Your business is full of talented, hard-working employees. But it’s not enough that they can perform well as individuals.
They have to be able to work in efficient, productive teams.
And in some ways, that’s getting harder. Your team might have remote or hybrid members — you could even be in completely different time zones.
With the right tools and techniques, any team can be high-performing. This article gives you the tips you need to improve team performance.
Why is Team Performance Important?
Team performance is related to job performance. Research shows that team members who are highly engaged in their work and motivated by the mission of their organization tend to produce higher quality, more innovative products than those who are disengaged or uninvolved.
Types Of Teams In The Workplace
Hybrid and Remote Teams
The days of everyone coming to the office every day are over for most teams. While many employees only started working from home in 2020 as a safety measure, most don’t want to go back full-time.
75.6% of employees want to work from home at least one day per week. 33.3% want to work from home five days per week. And employers are allowing it.
Only 4% of employers have communicated that they expect employees to return full-time. 19.7% have no clear plans,
Another 64.5% will allow some degree of remote work.
That creates a new challenge: teams have to work smoothly and efficiently despite not being in the same room.
Cross-functional teams are made up of people with different skill sets and expertise.
They’re often set up temporarily to work on a specific project. For example, a cross-functional team working on a product launch could include employees from product development, marketing, sales, and finance.
They bring a range of perspectives together, which fosters innovation and creativity, and they allow organizations to tackle more complex projects. But there are downsides.
Ineffective communication and misaligned goals in cross-functional teams can lead to issues in coordination, project management, and project delivery. Implementing team management best practices can help cross-functional teams perform better.
Qualities Of An Effective Team
How do you evaluate your team’s performance? We’ll talk about choosing specific metrics of success in a bit, but in general, a high-performing team will have these qualities:
The best teams can meet or exceed the goals that are set for them. They know exactly what’s expected, and they get it done.
High-performing teams don’t waste time. They get a lot done by operating as efficiently as possible.
If a team is inefficient, it doesn’t necessarily mean the team members aren’t working hard enough. Sometimes, a team’s performance is hampered by outdated tools or processes that need to be reevaluated.
The team members of an efficient team are motivated to do their best.
This usually comes from a sense of ownership in the team’s work. Team members feel positive about being a part of the team and are driven to achieve team goals.
6 Tips for Improving Team Performance
Team performance improvements often come from working smarter, not harder. These six strategies can be applied to any team to improve performance.
1. Set Clear Expectations
Teams can’t succeed if they don’t know what success looks like. Your team members should understand their goals and roles, as well as how they’ll be evaluated. Use the below suggestions to set clear expectations in the team.
Use KPIs for measuring the team’s performance
Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are quantifiable measures of performance. They’re the numbers that tell you how you’re doing on your goals.
Your team’s KPIs should include a combination of individual goals and team objectives. For example, a customer service team could track the total number of tickets the team resolved and measure the customer satisfaction ratings of each team member.
Reports and dashboards make KPIs much more useful. Team members should know how to check in on their progress and see how the team is doing.
Roles Within Teams
Each member of the team must have an understanding of their role. Unclear communication about who’s responsible for a task can lead to duplicated or unfinished work.
Work management software that can ensure that there’s no confusion about who’s supposed to do what.
Performance Review Process
In addition to knowing what they’re supposed to do, team members should understand how their achievements will be evaluated. Are there incentives for doing well? What metrics affect the likelihood that they’ll get a raise?
If employees don’t understand how their KPI numbers translate into real-life rewards, they’ll be less motivated to perform well.
2. Automate and Streamline Team Processes
Even the best team will fail if it has inefficient processes. So assign the processes according to the team’s calibre to improve the productivity of the entire team.
No one wants to do things the slow way, but it’s really easy for inefficiencies to become standard if you don’t regularly evaluate and optimize the way you do things.
Sometimes, an inefficient process is just how things have always been done. A team member has painstakingly created the same excel report every Monday for years, and no one has taken the time to find a better method.
Sometimes it’s because you have tools that don’t work together. For example, did you know that the average organization uses ten different sales technology tools? Switching between them for different tasks is a big waste of time.
A sales CRM solution can bring all of your customer relationship processes together and automate the repetitive parts of the job.
Talk to your team members about which manual processes are taking up the most time. Are there modifications that could save the invaluable time of the team? Better yet, could the process be automated?
3. Respect your Team’s Time
Have you ever had to attend an unproductive meeting that could have been an email?
Of course you have. We all have.
Pointless meetings are one of the biggest time sucks in the workplace. 44% of professionals say that poorly organized meetings are keeping them from doing their real work.
By using a meeting scheduler, you can manage your time and meetings in an effective manner. The tool enables your customers to view available time-slots in your calendar and book meetings accordingly, to avoid any conflicts.
And all that wasted time means wasted money. In fact, 34% of professionals consider unnecessary meetings to be the biggest cost to their organization.
Team leaders have a responsibility to communicate information efficiently. A meeting isn’t always the best way to go. That meeting could be an email, but we have an even better idea — that meeting could be a conversation on your work management platform.
4. Foster Transparency
In a successful team, every team member trusts every other team member to do their part. There’s a group dynamic of openness and honesty.
You can improve transparency at the team level by doing the following:
Provide Visibility Into What the Team Is Doing
Anyone working on a project should have complete information about it. When a team member can only see their own piece of the puzzle, decision-making and problem-solving are impacted.
Project management software can ensure that everyone on the team knows what other team members are doing.
That level of visibility also holds team members accountable. Knowing that your coworkers can see how much you’re contributing to the project is motivational.
Offer Insights Through Reports and Dashboards
Ideally, team members should have visibility of each other’s tasks.
Using a solution with sophisticated reporting and dashboard software gives the whole team insights into progress and performance.
Encourage everyone on the team to speak their mind. If they have feedback about the way the team is managed or how a process is done, be open to hearing it.
Team leaders should also give constructive feedback to direct reports. That improves team performance while letting team members know that you’ll be honest with them.
5. Reward Success
Everyone loves to be rewarded for their hard work. Whether it’s a monetary bonus or simple recognition, team members are motivated by incentives.
Most businesses only reward individual achievements.
No matter how many talented individuals you have on a work team, the team will only be successful if those individuals work well together. As per Deloitte, only 28% of organizations give performance rewards based on team metrics. 39% use individual metrics, and 55% use individual performance reviews.
Choose a team goal that everyone can work on together and let the team know that there’ll be a reward if they meet it.
6. Choose the Right Tools
It’s easy to talk about things like improving accountability or streamlining processes.
But if you don’t have the right team software solutions, it’s impossible to actually do it.
Don’t send an email or use a separate messaging app. That’s how you end up with five different disjointed conversations around the same issue.
Communication happens where the work happens. A good communication platform is especially important if you have hybrid or virtual teams or if team members come from a variety of departments. Moreover, good communication during meetings is equally as important. To facilitate this, you could use a meeting note app
A good project management platform provides visibility into what everyone on the team is doing. Project information, deadlines, files, and conversations are all easy to find.
Reports and dashboards let team members visualize the group’s progress and achievements. This kind of visibility also makes reporting to stakeholders on project statuses simpler.
You don’t have to be a tech wiz to automate workflows.Save time by automating mundane tasks like status updates and email notifications. Or get fancy with multi-step automation recipes that streamline entire workflows.
By following the six tips above, any team can improve performance without adding extra work.
Remember that team development is an ongoing process. Meet with your team regularly to openly discuss any frustrations they have or inefficiencies they’ve discovered.
One of the biggest things you can do to improve team performance is to use the right tools. Discuss with your team the tools that can add more value to their work and help solve challenges. However, you may want the assistance of a third party with such a new pair of eyes to understand what more you may add to your team, so be sure to look out for staff augmentation services that can help you boost your overall productivity.
Do you want to know how Engagedly can help you with Real-Time Performance Management? Book a live demo with us.
Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2023.