Supercharge Your Team’s Productivity
Optimizing the productivity of a team is a priority for managers now because it sets the tempo for how your workers will operate throughout the year. Quick-fix solutions can inject people with short term productivity gains, but the goal is to put a system in place that consistently delivers optimum results without sacrificing quality. Setting goals and striving to attain them is one piece of the puzzle. It’s also important to adapt these goals when necessary. Here are ways to supercharge your team’s productivity so you get as much out of your team as possible.
Make It Measurable
Before you can determine ways to increase productivity, it’s important to assess the existing productivity levels in your department. This will give you a realistic view of goals that can be achieved and the extent to which levels can be boosted. Carefully consider how closely tracking progress will affect each individual. Some workers may bristle at the idea of monitoring and measuring performance, but once you make goals understandable and attainable most will respond to the challenge. “Measuring results is a proven way to make workers take more ownership in your department’s mission,” says consultant Max Girven.
When establishing productivity gauges, be sure to include all aspects of work in your measurements. For instance, time spent increasing knowledge on a daily basis that directly increases productivity should be measured. The temptation is to focus on the bottom line instead of including educational and training aspects of a position. Also include measuring team as well as individual performance to stress that workers are part of a unit and must function successfully with others.
Rewards and Incentives
When administered correctly, rewards and incentives are a powerful way to motivate your team. According to motivational speaker Michael Ramundo, “The manner in which you offer incentives is nearly as important as the type that you give. If you set standards too low, discriminate or show favoritism, your rewards could backfire.” The best type of incentive systems have authenticity, are specific, and include significant gain or recognition. Although it may sound surprising, studies indicate that variable-schedule incentives are the most powerful type. Rewards and incentives that are as unpredictable as accomplishment and excellence produce the most motivation. Don’t be afraid to get creative with awards and incentives and to tailor them to fit an individual’s unique characteristics. If the rewardee loves nothing more than going to the Monster Truck show, give them free tickets.
Giving your team the proper technology to perform their jobs empowers them, and there is often room to optimize technology for a surge in productivity. When you elect to use cutting edge technology, it’s important to have a fitting mindset that allows risk taking. “I tell my workers that if we put new technology systems in place, failure is an option,” says Supervisor Mark Dalghren. “We want them to try things that will eventually shave time off their jobs and make things run smoother.” This spirit of experimentation further empowers workers and also challenges them to discover ways to increase productivity using existing technology.
Training includes attitude, knowledge, skills, and practice, but when budgets are tight, training often gets overlooked. “We see training as an investment in our own peopleone that we can’t afford to skimp on,” says Dalghren. In addition to boosting productivity and efficiency, it has the added benefit of strengthening team communication and bonding. One of the challenges with training is to avoid redundancy and to keep things interesting. Don’t waste valuable time training workers to do tasks they’ve already mastered. Instead, focus on areas where they need improvement and will respond to the challenge.