Busy Bees - 10 Tips to Increase Your Team's Productivity

August 13, 2021

Ready to take on the big players in your industry? It can be difficult for a startup. Small businesses naturally have small teams, making it critical for you to get the most out of every member of your staff.

However, this process comes with a built-in stumbling block. Not only do you have a smaller team than many of your competitors. You also have less time to track and consider productivity issues.

One survey showed that 29% of small and medium enterprises don't know how to measure productivity. Meanwhile, another 37% don't have time to assess how well their organization is doing on that front.

Taken together, that's two-thirds of smaller companies that don't have the know-how or the resources to properly evaluate their productivity needs.

Luckily, you don't need formal productivity tracking to make improvements. As a small business, there are small steps you can take that will unlock the potential of your team members. With that in mind, here are 10 tips for maximizing productivity in your small business.

Why small teams need to be extra productive

Baseball has its minor leagues. The NBA has its G-League. In college sports, there is a separation from smaller schools, competing in Division III, and the giant programs with multi-million-dollar broadcast deals fighting it out in Division I.

Companies don't have those distinctions. You don't have a D-III for startups and a D-I for the Facebooks and Googles of the world. Every business has to compete with any firm offering a similar product or service.

For your small business, that means your competitors might be huge. You might need to steal market share from organizations with far larger staffing levels and far more resources.

As a result, you need to get the most out of every team member. Only then, can you compete with the larger players in your market.

How to create a productive work environment

Encouraging productivity is often a matter of culture. The way you organize your business and the values you pursue beyond a simple profit impacts your team members. Often, these effects are subtle and unexpected.

For instance, one study found that happy workers end up 12% more productive than those with less job satisfaction. Meanwhile, a separate study showed that the increased recruiting power of a good culture can help boost revenue by up to 33%.

One study found that happy workers end up 12% more productive than those with less job satisfaction.

However, it's one thing to talk about a "great culture." It's another to know how to actually create one. Here are some steps you can take to nurture a workplace environment that gets the most out of your workers:

Focus on Team-Building

The process of getting the most out of your employees often begins before they even join your team. Hiring the right people gives you a big head start.

As you launch your startup, focus on creating your initial support staff. They will form the nucleus of your growing endeavor. At the same time, they will set the tone for subsequent employees.

Encourage Two-Way Feedback

Foster a culture that values communication. You want team members who thrive on feedback and can easily integrate new instructions. At the same time, you want people who can generate ideas and hold you accountable in the most constructive way possible.

Delegate and Empower

Micromanagement is the enemy of productivity. It creates bottlenecks and stifles innovation. Instead, give your employees the chance to take responsibility for their own success. Switch to a results-oriented process that empowers your top talent to move your company forward.

Build Social Connections

Tie your team together with more than work. Sponsor social events that allow them to connect as people. This will boost team spirit and encourage a better rapport between your employees.

Get the Right Tools

Give your employees the right tools to maximize their productivity. This includes devices, like laptops and cell phones. It could also involve communication and workflow management software, allowing you to stay organized despite a remote working environment.

Tips for improving individual team member productivity

Creating a productive environment will give a boost to your team as a whole. However, you also want to maximize individual effort. That takes a personal approach. Here are a few steps you can take on that front:

Clearly Define Expectations

What do you consider a good performance? Don't leave that open to interpretation. Set transparent targets so your team members know what they are aiming at.

Give Specific Constructive Feedback

Strive for constant improvement. Get your team members in the habit of receiving constructive feedback on a routine basis. This will let you upgrade your productivity over time.

At the same time, look for specific points of emphasis that you can highlight. Phrases like "work faster" or "try harder" do little good. Instead, pinpoint concrete ways in which your employee can improve their performance and focus on these areas.

Reward Overachievement

Your team members work for you for a reason. At the core, they are looking to get paid. Don't forget that as you build incentive structures. Offer rewards for exceeding production targets -- it will push your team members to do their best.

Encourage Mentorship

Create pathways for your team members to help each other. Whether it's peer reviews or pairing veteran employees with newcomers, you can spur productivity by building mentorship connections.

Avoid Burnout

Some productivity breakdowns happen when employees try to do too much. You can get a lot out of your team members by encouraging long hours and high-energy effort. At least, you can get a lot out of them for a while.

Eventually, everyone reaches their limit. That's why it's crucial to take a long view. Don't create conditions that feed burnout. You'll suffer in the long run.

Getting the most out of your small-business team

A productive team is pivotal for realizing your small business's true potential. Uncork the potential around you by leveraging all the talent your team can muster.

A productive team is pivotal for realizing your small business's true potential. Uncork the potential around you by leveraging all the talent your team can muster.

Accomplishing this means creating the perfect environment to nurture exceptional performance. At the same time, you need to draw the best out of each individual member of your team.

It may seem like a daunting task, but there are steps you can take. By following the tips we've outlined here, you'll be well on your way to creating a productive culture and improving your team's overall efficiency. With this support, you can set your small business up for long-term success.