Cut Down on Unproductive Time
In business, we are no stranger to meetings. While necessary, meetings, in general, have generated a reputation for being a nuisance and a time-waster. In a 2012 study, companies that had poor meeting practices also performed worse in their industries. The solution is not to forgo having meetings or even to cut them back unnecessarily, but to think about the time spent with your team more strategically.Meetings should be an energizing experience for everyone present. Leaders need to have the mentality that meetings are an opportunity to rally the team's morale and continually realign on the team's vision. Instead, a lot of leaders seem to resent the meeting as much as the participants and take an approach that seems to say, "I'm sorry we have to do these guys, let's just try and get through this as quickly as possible."Here are a few ideas to reduce unproductivity caused by meetings:
- Is this meeting necessary? You may not need to meet with your team every single day. Consider reducing the frequency of meetings to avoid only meeting because you feel that it is required.
- Are you only meeting to sync up with your team? This is not necessarily a bad idea, but time and energy here are essential. You want to keep this meeting short. Consider whether to allow everyone to speak or not, especially if you know that some team members take a long time communicating. The purpose of these meetings should be to enhance productivity through aligned objectives and a boost in energy and morale. To do this, the leaders need to inspire their team members every single day, which can require a lot of energy. This does not mean that substituting forced enthusiasm for high energy will not go unnoticed.
"Inspirational leaders inspire every single day, not just when it feels most convenient."
- Are you meeting with the right people? A common complaint about company meetings is the phrase, "Why do I even need to be here?" If only the managers need to meet, allow the rest of the staff to focus deeply on their work. Understanding the inclusion balance is critical here. You do not want to ostracize or make some team members feel uninvolved.
- Consider asking your employees what they think about the meetings. Ask them whether they feel productive afterward. Let them decide whether the meeting is a waste of time for them individually. If you have team members who choose not to attend a meeting where their attendance is necessary, there may be deeper issues present with the team member or the meeting structure.
Are Your Employees Happy?
This question elicits a variety of responses from the managers with whom we speak. For some, this question quickly pulls on their heartstrings because they can immediately picture the employee(s) in their mind struggling with happiness at work. Some managers may harden a bit because happiness at work should not be an option in their minds. After all, for so many years, it has not been an option for them. While these may sound like serious, complicated, and possibly unsolved personal issues amongst the managers and team members, these can be easily resolvable problems.Here are some ideas to increase productivity through a happier workforce:
- Do your employees feel taken care of at work? Ensure your employees do not think they are overburdened, underpaid, lacking sufficient benefits, or unappreciated. It only makes sense that these will create a poor work experience for that individual.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. Maybe your team members are unhappy, and you don't even realize it. People are social. We crave to feel a part of the tribe, introverts included. If a person is walking in and out of work every day with limited social interaction and palpable distance between them and their boss, it can take a toll on their morale over time.
- Numerous studies have found that exercise can directly reduce workplace stress and burnout. Encourage your employees to be healthy by providing healthier food options, promoting a wellness program, or even hire a yoga instructor to come into the office (or stream a class online)! If you are of the mindset that these are unreasonable goals, then you are behind the curve.
- Unhappy leaders create an environment of dissatisfaction. Leaders need to look introspectively first to make sure they are personally well-treated, aligned with the company vision, and healthy.
Provide Ongoing Training
Training has debatably the most direct impact on the employee's ability to do their job effectively and efficiently. Without proper training, even the happiest and least bogged down employees will have no means to be highly productive. Training boosts morale by making employees feel highly regarded.Here are some training ideas and initiatives to implement:
- Identify goals first, then analyze training needs. If your goal is to create a happier work environment, then consider your objective when designing a training program for your company or before you hire an outside organization. If higher technological capabilities are the objective, focus on the specific software skills needed to aid your employees.
- Talk to your leaders and employees. Your managers will know firsthand what is essential and what is unessential. What you believe to be a high priority could very well be a lesser issue than what your managers deem to be a priority. Your employees may tell you that their job relies explicitly upon a set of tools with which they do not feel capable.
- Focus on your leadership development. Developing your leaders is key to ensuring that your team is well-managed. Leadership development continues to be a central focus for the world's most successful companies in their industry. It turns out that large companies are not the only ones benefiting from leadership development initiatives. Small companies see an incredibly positive impact by focusing on key leaders within their organizations. McCracken Alliance has a specialized focus on finance-specific leadership programs. Feel free to reach out, and one of our leadership development experts would be happy to point you and your company in the right direction.