“The only competitive advantage we have is the culture and values of the company. Anyone can open up a coffee store; we have no technology; we have no patent. All we have is the relationship around the values of the company and what we bring to the customer every day.”Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks
Starbucks is the industry leader in the market of premium coffee worldwide.
They have 33,833 stores globally, each earning around $808,000 annually.
It’s jaw-dropping revenue, I know. For a business that sells a commodity anyone could make, how do you generate a total of $32.25 billion in 1 year?
It’s like their CEO said— it’s all about culture, and it’s not just Starbucks, companies with a solid work culture grow 4x in revenue in general. They also report a decrease in absenteeism by 81%, employee turnover by 41%, and increased productivity by 20-25%.
In other words, the key to a business’s productivity is work culture.
Yet despite these proven paperback facts, 65% of employees aren’t engaged at all. This is a disheartening truth that most companies aren’t even aware of, so to help you out, we decided to condense the best tips to develop the perfect work culture, increase your team’s productivity, and propel your business forward.
The Benefits of Team Productivity
Before we get into that, let’s quickly discuss the benefits of a productive team and see how it pushes the company forward.
- Increased efficiency means more work is done at a faster and easier pace.
- Fewer hiring expenditures.
- Better plan executions such as hitting deadlines and allocating workload.
- A higher sense of fulfillment in the workplace.
- Better customer service.
- More profitability.
- More adaptability.
In a nutshell, a productive team is efficient, able to handle change, and meets deadlines – all of which are essential for any business.
The Components of Team Productivity
So what are the components that form team productivity? It’s simple, work culture.
But what forms work culture? Now that’s a better question, here they are (it also includes the further components of the following components):
- Vision & Mission
- Core principles
- Core principles
- Equal respect
- Emotional maturity
- Financial scalability
- Teambuilding sessions
- Time off
- Retirement plan
How to Measure Team Productivity
Since productivity is the amount of result accomplished in a specific timeframe, we’ll be using the following metrics below:
- Sum of tasks completed
- Sum of time needed to complete a task
- Customer client feedback
Once you keep a close eye on these elements, you should be able to see what areas are lacking or flourishing, then adjust accordingly.
Tips for Improving Team Productivity
Create a wholesome work environment
The environment at work plays a big role in team productivity.
Factors like an unlikeable boss, condescending employees, and office politics can really drag down an organization’s efficiency and output.
So here are 5 ways to foster a more wholesome work environment.
Goal: Open & honest communication between everyone in the office.
Challenge: People may be afraid to speak up, or they may feel like their opinion doesn’t matter.
Solution: Create an open and welcoming environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas.
Goal: Respect everyone in the office, regardless of their position or title.
Challenge: It can be easy to get caught up in office politics or to feel like someone is taking advantage of you.
Solution: Remember that everyone is working towards the same goal and that everyone deserves to be treated with respect.
Goal: To develop trust between everyone in the office.
Challenge: It can be hard to know who to trust and who not to trust.
Solution: Build relationships with your colleagues and get to know them on a personal level.
Goal: To develop cooperation between everyone in the office.
Challenge: People may have different opinions, or they may be competing for the same resources.
Solution: Remember that you are all working towards the same goal and need to cooperate to achieve it.
Goal: To have support for everyone in the office.
Challenge: People may not feel like they are being supported or they may feel like they are alone in their struggles.
Solution: Try to be there for your colleagues and offer help and support when they need it.
Hire collaborative people
Hiring employees who are able to work well with others contributes to a more productive and positive work environment. This process might get easier with HR automation software and Software Team Culture so getting yourself one is useful, but you should consider custom software development costs first.
Some things to look for when hiring collaborative people include:
- They have good communication skills: they should be able to express themselves clearly and listen attentively to others.
- They can compromise: they should be willing to give and take to reach a mutual agreement.
- They are respectful: they should treat others with respect, even if they disagree with them.
- They are team players: they should be able to work well within a group setting and contribute their own ideas.
- They are flexible: they should be open to new ideas and willing to change their own perspective if necessary.
Do team building exercises
Team building exercises have one common goal: to improve team productivity.
The logic is simple: if team members enjoy working together and trust each other, they will be more productive.
The best team-building exercises push people to interact with each other in new and challenging ways.
Here are some examples:
- Do a puzzle together: This can help to promote teamwork and problem-solving skills.
- Play a game: Games can be fun to take a break from work and bond with your team members.
- Have a potluck: This is a great way to try new foods and get to know your team members’ taste preferences.
- Go on a field trip: Visiting somewhere new can be exciting and help everyone bond. Plus, it’s a great way to learn about different cultures and traditions.
Diversify your team
Some studies have shown that companies with more diversity around the conference table are more productive and show a richer bottom line.
A more diverse team can bring various perspectives and ideas to the table, leading to better decision-making.
Some ways to diversify your team include:
- Hire employees from different backgrounds using different recruitment methods: this can be in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or even just life experience.
- Encourage employees to share their unique perspectives: encourage open dialogue and debate around controversial topics.
- Promote an inclusive environment: make sure that everyone feels like they belong and that their voice is heard. This includes things like using inclusive language (e.g., them/they pronouns) and providing employees with the resources they need to succeed.
- Be an ally: use your privilege to support employees from marginalized groups. This includes things like being an active bystander if you witness discrimination or speaking up when you see disparities in pay or opportunity.
Cultivate equality at work
Feeling like you are being treated fairly at work is essential for a positive and productive work environment.
Some things you can do to cultivate equality at work include:
- Promote employees based on merit, not favoritism: this includes ensuring that job descriptions are clear and interviews are conducted fairly.
- Pay employees equally: this includes ensuring that there is no gender pay gap and that employees of all levels are paid fairly for their position and experience
- Offer equal opportunities: this means ensuring that everyone has the same opportunity to apply for promotions or assignments and that decisions are made based on qualifications, not personal biases.
- Provide adequate resources: this includes ensuring employees have the supplies they need to do their job and that there is no discrimination in access to resources.
Reward your employees
According to a study, 85% of the employees felt more motivated to do their best in exchange for an incentive.
Here are a few examples of incentives you can implement:
- Offer monetary rewards for meeting or exceeding performance goals.
- Provide employees with paid time off as a reward for good performance.
- Give employees the opportunity to work from home as a reward for meeting their goals.
- Offer employees additional paid vacation days as a reward for outstanding performance.
- Give employees a chance to attend industry-related conferences or seminars as a way to stay up-to-date on trends and learn new skills. Or if your budget is smaller, give them a small stipend they can choose to use on business books.
- Give employees gift cards or certificates to local restaurants or stores as a way to say thanks for a job well done.
- Offer employees tickets to sporting events or concerts as a fun way to celebrate their success.
- Give employees paid days off to volunteer for a cause they are passionate about as a way to give back and show their appreciation.
- Invest in talent mobility program and offer employees the opportunity to take on additional responsibility or leadership roles as a way to challenge them and help them grow professionally.
- Recognize employees publicly at company meetings or events, or through social media, for their hard work and dedication.
Give them room to work
It is important to give employees the freedom to work in their way, as this increases productivity.
Some examples of this include:
- Let them choose their hours: within reason, of course. If employees feel they can manage their time better, they will likely be more productive.
- Allow them to work from home: again, within reason. If an employee is comfortable working from home, it can help them focus and get into a better headspace for productivity.
- Don’t micromanage: this is probably the most important tip. Micromanaging employees can lead to them feeling unengaged and uninterested in their work. Allow them some space to breathe and make mistakes – it will only make them stronger workers in the long run.
Praise a job well done
It is important to show appreciation for a job well done, as this will help employees feel more valued and motivated.
Some ways to do this include:
- Send a handwritten note: a personal touch can go a long way.
- Give a small bonus: financial motivation can be very effective.
- Take them out to lunch: showing that you care about your employee’s well-being outside of work can make them feel appreciated.
- Give them an extra day off: sometimes, all an employee needs is a little break.
- Buy them a small gift: it doesn’t have to be anything expensive, but something thoughtful can show that you truly appreciate their hard work.
Foster a strong team culture
Team culture is a powerful force that can determine the success or failure of your organization. It shapes how employees interact with each other, how they view their work and the overall environment of your workplace.
Creating a strong team culture requires intentional effort from leaders and employees alike.
Here are some tips to help you foster a positive team culture across different team types:
Software Team Culture: Encourage collaboration among the development team by introducing weekly check-ins.
During these meetings, members of the development team can discuss their successes and challenges, share ideas and discuss potential solutions to any issues they may have encountered.
Additionally, company leadership should make sure that each team member is given an opportunity to contribute during the check-ins.
Marketing Team Culture: Encourage team building activities among the marketing team, such as organizing group outings or workshops.
Activities like this allow members of the marketing team to get to know each other better, foster a sense of camaraderie and build trust within the team.
Additionally, these activities can help ignite creative thinking and increase productivity within the team.
HR Team Culture: Create a culture of open communication among members of the HR team.
Encourage employees to openly share their ideas, successes and challenges with each other by setting up regular meetings or lunch-and-learns.
This will create an environment in which everyone feels comfortable speaking up and expressing their ideas, while also fostering a sense of collaboration and teamwork.
Give constructive feedback
Giving employees positive and constructive feedback that is both positive and constructive will help them understand what they are doing well and where they can improve. Be sure to record anything useful in a company knowledge base, tools similar to Dozuki but more focused on small teams can help do just that.
Some tips for giving constructive feedback include:
- Be specific: general comments are not helpful and can be confusing.
- Use “I” statements: this will help the conversation feel less like a lecture and more like a discussion.
- Avoid using “you” statements: these tend to make people defensive and less likely to listen to what you have to say.
- Focus on the behavior, not the person: this helps maintain respect while still getting your point across.
- Avoid making assumptions: stick to the facts and what you have observed.
- Be aware of your tone: try to avoid sounding judgmental or angry.
- Offer solutions: if you have suggestions on how the employee can improve, be sure to share them.
- Thank them for their time: regardless of how the conversation goes, always end on a positive note.
Encourage employee development
Helping employees reach their full potential benefits both the employee and the company.
Some ways to encourage employee development include:
- Offer training and development opportunities: this can be in the form of formal classes or on-the-job training.
- Provide mentorship programs: pair more experienced employees with those who are newer to the field or company.
- Encourage networking: help employees build connections within the industry or company. This can be done through things like professional development events or social gatherings.
- Support continuing education: offer tuition reimbursement or paid time off for employees who are pursuing further education.
Reduce data entry and increase automation
Logging hours worked manually can be extremely time consuming and inefficient.
Automation in the form of time tracking provides a much more efficient solution to logging hours worked.
Automation also eliminates potential errors that could occur when inputting data manually.
It allows employees to quickly and easily log their time, ensuring accuracy and reliability in the data provided. Here are several ways to automate time tracking across popular industries:
For drivers, companies can use GPS data to track routes and mileage travelled. This information can then be linked with employee hours on a daily basis. More information about this evolving concept can be found in this time record blog post.
For freelancers, platforms like Upwork or Freelancer provide a timesheet feature that allows workers to log their hours and record project progress as they go. This data can then be automatically synced to payroll systems for accurate payments.
For remote teams, virtual time tracking tools like Toggl or Hubstaff provide a way for everyone on the team to clock in and out of their work day. These tools also provide analytics such as productivity reports that can be used to measure team performance over time.
Automating the time tracking process can free up valuable resources and provide more accurate data. It also allows companies to better understand how their employees are spending their time, thereby allowing them to make well-informed decisions that help improve productivity and profitability.
Support your team members in and out of work
Creating a supportive environment doesn’t stop at the office door.
Some things you can do to support your team members in and out of work include:
- Be understanding of personal commitments: this includes things like family obligations or extracurricular activities.
- Offer flexible scheduling: allow employees to vary their start and end times and take time off when needed.
- Promote a healthy lifestyle: provide resources like gym memberships or wellness programs. You can even hire a personal trainer for group training sessions for your employees.
- Encourage work-life balance: remind employees that they are not expected to sacrifice their personal lives for their work.
Communicate with context
Adding a few extra sentences in an email to explain the background and goals of a project can make all the difference in success and idea generation.
Since we can no longer rely on office kitchen culture for daily check-ins, it’s important to be more thorough and intentional in our communication.
During our remote work days, Planable helped us a lot to get on the same page. As a marketing team we had a lot of conversations going on and the fact that we had contextual comments in Planable, helped us see all the social media posts’ feedback where it belongs.
Break large goals Into smaller chunks
When working on a large project, it’s great to use a virtual whiteboard tool, it can be helpful to break the goal down into smaller, more manageable pieces. This can make the work seem less daunting and help you stay on track.
Some tips for breaking down big goals into smaller chunks include:
- Make a list of all the tasks that need to be completed.
- prioritize the tasks based on importance or deadline.
- assign each task to a specific team member.
- create a timeline for each task, including deadlines and milestones.
Consider a hybrid schedule
One way to improve productivity is to consider a hybrid schedule, where some team members work in the office, and others work remotely. This can help to create a more flexible and accommodating work environment.
Some things to keep in mind when creating a hybrid schedule include:
- What are the goals of the schedule?
- What are the needs of the team members?
- How will the work be divided between those in the office and those working remotely?
- What are the logistics of implementing the schedule?
Eliminate unnecessary meetings
One of the biggest productivity killers is meetings that are unnecessary or could have been an email. If you’re in charge of scheduling meetings, consider if they are truly necessary and whether or not they could be replaced by another form of communication.
Some things to consider when deciding if a meeting is a necessary include:
- What is the purpose of the meeting?
- Who needs to be in attendance?
- What is the expected outcome of the meeting?
- How long will the meeting need to be?
Use a project management tool
Many project management tools are available online, and each has its own features.
The key is to find one that best suits your needs and helps you boost your team’s productivity.
Here are a few broken down by what type of team they’re useful for:
- Basecamp – good for small teams working on simple projects
- Asana – good for larger teams working on more complex projects
- Nifty – good for teams of all sizes who are looking for an easy to use project management tool
- Trello – good for teams that need a flexible and visual way to manage their tasks
- Podio – good for teams that need a customizable and social way to work together
- Smartsheet – good for teams that need a flexible, spreadsheet-like way to track their work
- Wrike – good for teams that need a robust and flexible project management tool
- Jira – good for software development teams that need to track bugs and features
- Clubhouse – good for agile software development teams that need to track stories and tasks
- Redmine – good for teams that need a flexible and open-source project management tool
- Fengoffice – good for teams that need a project management tool with integrated office suite features
Make remote collaboration easier
If your team is spread out, you can still do plenty of things to promote a productive and positive work environment.
Some tips for making remote team collaboration easier include:
- Use video conferencing meetings: this allows for face-to-face interaction and can help build rapport.
- Utilize project management tools and productivity applications: these can help keep everyone on track and aware of deadlines.
- Create clear communication channels, including setting up group chats or having regular check-ins.
- Make sure everyone feels included: this can be done by assigning specific roles or tasks to each person and giving everyone a chance to contribute to the discussion.
Make the daily workflow more efficient with automation
There are several ways to automate repetitive tasks to free up time for more important work. Some options for automating your workflow include:
- Use task management software: this can help you keep track of deadlines and assigned tasks. Workflow diagram software could help you simplify your workflows and processes by visualizing them.
- Automate data entry: this can be done through things like online forms or chatbots.
- Create templates: this can be helpful for emails or reports that need to be sent regularly.
- Set up alerts: this can remind you of upcoming deadlines or let you know when someone has completed a task.
Establish a single source of truth
When working on projects, it’s important to have one central place where everyone can go to find the most up-to-date information. This can be in the form of a shared document, an online portal, or a wiki.
Some things to consider when establishing a single source of truth include:
- What information needs to be included?
- Who will be responsible for updating the information?
- How often will the information need to be updated?
- How will people know where to find the latest version of the information?
Install a culture of coaching and feedback
One of the most important things you can do as a leader is to provide coaching and feedback to your team members. This can help them improve their performance and reach their goals.
When giving feedback, it’s important to be clear, concise, and specific.
Some things you may want to keep in mind include:
- What is the goal of the feedback?
- What are some specific examples of what was done well or could be improved?
- How can the person receiving the feedback improve in the future?
- What resources are available to help them reach their goals?
Using HR software to improve team productivity
HR Software is a great tool to help teams work more efficiently. It automates many of the tedious and time-consuming tasks associated with human resources management, freeing up staff to focus on their core roles in the team.
Here are 5 ways HR automation software improve productivity:
- Streamlines Recruiting Processes: HR software can help streamline the recruiting process by automating job postings, applicant tracking, and even onboarding.
This helps teams save time and resources while quickly filling positions with qualified individuals.
- Improves Employee Scheduling: HR software also makes it easier to manage employee scheduling and time off.
Teams can easily set up employee availability, approve requests for time off, and view real-time updates on who is working when.
- Enhances Performance Management: HR software provides useful analytics that help managers identify individual strengths and weaknesses, as well as areas where team members could use additional development.
This helps teams create more effective performance management plans.
- Facilitates Training and Development: HR software also makes it easier for teams to develop and execute training programs.
Managers can track team members’ progress as they complete courses, as well as use analytics to monitor their overall development within the organization.
- Enhances Communication: HR software can facilitate better communication between team members, managers, and other departments.
This helps teams stay on the same page and ensure that everyone is working together to achieve common objectives.
Risks of Poor Team Productivity
When teams are not productive, it can lead to a ripple effect of negative consequences. Poor performance in one area can quickly spread to other areas, leading to an overall reduction in efficiency throughout the organization.
Teams that are not productive may fail to meet deadlines and goals, resulting in lost revenue and customer dissatisfaction.
Furthermore, it can create an unhealthy work environment, in which employees feel pressured and unmotivated to do their best work.
Here are 3 major ways that poor team productivity can be risky:
Increased Labor Costs: Poor productivity can lead to increased labor costs due to the need for additional employees or overtime pay.
Lost Revenue: Without meeting deadlines, companies can miss out on potential revenue opportunities and fail to take advantage of market trends.
Software Development Delays: Poor productivity can lead to missed deadlines in software development projects, resulting in costly delays and rework. This can further drive up (already sky high) custom software development costs as developers scramble to make changes or start from scratch.
If you want to improve your team’s productivity, there are a few key things you can do. First, make sure everyone on the team is aware of the goals and objectives – and that they understand how their work contributes to these larger goals.
Next, establish clear lines of communication so that everyone knows who is responsible for what tasks.
And finally, create an environment where people feel comfortable taking risks and trying new things; this will help encourage creativity and innovation within the team.
Following these tips can help take your team’s productivity to the next level.
If this blog helped you grow smarter today, make sure to share it and pay the knowledge forward!