Teams with high employee engagement rates are 21 percent more productive and have 28 percent less internal theft or shrinkage, according to Gallup’s meta-analysis of employee engagement.
If your business has been underperforming recently, a poor teamwork could very easily be one of the reasons. If your team’s productivity has been average or below average, it’s safe to suggest that they’re unengaged at work.
But don’t start thinking that you’re a bad boss because you’re not alone in this. In fact, only 33 percent of employees in the U.S. are engaged, says another survey performed by Gallup.
Instead of that, let’s take a look at five ways you can use to boost your team’s productivity and increase their engagement.
1. Be a Great Leader
Boosting your team’s productivity is one of your major responsibilities as a leader, so adopting an appropriate style is critical. A truly effective team is led by managers that go well beyond setting deadlines, schedules, and communicating goals, so autocratic, bureaucratic, and laissez-faire styles simply won’t work.
To be a leader who constantly improves the productivity of their team, you need to:
- Create a culture of continuous improvement by constantly introducing your team members to new concepts, ideas, strategies, approaches, and methods
- Encourage communication among team members
- Be open to ideas and encourage collaborative decision-making
- Be always available for help and advice.
2. Organize Team Building Activities
Lack of effective collaboration is one of the main reasons why business teams fail. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Salesforce found 86 percent of their sample consisting of corporate executives and employees thought that lack of collaboration was the main factor responsible for workplace failures.
One good way to mitigate this issue is to engage in team building activities. They help team members to learn about each other – how each of them likes to work, solve problems, and have fun.
Here’s one example of a team-building activity that doesn’t take a lot of time.
Tools needed: none
Participants: 2 or more
Rules: Have one employee share something negative that happened involving their colleague (the second person). The memory has to be true. Next, the second person shares the same experience once again, but focuses only on the positive aspects. Afterward, the two participants change roles.
Purpose of the game: to find out how to reframe negative situations into learning experiences and identify positive aspects of teamwork.
3. Remove Toxic Employees
Toxic employees take a heavy toll on companies. A recent report Toxic Employees in the Workplace conducted by Cornerstone on Demand outlines some alarming stats:
- Well-performing employees are 54 percent likely to quit when they work with a toxic employee
- Hiring a toxic employee into a 20-person team costs about $12,800 while hiring a non-toxic one reduces the cost to $4,000
- Self-proclaimed “rule followers” are 33 percent more likely to be toxic employees
Since nothing destroys productivity and positive culture within a team faster than feelings of mistrust and danger, eliminating toxic employees could be a good way to improve team environment.
So, what are the signs of a toxic employee that you should recognize?
- Low score on dependability and attendance
- Acting like a dictator
- History of being quick to gossip and hammer leaders for “stupid decisions”
- Low accountability
- History of bullying colleagues
- History of sabotaging colleagues.
4. Improve Communication Skills of your Team Members
Communication in the modern workplace is increasingly done via the written word. Misunderstanding and confusion can occur in diverse teams with members having different personalities and perspectives, so having compelling writing skills is critical.
Allowing your team members to learn how to write a concise style that makes the desired impact is a good idea. “There are two ways to go about it: enrolling in online courses and using online tools,” explains Marie Fincher, the Content/ Editorial Director at Trust My Paper company. “There is a great selection of courses on business writing but you can search the net to find the one that suits the needs of your team.”
5. Build the Strengths of your Team Members
A truly effective leader is able to recognize the unique strengths that their team members have and work to maximize their effectiveness. The importance of this factor is supported by many reputable sources.
For example, the State of the American Workplace report by Gallup claimed that building on employee strengths was a more effective approach to increase their performance than trying to improve weaknesses.
The ways to achieve that include:
- Naming strengths of employees out loud because many people often take their talents for granted
- Applying personal strengths to accomplish the team’s goals
- Including strengths in performance reviews
- Assisting employees in aligning the strengths with their roles and expectations
- Invest in building employees’ strengths by organizing courses and training
- Assign special responsibilities to employees that allow them to use their strengths.
There’s no other weapon in your company’s arsenal that could match the power of a great team. If you feel like your team’s performance could be better, consider applying these tips to boost their productivity and make them more engaged at work. Hopefully they will help your team to fire on all cylinders and maximize the output by leveraging each member’s strengths.
Remember: working on your team’s productivity is your major responsibility as a leader. Without a strong leadership, an effective teamwork is extremely difficult to reach. Let the tips in this article be helpful to you to start preparation and planning to build and maintain a world-class team.