Every leader wants to drive their employees to the best possible team performance, but it’s often hard to know which practices and incentives will yield the best results. While bonuses and other incentive programs work on a short-term basis, long-term and lasting growth requires team leaders to create a culture that values and encourages personal growth. Figuring out the best practices to suit your specific team can help improve and manage efficiency, group productivity, and overall team improvement.
Why is it important to measure team performance?
One of the most important reasons to measure team performance is to increase work efficiency. When measured, management can better understand where their team is excelling and where they need improvement. If an organization's goals include improving team performance long term, then there must be metrics to measure progress against. Additionally, measuring team performance allows leaders to know which employees should be rewarded for their hard work and which employees are underperforming and may need assistance or to be reevaluated in their roles. When you can identify which aspects of your team need improvement, you can make the necessary adjustments and improve overall productivity within your team.
Here’s how to improve team performance
When learning how to improve your team performance and how to improve efficiency, there are many different options to choose from. Having a high-performance team also requires an action plan for improving efficiency and initiating organizational change. We've created a list of our favorite ways to improve overall performance and reach your team's specific goals:
- Hire the right talent, and create a diverse, well-rounded team
- Develop clear expectations and goals
- Manage conflict effectively
- Increase access to training and development programs
- Hold regular one-on-one and team performance meetings
1. Increase efficiency by hiring the right talent
Hiring the wrong person can cost an organization much more than just money; when the wrong people are placed on a team, it can affect client relations, work culture, productivity, and overall team performance. A business is as strong as its employees, and high-performing teams are essential for growth and success. Be mindful when looking to add team members, and consider prioritizing diversity in your hiring decisions.
Importantly, diversity has been shown to significantly improve a company’s financial performance, with companies in the top 25% for racial and ethnic diversity being 35% more likely to see financial returns greater than average. Diversity should be a priority for your team, especially if you’re hoping to improve performance. This diversity can and should include differences of race, ethnicity, gender, age, personality, and more. Different perspectives and opinions will help your team make well-rounded decisions.
As your team gains diversity of thought and personality, you must place people in the right roles based on their unique strengths. Everyone has their own set of skills and energizers. Part of having a well-rounded team is ensuring that these differences are represented and utilized best.
How to improve team performance by hiring the best employees
There is no question that team efficiency is crucial for a company's success. Hiring the best talent to fill an open role can be daunting, and at times overwhelming because of how much is at stake. Taking advantage of tools such as personality tests can help you know how to place the right people in the right roles and improve work efficiency. Through these assessments, you can better understand a candidate's work and communication styles, how they may respond to adversity, their behaviors, tendencies, and preferences, and what kinds of tasks may energize or drain them. These valuable insights can help guide your hiring decision, making it easier to make the right one.
You can learn how to place candidates in roles that best fit their personalities by starting today with Crystal’s hiring tool.
2. Create team effectiveness with expectations and goals
In order to meet or exceed team productivity expectations, it’s first important to clarify what good and great performances look like. If employees don’t know what goals to reach for, they won’t have an accurate way of measuring their own performance or how to increase efficiency within their role. Present everyone with measurable results you expect the team to reach. While these goals can adapt throughout the year, presenting overly vague ideas rather than a clear road to success will lead to misalignment and confusion.
These goals and expectations should be set on both a group-wide and individual level since responsibilities and expectations will vary depending on each person’s role. However, it’s essential that each team member, from managers and supervisors to entry-level hires, know exactly what their goals are for contributing to the team’s success.
Example team performance goals
- Time management
- Effective communication
- Innovative ideas
- Professional development
- Strong collaboration
3. Improve team productivity by managing conflict
Conflict is an inevitable part of collaboration, management, and overall team functioning. However, when not dealt with effectively, conflict slows progress and stifles creativity. When there isn’t room for empathetic communication on your team, tension builds and creates lasting problems.
To optimize team performance management and levels, make collaboration more manageable, and prevent fallout, proactively create a culture of empathy on your team. Teams that prioritize empathy and communication are less likely to have conflict caused by misunderstanding or pent-up frustration. Rather than jumping to conclusions and allowing frustration to build, this understanding will help your team ease tension, resolve conflict when it comes up, and collaborate effectively.
Learn more about how you can manage conflict with your team here.
Conflict mediation options to increase efficiency
- Conduct regular 1:1's and check-ins to gauge employee satisfaction
- Take personality assessments to understand conflict resolution styles
- Practice active listening before responding or reacting
- Try to be objective and do not take sides
4. Team performance management begins with access to training
Perhaps one of the more apparent strategies to improve team performance is to increase access to training and development programs. Incentivize regular growth and allow easy access to reading material, videos, conferences, and more to help employees learn how to improve their performance. Give your team access to the tools they need to grow-- you might even consider including a performance management group in your planning to help you reach your goals.
Not only will this help improve performance, but it will also lead to increased employee retention. A recent LinkedIn study found that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if they invested in their careers. People don’t want to remain stagnant in their knowledge and performance. By offering a way for them to improve, you’re benefiting them in the long run too.
Learn more about training and development in our full-length blog post here.
Team performance training options
- Leadership training
- Mentorship program
- Online training
5. Hold regular team performance meetings
To increase work efficiency, create a space for open, honest dialogue with team members. One-on-one’s are the right time for you to offer feedback that helps drive an individual's performance and gives individuals a forum to provide feedback about your management, role, and overall thoughts on team goals. Holding regular one-on-one meetings can help resolve real problems, clarify expectations for employees, and let them know that their voices matter.
Learn more about holding effective one-on-one meetings in our full-length ebook.
Similarly, holding regular team performance meetings can assist in creating a more effective team, goal-setting, and employee engagement. Come to each meeting prepared to discuss objectives, goals, and progress with your team. Keep a positive attitude always, and welcome any feedback or opinions from team members. These meetings will help create alignment, aid in team building, and hopefully motivate employees to do their jobs well. Subsequently, job performance meetings and one-on-ones are excellent ways to improve efficiency in the workplace.
How to increase efficiency with meetings
- Have a prepared agenda
- Be open to employee feedback, ideas, and concerns
- Stay within a predetermined timeframe
- Clearly outline goals and expectations
- Allow time for employee recognition
6. Measure team effectiveness and celebrate growth
When increasing efficiency in the workplace, it is vital to measure your team's effectiveness and growth. Look at both organizational and individual goals, as well as the progress that has been made. It is essential to outline your team’s goals and objectives clearly to have measurable results to assess. Be sure to celebrate milestones, big and small, to support positive team morale and motivate your employees to continue working hard in their roles.
How to assess team effectiveness
- track key performance indicators (KPIs)
- compare progress to the team's goals
- talk to clients and customers
- measure employee satisfaction and behavior
How to reward team performance
- public recognition, such as special events or dinners
- developmental rewards, such as additional training opportunities
- profit-sharing, gainsharing, or other monetary incentives
What is the best way to improve team effectiveness? Our key takeaways:
Helping your team improve working efficiency and their performance is beneficial for everyone. Not only will employees feel more at home in their positions, but they will also grow and develop to become better in the future. Improving your team’s performance should focus on making work life better for everyone, rather than being solely focused on strict financial performance. By putting your team first to improve their performance, you can enhance efficiency and group productivity while achieving lasting results.