Top 5 Threats to Team Productivity and How to Avoid Them
The outcome of any project inevitably depends on the people involved. A team, or to be more specific a productive team, is what drives success across all industries.
The productivity of your team isn’t solely the responsibility of team members. You as a manager have a significant impact as well. What mistakes you might do and what factors you may overlook? Explore the top 5 pitfalls, learn how to avoid them, and make sure your team has a smooth sailing and all the opportunities to show their best!
1. Unachievable objectives
Let’s start with the basics: the goals you set should be attainable. However smart and efficient your employees are, if a goal is unattainable, it will become a dead letter.
How to define if a goal is attainable? Paychex HR consultant Rob Sanders says: “If the goal has been achieved previously by others with similar experience and training, this would be one indicator that the goal being set is not unreasonable.”
But what if you have a large project or a big goal in mind, which may seem quite overwhelming even with reasonable deadlines? In this case, break your big goal into smaller objectives. Not only will this make your goal or project more achievable, but it will let you easily monitor the progress and motivate your team as they move towards the big target.
This very idea of breaking down your project into a set of goals and focusing all activities on achieving them is the core principle of the Goals by the KeepSolid app. Among other features, this project management software lets you create a mind map of goals and split them into feasible tasks, so however big your target is, it becomes attainable.
Then, you can manage your team’s progress via the Kanban board and get in-depth reports, so no significant detail slips through the cracks.
2. Weak goals
As unattainable goals will do no good for your team performance, the same goes for goals and tasks that are too easy. A healthy element of stretch is equally important. It helps to improve performance, motivates, and promotes the ongoing development of your team members.
The Korn Ferry survey supports this idea. It revealed that as many as 33% of professionals selected “I’m bored need, new challenge” as the motivation for changing a job.
To find this happy middle ground between unachievable and too easy, organizations have to take many factors into account, including cultural barriers. For example, in some Asian companies missing targets can be considered quite embarrassing, so managers may intentionally set the bar lower. By contrast, in the US, setting a lower objective than one achieved before may be deemed detracting.
3. Lack of feedback and acknowledgment
Try to develop a team culture of trust and meaningful and constructive feedback. Ask your team what challenges they face, how you can help them manage their time more efficiently, whether they need more resources etc.
Your team is doing well? Make sure to acknowledge that! Everybody likes to get positive feedback on their work, kind of a “well done” pat on their back. Results in this study found out that 79% leave their job stating ‘lack of appreciation’ as the reason. This proves to what extent acknowledgment gives a sense of achievement, makes one more confident, and motivates to work even harder.
If there are any problems, take time to do some digging to uncover the roots and eliminate the issues found. What makes this process easier is the reports you get from your project management software. Careful analysis of your team’s progress throughout the project may give you insights on when, how, and why an issue occurred and what can be done to address it.
4. Lack of training
One of the issues you may reveal while getting employee feedback and estimating their performance is inadequate training.
Surely you hire a worker because they meet certain requirements for the position. However, employees should also grow as the company develops and implements new approaches and technologies.
Employee responsibilities get modified accordingly and you can’t expect them to perform at the same level of efficiency using the old skill set. Without necessary qualifications, your team will make mistakes more often and this, in turn, will create tension. And being nervous because of the tension, employees will become even more prone to mistakes – a vicious circle, see?
So set up a system for relevant training of your team and increase their skills, confidence, and productivity. And with it – the chances for success.
5. Outdated technology
Progress doesn’t stand still, and your company shouldn’t either. Besides improving your team members’ skills, make sure you don’t use outdated software or equipment.
Keeping pace with technology has the potential to save your employees’ precious time and generally streamline business processes. Besides, according to the study by Ultimate Software, 92% of employees say technology that helps them do their job efficiently positively affects their work satisfaction.
Technology also pays off in a number of other aspects, like better experience for your customers and an advantage over your competitors. When you decide to update your technologies, don’t forget to seek your team’s feedback first. They may already have ideas and better exposure to technologies, and after all, the innovations you approve will affect them in the first place. Besides, you’ll show appreciation of their opinion.