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Throughout the workweek or during the process of any project, even the best small teams can hit obstacles. Issues with miscommunications, unproductive meetings, too many emails, and not knowing what the other members of the team are doing can all work together to stall your team's productivity and efficiency.
The term Team Efficiency refers to a team achieving maximum productivity with minimal wasted effort or expenses.
To improve your team's efficiency, you'll have to eliminate barriers to their productivity, introduce useful tools, and create a conducive work environment. According to one report, most employees spend up to 60% of their time on things related to work but not on actual work. And the same report stated that only 27% of an employee's time is spent on skilled work - the things they were hired to do. This isn't the fault of the employee but of a system that distracts, detracts, duplicates, and enforces busy-work over real work.
Here are 7 ways to create efficiency in your small team.
One of the first things you can do to create efficiency is to get rid of unnecessary meetings. Office culture has come to rely on the frequency and length of meetings to gauge progress. They give a false sense of productivity when unnecessary meetings put a halt to real productivity.
Of course, all meetings are not unproductive. But when meetings are planned with no main goal or clear agenda, they will waste everyone's time. Even the time taken for brief meetings will add up and steal time and attention from the real goals and break the momentum.
When you're considering whether or not to schedule a team meeting, ask yourself if the information you want to convey can be communicated in another, more effective way. For instance, if you're going to update everyone on the project's progress, could you send them a progress report via email, or share a virtual brainstorming board, or post on your project management software.
Some meetings are necessary and should happen. Meetings can be a productive time for idea-sharing, motivation, and information-gathering. Here are a few ways to make your meetings more effective, productive, and actionable.
1. Determine the guidelines for your meetings. Whether they'll be in-person, virtual, or hybrid meetings, everyone should know if they can keep laptops open or if they must always be on-screen. Whatever your meeting etiquette is, make sure everyone knows it well.
2. Create a clear agenda for the meeting and share it beforehand. Your meeting should have defined objectives and maybe also include non-objectives - to avoid being derailed. If there is any other reading or information that everyone needs, share those along with the agenda.
3. Set a time limit. This will ensure that time isn't wasted and that everyone's time is respected. It will also encourage everyone to be ready to present their ideas, to be concise, and to remain engaged.
4. Take and share actionable notes along with due dates and assignees. These may be shared in the same place you shared the meeting agenda.
5. Get feedback to ensure the meetings are seen as valuable. Feedback will make the next session better, so it is excellent for productivity.
An efficient team needs to be well-equipped for the work they're required to do. Here are two pieces of software that can make life easier for your team.
Your team needs good project management software. Email is great, but communications can easily be lost in a sea of other emails. To keep pertinent information organized and where everyone can find it, use collaboration tools, like a project management program. You can keep track of assigned tasks and benefit from features like discussions and group chat.
If your team are customer service professionals, they will benefit from customer service software. This software is a tool for collecting, organizing, responding to, and reporting any customer support issues. Your team can use it to manage one or several communication avenues, including web chat, email, messaging, and self-service. It may even be used to integrate with your company's social media or group chat systems.
Businesses that use customer service software usually benefit from more efficient customer support. For instance, Starting Point is one of the best customer service software tools available. Your customers' inquiries or complaints won't get lost in email or other transmissions.
Our simple platform will ensure that none of your customers' issues go unanswered. We will increase the satisfaction, retention, and service delivery for your customers. Visit StartingPoint today!
Communication is key to any success, so it has to be a part of your team's productivity. Miscommunications lead to misunderstandings and confusion, and these lead to project failure. Effective communication will help your team to understand their roles and assignments better.
Communication must be coherent. What's the point of a message if it isn't understandable. Coherent communication is logical, planned, and sequential.
Communication must be concrete. Following on from our point that communication should be logical, we find that communication must also be concrete. It must convey a clear picture and have data to support its assertions. It is factual and includes all of the information necessary, so it leaves no room for misunderstandings.
Communication must be clear. The purpose of any message to your team should be clear to the reader. They shouldn't have to fill in gaps or make assumptions. For instance, consider keeping sentences short, write in the active voice, and use separate bullet points.
Communication should be courteous. Be positive and polite in your communications with your team and encourage them to do likewise with each other. Being courteous may also include being respectful and honest. Do not include offensive language.
Communication must be consistent. In communicating with your team, your voice, tone, and content should be consistent so they know what to expect from you. And try not to be repetitious.
If you want to create efficiency in your small team, they must know where they aren't efficient. Feedback is imperative to the process of improvement. Performance reviews and intermittent constructive feedback will enhance your team's productivity - as long as it is delivered honestly and straightforwardly. Your team will feel motivated to improve when you also ask for feedback from them. There is room for improvement with everyone.
Praise for a job well done is also feedback your team will find motivating. Everyone wants to know how they're doing. Without feedback, your team may be confused about whether or not they're reaching your standards.
Cultivate a culture of open and honest feedback among your team and your company - you won't regret it.
As much as your team loves their work, it's unlikely they can remain motivated without some appreciation. A physical or verbal pat on the back is excellent, but to see your team's efficiency soar to new heights, offer incentives. We don't need a study to tell us that people are motivated when offered a reward. Incentives may include cash, trips, time off from work, lunches or dinners, event tickets, or free vouchers.
Other incentives can include career progress. People who are serious about their work want to know that they can advance in the company. Offer training programs where they can learn the skills to progress their careers. This will challenge them and cause them to see that their hard work is helping them to advance in a tangible way.
Providing your team with ownership, hence autonomy means that they can make decisions and are accountable for their work. This will create a sense of responsibility among your team members and cause each to see his work differently. This affects decisions and performance.
You can create this environment by clearly defining their roles and stating your expectations. This doesn't mean they can't come to you with issues or with additional questions or advice, but it does mean that you don't micromanage your team.
Autonomy goes a long way in establishing trust and respect with teams. You're building your team members' self-esteem and confidence, and you'll reap huge benefits.
Improving your teams' efficiency is a never-ending process. No matter how great they are today, there is always room for improvement - for you and them. But as you use the tools above, you'll create a small team that you're proud of, which produces high-quality work that steadily improves with time.
We’re a centralized portal that looks just like your company. We will streamline your customers’ communications to ensure that they are seen by the right people. Find out more at StartingPoint today.