional development.
- Provide feedback: Provide regular and constructive feedback while focusing on their strengths and areas for improvement. You can use performance reviews, one-on-one meetings, and other feedback mechanisms to provide this feedback.
- Use a strengths-based approach: Identify and leverage the strengths of your team members to build a high-performing team.
Ensure All Team Members are Proactive and Take Initiative
There’s nothing better than workers concerned about the overall project and wanting to know where and how to help. They’ll either ask how they can help or take the necessary steps themselves.
Pay attention to whether all team members take these sorts of initiatives.
If only a few are proactive, that’s concerning because it indicates a low-performing team.
An employee taking the initiative is an indicator of job engagement and satisfaction, and you want all of them to act like one.
Conduct Team Building Activities To Evaluate Your Team
To identify which employees are proactive and take the initiative in an onsite team; you can organize team-building activities that require problem-solving and decision-making skills.
For example, you can organize a scavenger hunt that requires employees to work together to solve clues and complete tasks. Activities like these can help you identify employees who take the lead in problem-solving, delegate tasks, and communicate effectively with their teammates.
You can also organize team-building activities that require employees to take charge of specific tasks, such as organizing a company event or leading a group project. Observe closely and identify proactive employees who take ownership of their work.
Now, suppose you lead a virtual team and want to identify which employees are proactive and take the initiative. In that case, you can organize team-building activities that require them to take charge and lead in a remote environment.
One idea is to organize a virtual brainstorming session where employees work together to generate innovative ideas for a new project or product. During this session, you can observe which employees take the lead in facilitating the discussion, ask probing questions, and encourage participation from everyone.
Another idea is to organize a virtual “hackathon” where employees work together to solve a specific problem or challenge.
As an actionable next step, you can provide opportunities for these employees to lead virtual projects or initiatives and empower them to take charge of their work and drive the team’s success.
Make Your Team Members Accountable
Individual employee accountability is important if you want the whole team to perform well.
When assessing this, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do members take accountability when a project doesn’t go according to plan? Or do they shift the blame?
- Is the team always well-prepared for tasks and projects? Do they have information and resources ready so everyone can work on their assigned tasks without delays?
If employees have all the necessary resources for work, yet they don’t deliver results and shift the blame on something or someone else, then you have team members who don’t feel accountable for their work.
They will not contribute to high performance.
Are Your Team Members Willing to Learn and Develop?
Skills development in the workplace should never be underestimated, especially now in the digital age. There is always room for improvement within your team.
Sometimes, the company provides new software to improve overall performance, but skill development relies on the individual and their willingness to learn and grow.
Ask yourself—does your organization offer continued skills development opportunities, and are your team members willing to learn new skills?
These metrics will help you assess your team’s current performance and identify critical improvement areas.
Incentivize Team Performance
To make your team learn new skills, work on personal development, and take accountability for their actions, introduce incentive programs into your business.
Employee incentives are important because they motivate and reward employees for their hard work and dedication.
Also, when employees are incentivized, it enhances the overall performance of your company because it promotes collaboration, teamwork, and a shared sense of purpose. Employees working together towards a common goal can achieve greater results than individually.
You should remember that an incentive does not always have to be money.
The Incentive Marketing Association found in their study that almost 65% of employees prefer non-cash incentives over cash incentives.
Examples of non-cash incentives include gift cards, merchandise, travel vouchers, and experiences such as team outings or events. The research further clarified that non-cash incentives could be just as effective as cash incentives in motivating employees and boosting team performance.
Lastly, incentives should always be tied to performance because it ensures that employees are rewarded for their hard work and achievements.
When incentives are tied to performance, it creates a sense of fairness.
It also helps employers to measure and evaluate the impact of the incentives on team performance and adjust their incentive programs accordingly.
4. Monitor and Measure Team Performance To Increase Productivity
Employee monitoring is the use of methods related to surveillance to track the usage of business resources and measure employee productivity.
Most employers or businesses use employee monitoring tools to ensure employees stay on task and complete their work on time. By tracking employee activity, employers can identify any inefficiencies or areas where improvements can be made.
Monitoring employees also prevents misconduct such as time theft, harassment, or unauthorized access to company data.
You can use the following ways to monitor your team’s performance in a non-threatening style.
Track Key Performance Indicators
KPIs are specific, measurable metrics that are used to evaluate the success of a particular activity or process.
Here are some steps you can take to track KPIs and monitor employee performance:
- The first step is identifying the most relevant KPIs for your business and specific roles. For example, your KPIs may include revenue, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction scores if you run a sales team.
- Once you have identified the KPIs, you should set specific goals and targets for each employee or team. Thus, providing a clear benchmark for performance and helping employees understand what is expected of them.
- To track KPIs, you need to collect data regularly and analyze it to identify trends and areas for improvement. You can either do it manually or use a tracking software tool.
- Once you have analyzed the data, you should provide feedback to employees on their performance. Ensure to include positive feedback for meetings or exceeding targets and constructive feedback for areas where improvement is needed.
- Finally, you should use the data to drive improvement and change processes or procedures as needed.
Simply by tracking KPIs with the above mentioned process, you can identify best practices and areas where additional training or support may be needed to improve team performance.
Check In Regularly With Your Employees
While scheduling regular check-ins with your employees is important, occasionally checking in with them unscheduled is also a good idea.
Here are some reasons why unscheduled check-ins can be beneficial in monitoring team performance:
- Unscheduled check-ins show your employees you are invested in their success and well-being. It helps to build trust and creates a more open and collaborative work environment.
- Untimely check-ins can help you catch issues early before they become bigger problems. By checking in with employees regularly, you can identify potential issues or challenges and address them proactively.
- Check-ins like these allow for more informal conversations and allow employees to share their thoughts and ideas in a less formal setting.
- With these sorts of check-ins, you’ll demonstrate (as a leader) that you care about your employees as individuals, not just as workers. It can improve morale and create a more positive work culture.
When conducting unscheduled check-ins, respecting your employees’ time and not disrupting their workday is important.
You can send a quick message to ask how they are doing or if there is anything you can help with.
You can build a more engaged and high-performing team by showing your employees you are available and interested in their success.
Use Self-Monitoring Tools
What’s better than self-reflection?
One can only do so much after monitoring KPIs and performing regular Check-Ins. Right?
To introduce a culture of self-motivation and accountability to enhance team productivity, you can train your employees to start using self-monitoring tools.
Turning to software solutions will help you and your employees track the progress of each project, organize tasks, and monitor their overall performance while easily managing their time and schedules.
Your employees will also develop new skills like time management and problem-solving, making them more accountable for their actions.
While there are many tools to choose from, the following are key tools that can help your team members perform better, collaborate, and allow you, as a leader, to give constructive feedback.
(i.) Employee Scheduling Tools
One might ask themselves, how can an employee improve their overall performance with proper scheduling?
It can be a headache for both an employer and an employee to keep track of available time slots for working hours, shift changes, day-offs, time zones, and more.
So, how does employee scheduling software helps you and your employee deal with these problems?
As an employer, you can use employee scheduling software to:
- Create and assign shifts for their employees based on their availability and workload requirements.
- Manage time off requests efficiently, as employees can submit time off requests through the software, which can be approved or denied by the employer.
- Track attendance and ensure that they are adhering to their scheduled shifts.
- Manage payroll by integrating the scheduling tool with payroll software to ensure accurate and efficient payroll processing.
In terms of self-monitoring, employees can use employee scheduling software to monitor their schedules and ensure that they are staying on track with their work.
Some ways employees can use employee scheduling software for self-monitoring include:
- Employees can review their schedules regularly to ensure they know their upcoming shifts and deadlines.
- Employees who need time off for personal reasons or to attend to an emergency can use the software to request time off in advance.
- Some employee scheduling software includes clock-in and clock-out features, which employees can use to track their hours worked accurately.
- If employees have changes in their availability, they can update their availability in the software to ensure that their schedules reflect their current availability.
Employee scheduling software will help you manage and organize employee schedules effortlessly and streamline the process.
(ii.) Time Tracking Tools
In business, time is money, and good time management is necessary.
Time tracking software aims to track how much time each employee spends on a specific task and project.
It is beneficial in monitoring and measuring staff performance, as well as helps in self-evaluation by your team members.
With time-tracking software, employers can:
- Track billable hours: Employers can track the hours employees work on billable projects and use the data to bill clients accurately.
- Monitor productivity: Employers can use time tracking software to monitor employee productivity and identify areas for improvement.
- Analyze data: Employers can analyze the tracked data to identify their processes’ patterns, trends, and inefficiency.
- Manage payroll: Time tracking software (similar to scheduling software) can also be integrated with payroll software to ensure accurate and efficient payroll processing.
Some ways employees can use time tracking software for self-monitoring include:
- Tracking time spent on tasks: Employees can track how much time they spend on each task or project to identify areas where they may be spending too much or too little time.
- Analyzing their own data: Employees can analyze their tracked data to identify patterns, such as when they are most productive or the tasks that take them the longest.
- Setting productivity goals: Based on their data, employees can set productivity goals for themselves and work towards achieving them.
- Identifying distractions: By tracking their time, employees can identify distractions preventing them from being productive and take steps to minimize them.
Look for time tracking software that is easy to implement and manage. You have a lot on your plate; the last thing you need is a headache from complicated software solutions.
Pay attention to each tool’s special features and look into the software with short demo videos to help you get started.
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(iii.) Project Management Tools
A project management tool allows employers to plan, track, and manage projects efficiently.
With a project management tool, employers can devise a robust action plan:
- Assign tasks to specific employees, set deadlines, and track progress.
- Track project timelines and ensure that projects are completed on schedule.
- Utilize the collaboration features, allowing team members to communicate and work together on projects.
- Analyze project data to identify areas of inefficiency and optimize their processes.
When it comes to self-monitoring, employees can use project management tools to monitor their productivity and ensure their performance remains applaudable.
Employees can use project management tools to:
- Review their assigned tasks and deadlines regularly to ensure that they are on track with their work.
- Regularly update their progress in the project management tool to ensure their team members and employer know their progress.
- Collaborate with other team members effectively and ensure that projects are completed on time.
- Analyze their project data to identify areas where they may need to improve their productivity or time management skills.
5. How To Use Data To Improve Team Performance?
Having a high-performing team is invaluable.
This is where employee data you gathered from previous team assessments and monitoring tools comes to the rescue.
With sufficient data, you can move forward with improvement plans to help your team achieve high efficiency.
There are multiple ways to use the information you have collected.
The most notable are:
Identify Operational Challenges
Every team experiences some roadblocks while working towards their deadlines. A thorough analysis of some of the daily operational challenges can help you understand the main barriers for your team.
Once you have a thorough understanding of the problems, you can see which areas can, for instance, benefit from automation.
Schedule Better To Maximize Productivity
A survey by GfK, Brodsky, and Amabile found that over 78% of workers experience non-productive hours.
One way to deal with this is by understanding which hours your team is most productive.
Are they morning, afternoon, or late afternoon people?
Using data to interpret this information can help you organize their workday better.
So, Is Improving Team Performance Possible?
Enhancing your team’s performance is a process that needs the commitment of management and all stakeholders involved.
But as we’ve already highlighted, the rewards to your company are well worth it.
So, take your time to understand the characteristics of a high-performance team. If your members lack these characteristics, look into the steps you can take to help them acquire these valuable traits.
Set the right goals for your team. Setting SMART goals will help your employees achieve more and boost team morale.
Make sure to assess your current team and understand where some of the hiccups are. Improving your team’s performance is challenging if you don’t know where things go wrong.
Turn to software solutions to help streamline your processes and improve your workflow.
Lastly, use the data you acquire to understand the specific measures you can take to improve your team and make them the winning team you know it can be.