It’s the dream of all business owners and managers to have a high-performance team, but we all know that building and managing this team is easier said and done.
A high-performance team, above all, has to be both productive and efficient, and it’s very important to understand that productivity and efficiency aren’t exactly the same. You can be productive without being efficient, and vice versa. When, for example, a team member finishes a task according to the requirements, then they are being productive, but they might exceed the agreed deadline when finishing the task, making them not efficient.
This has been made even more difficult after the COVID-19 pandemic when a lot of teams are now forced to work remotely from home. Improving your remote team’s performance online provides its own unique challenge, and finding the right balance between productivity and efficiency is now even more difficult.
Here, we will discuss 4 actionable tips to improve your team’s performance online so they can be both productive and efficient, consistently.
1. Make Everything Transparent and Measurable
If you really want to improve your team’s performance, establishing a system to measure this performance is essential: if you don’t have any tangible data about your team’s performance, you can’t figure out which areas you’ll need to improve and which areas that are already performing.
You should define objectives that are:
- Specific: as a general rule of thumb, you should be able to easily explain this objective to a fifth-grader. If it is too complex, break it down into smaller, simpler milestones
- Measurable: you should be able to tie KPIs and metrics to measure the team’s progress in achieving this objective.
- Realistic: if your goal is too big, your team might perceive it as unattainable, which might hurt their morale and demotivate them instead. Again, break this goal into smaller milestones if necessary.
Plan out your quarter or year using these measurable objectives, and evaluate your team’s progress accordingly. With work management platforms, you can easily set up these goals and make them transparent to everyone involved in the project.
So, your team members know exactly who’s accountable for which task, and their current progress. By maintaining clarity and encouraging accountability, you can improve your team’s performance.
2. Give and Receive Feedback
Two-way feedback is an excellent way of building a culture of trust in your team. It’s important not only to provide regular feedback and show appreciation when it’s due but also to encourage them to provide their feedback and voice their concerns.
You should ask about:
- Whether their current workload is manageable, and whether the objectives are clear
- Whether they feel the established objectives are still relevant/realistic to achieve
- Whether there are any issues and bottlenecks that prevent progress on the task. Work together to uncover the cause of the issue.
By regularly providing feedback to each other, and encouraging your team members to give feedback to each other, you can establish clear communications, which is a very important key in improving both productivity and efficiency.
3. Reward and Punishment
Create a system of incentives for your team to achieve the agreed objectives. It’s very important for your team not only to understand what objectives they are aiming for and what kinds of rewards they are getting but also the why: whether they can make a difference for the company and for the bigger world in achieving this objective.
This reward can be a new reason for your team to commit to the objective and is a great way to motivate your team. You can also make the incentives more personal if you are aiming to improve individual productivity.
Be clear in what you are offering, and always deliver on your promises. Also, as we have discussed above, don’t provide them with objectives that are too ambitious and/or unattainable, this can demoralize your team instead and cause them to lose focus.
4. Improve and Reduce Your Meetings
It’s no secret that meetings have a bad reputation in relation to performance: too many meetings will cost your team members valuable time that they can instead use to fulfill their tasks.
However, we still need meetings for important decision making and also to share important information and avoid miscommunications. So, the key here is improving the quality of each of your meetings so you don’t need too many of them.
Nowadays, we can use various screen sharing software like Callbridge to run virtual meetings, which can be a major timesaver, but it’s also important to carefully think about the agenda of the meeting, who should be invited and evaluate each meeting with clear action items.
In the long run, by ensuring we always have high-quality and effective meetings, the quantity of these excessive meetings will naturally decrease.
Establish a culture of only scheduling meetings when they are absolutely necessary.
Improving your team’s performance online in productivity and efficiency is not only about emphasizing individual proficiency, nor it’s solely about time management. As you can see from the above tips, productivity and efficiency are complex and may involve various different factors if you truly want to improve them. However, by implementing the aforementioned tips, you will be able to gradually improve your team’s performance online.
Clear communication, effective collaboration, and proper project management remain the keys to improving your team’s performance by enabling visibility and accountability to everyone involved in the project. By helping your team and other internal stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities, and giving them the ability to monitor everyone’s progress, you can improve collective performance.