Improving Team Members Productivity Isn’t As Difficult as You Think
Many marketing leaders want to enhance their teams’ productivity. Even if your employees are achieving impressive output at the moment, that could change due to numerous factors.
Excessive workloads, a lack of direction and boredom could cause productivity drops.
Decreased productivity can also happen over changes that are ultimately positive, such as hiring new team members or investing in better tools.
People don’t immediately adjust to the changes associated with more employees or different products to support their workflows.
In any case, it’s vital to behave proactively after recognising productivity reductions in your team.
Prompt action increases the chances of getting to the bottom of the issue and working with your team members to solve it.
Trying to improve productivity can initially feel daunting. However, here are some tips that’ll show you the goal is more in reach than you might expect.
1 – Encourage Team Members to Show Accountability
Business owners and managers often think constant oversight is one of the best ways to improve productivity.
However, micromanagement can become frustrating for team members who feel stifled and believe their managers don’t trust them.
Urging team members to take accountability for their work is a simple but effective way to improve productivity.
Motivation levels go up when people realise they are the primary parties colleagues will look to when things go wrong, but they’ll rightfully get praise when hard work pays off.
Consider providing workers with a basic framework and staying available to advise if asked.
Giving your team members the freedom to complete work with more independence and take ownership of what comes from those efforts often helps people have a newfound excitement about their work.
Letting people focus on accountability also reduces the chances of getting bored due to disengagement.
When team members know others count on them to do their best work, they’re more likely to stay committed to their tasks and develop problem-solving skills.
2 – Give Ongoing Feedback
Sticking to a schedule of only providing individualised feedback to team members at annual reviews or similar milestones can harm productivity.
That approach allows too much time to pass before issues and areas for improvement get addressed.
Consider giving feedback every 1-2 months on an individual level instead, plus having monthly team huddles to share broader feedback, such as praise from clients.
That way, people will consistently know where they’re doing well and be aware of the instances where they might need to tweak their processes to get better results.
Keep in mind that the ways workers have received feedback before could shape how they perceive it now.
For example, some workplace leaders only connect with team members regarding significant issues. If people never get input outside of those events, they’ll likely learn always to fear feedback sessions, even if many of the things covered in them are positive.
Besides giving people frequent insights about improving, regular feedback meetings help them realise that getting feedback is often not a bad or scary thing.
Even when a manager needs to bring up a problem or take corrective action, there are plenty of ways to help the employee see the situation with an accurate perspective not driven by fear.
3 – Look at Ways to Streamline Workflows
Poorly planned processes can often cause productivity issues. Even when team members do everything right, they might still not get optimal results if the process they’ve been told to follow doesn’t work as well as it should.
Workflow improvement might mean outsourcing some in-house work not associated with the company’s core competencies.
It could also mean combining process steps or splitting them between team members. Additionally, making your processes better might focus on specific areas of the company’s work, such as client onboarding or content creation.
Process improvement methods differ depending on your goals and current challenges. What works well for one team or company may not apply to yours.
That’s why it’s crucial to gather your employees and ask them about the most challenging or cumbersome tasks they do. The people who participate in those processes daily will likely have insights you hadn’t considered.
Aim to look at what a process achieves, then work backwards to see where the current workflow falls short or wastes time.
Those areas will be excellent starting points for helping you iron out how people get things done and avoid pitfalls. Additionally, remember that processes evolve, so it’s worth looking back at them again a few months after optimising them.
4 – Examine Noise-Reduction Strategies
Open offices became popular years ago, and many companies still use them. Since an open-office plan lacks physical barriers, it can encourage people to work as a team and help them communicate more efficiently.
However, it’s well known that open offices can compromise productivity by causing more distractions and noise.
Regardless of whether your marketing team works in an open-plan office, you can use some noise-minimisation tips that work well in such environments.
For example, partitions covered with cotton or polyester absorb noise to make the room quieter.
You can also move them around as needed and even suggest team members that use them to get some visual privacy when they need to focus.
You can also use insulation under the floor or between connecting rooms to curb how well sound travels.
Insulation also has energy-saving benefits, so the advantages you see after installing it will likely span beyond better productivity.
If you’d rather not add insulation or partitions, there are other effective ways to get results.
For example, buying noise-cancelling headphones for your team could be an easy way to help them concentrate, leading to more productive client calls.
Alternatively, moving noisy equipment, like copiers and printers, to one office area can cut down on noise, too.
5 – Offer Team Members Workday Flexibility When Feasible
People naturally have different hours when they feel most alert. Some individuals may never adjust to the 9-to-5 business model your marketing team usually follows.
It’s not always possible to drastically change an individual’s work hours. For example, maybe much of your marketing team’s work centres on communicating with clients who keep strict business hours.
However, think about asking your employees whether changes in their work schedules could make them more productive, even if those alterations only apply on certain days.
Consider a case where a person feels most energised after 4 p.m. and wants to do their most challenging work during a shift that starts in the late afternoon.
Investigate whether you could make that happen by planning all the team member’s work that does not involve talking to clients during those later hours.
Alternatively, maybe one of your workers finds themselves most productive when the office is quietest.
If so, you might arrange to let them come in two hours earlier than most of their colleagues or stay a couple of hours after most people go home.
6 – Investigate Environmental Changes to Cultivate Creativity and Inspiration
You’ve already learned about making targeted changes to the workplace to cut down on unwanted noise.
However, there are other things you can do to make people look forward to the time spent at work and feel ready to do their best. Their productivity should rise as a result.
Start by dealing with clutter. Maybe your office has boxes of marketing materials scattered everywhere. Perhaps most of the messiness stems from employees’ workstations.
Whatever the case, realise that a cluttered space can cause stress. It also gives the wrong impression to clients who may visit.
Adding plants to the office is another worthwhile option. Consider encouraging workers to place small pots on their desks. Then, add larger plants to empty corners or other underutilised spaces.
Think about the most motivating ways to use wall space, too. You might devote one wall to a timeline of the company’s most notable achievements.
Another option is to display evidence of the most successful campaigns the marketing team worked on over the years.
Let your employees suggest how to decorate the space. Then, you’ll have the best chance of creating a place they love to work.
7 – Meet With Your Team Members to Set Goals
Many marketing managers mistakenly think productivity is about reducing the time spent on a task. However, that’s short-sighted because needing less time to do something doesn’t guarantee a better outcome.
The more accurate way to view productivity is whether a person’s actions move them closer to well-defined goals.
For example, maybe a content creator spent twice as much time on a blog post. Still, the resulting material caused several desirable outcomes, such as more website visits and increased outreach from potential clients.
In that case, the additional time was well-spent because it supported what the business needs to achieve.
When you have check-ins with marketing team members to give them feedback, those blocks of time are also ideal for helping them set goals and finding out how their goals in progress are going.
If people feel like they always have clear-cut things to work towards, their productivity should stay high.
Goal-setting is also helpful for establishing expectations. Then, you can clarify that particular achievements are likely out of reach for now, but other, smaller milestones will keep those more significant objectives in sight.
Assure your employees that you want to see them gradually doing great things, and you know larger goals don’t get met overnight.
8 – Limit the Number of Mandatory Meetings
Many people in the marketing industry and other sectors feel discouraged by the number of required meetings filling their schedules.
Those gatherings don’t always cause lower productivity, but they can if not planned well.
Start by asking yourself whether it’s possible to get the necessary outcomes without meeting.
Could the associated decisions get made through email instead? Next, think seriously about which parties genuinely need to come.
Would it be more efficient to send meeting notes to the less involved people in a project, giving them more time to work on other things?
Make productivity-based changes to how you run the meetings, too. For example, creating an outline keeps everyone on track by letting them know what you will — and won’t — cover.
It’s also helpful to ask someone to manage the meeting by ensuring people don’t discuss unrelated matters or get too long-winded. You may even go as far as setting a timer for each topic covered.
Some companies also establish meeting-free hours or days. Then, it’s easier for employees to plan how they spend their time and arrange to do the most intensive tasks when there’s no chance of a meeting interrupting them.
9 – Create Time for Breaks
Some people try to power through their whole workdays without ever taking breaks. They believe it’s the way to become the most productive.
However, that’s almost always the wrong approach to take. It’s not realistic to spend the whole day immersed in work and expect to feel equally focused throughout all of it.
Encourage your marketing team to take short breaks throughout their days. Then, when it’s time for their long lunch breaks, urge them to honestly treat the period as downtime rather than eating at their desks while checking their inboxes or doing research for a project.
It’s also essential to plan team members’ schedules with enough flexibility so people feel they can take breaks without worrying they’ll get too behind on their duties.
Urgent matters will inevitably arise. However, you should still do your best to structure workloads to allow for break-taking.
If team members resist your suggestions to take breaks, remind them how small actions can significantly affect how well they can tackle their work.
For example, even taking five minutes to go outside and stretch their legs can help a marketing team member feel mentally and physically refreshed.
10 – Change and Consolidate Tool Usage
There is an ever-growing number of marketing tools on the market, and most claim to raise user productivity levels.
The right tools can help people get more stuff done and achieve better outcomes. However, if your marketing team uses too many tools in their workdays, productivity could also decrease.
Take a closer look at the tools your team currently uses. Are there alternatives that let people do the same amount of work with fewer products? If so, it may be worthwhile to look into those options.
Consider how logging into numerous tools while on the clock can slow people down by disrupting their flow.
People also get off track even more if they forget their login details — which is more likely to happen as the overall number of products required to do their jobs increases.
Take some time to ask your marketing team about their tool assortment, too? Do specific products slow them down rather than make them more efficient?
If so, perhaps it’s time to stop paying for those products and allocate your budget to more-beneficial solutions.
Productivity Enhancements Are Possible
These tips will help you see that better productivity is a goal mainly within your control. It’s unrealistic to implement some suggestions and expect massive improvements within a week, in any case.
People usually need time to get used to anything new. Plus, you may find it necessary to alter things even more based on real-world feedback after making changes to boost productivity.
However, you’re now in a fantastic position to act and see meaningful improvements in your team’s productivity. Consider starting by implementing one or two of the ideas above, then ramping up from there.
Tracking associated metrics is also a practical way to measure whether what you do gives the results you hope for and expect.