Do you want to dramatically increase the productivity of your team, be it your staff, your outsourcers or even your admin staff?
I’ve put together 13 tried and tested proven ways to increase productivity, improve morale, earn more money and dramatically scale the productivity of your business.
Now when I say staff, this could really be anyone in your business from your outsourcers and admin staff to your partners, husbands wives. Really it’s anyone in your business that helps you to complete tasks that you want to be more productive, more efficient and more effective.
So, within these 13 points, I’m going to cover having a clear job description for you and your staff which is a mistake many employers make, identifying key result areas, setting income-generating tasks and individuals roles responsibilities. I’m also going to discuss the importance of culture and environment, actually enjoying the job, assigning projects, not tasks and why it’s essential to find the right balance between autonomy and management to increase productivity.
I’m mainly going to focus on your staff. I’ve done other episodes/posts on my podcast/blog on productivity and efficiency so you can listen/read them if you’re looking to step up your productivity game.
Here, Here & Here
Okay, 14 elements to dramatically increase the productivity of you but with the main focus being on your team and your staff, let’s do this.
1. Clear Job Description
A big corporate company will have specific job descriptions tailored to each individual role which they will send to external recruiters or for use for internal hires, but many one-man-band or small entrepreneurial ventures do not have clear job descriptions for their vacancies and they’re missing out.
But what does a job description look like? For me, it should be structured with the vision and the values of the company at the top, summarised in a paragraph or less followed by the top-line outcome of the role and the key result areas of their position.
Next, the job description needs to highlight the income-generating tasks and the roles and responsibilities so that it’s very clear to the prospect what the role is looking to achieve and what your staff member is supposed to do, and what they’re not supposed to do. Structuring your job description in this way gives your new employee autonomy because, when they become overwhelmed you can always direct them back to their job description detailing what they’re key areas are and that will help them prioritise their workflow.
If it’s not in their key result areas. You should delay it, delegate it or delete it.
And remember don’t just follow this structure for your team, do it for yourself and your role too.
2. Key Result Areas
Okay, so the next is knowing what your main key result areas are.
This is an area of focus that is vital to the growth or at least the delivery of the role and you should aim to have between three and seven non-negotiable KRAs for each position. Keeping your KRAs to no more than seven ensures you or your employees are not spread too thin and only important tasks are considered key result areas.
Now, it’s important to remember that not all KRAs can be income-generating as some will be strategic, tactical or administrative as it is dependant on the role.
Adopting KRAs into your business give you overriding guidance and focus because if you’re ever overwhelmed, confused or inundated with work, which of course most of us are most of the time you just check your key result areas and gauge whether it’s an important task of not. If it’s not a KRA, delay it, delegate it or delete it.
And again, it’s vital that you, your business partners and your managers also have KRAs that are different and complementary to one another.
3. Income-generating Tasks
Okay, point number 3 of How to Dramatically Increase Productivity (You & Your Staff) is identifying income-generating tasks and prioritising those that generate the business the most amount of income.
Now, no two tasks have the same amount of value to you, but if you can spend your time closing £5,000 worth of business by calling you clients task that would be an income-generating task that would be prioritised over all of the admin, follow-up and terms and conditions, these would not be considered income-generating tasks. But, it’s not that non-income-generating. aren’t important and shouldn’t be done. It’s just that if you do them, they’re taking you away from you spending your time generating income, hence categorising some tasks as income-generating.
So how can you determine which tasks generate income and which don’t?
Aim to simply stay focused on what tasks generate your business and income and which ones do not, then group together all of your non-income generating tasks and outsource, delay or batch them in small windows of time to get them done. Why? because if you’re not doing this then your earning capacity per hour is actually reducing.
And you can apply this mindset to your team too, for example, if you’ve got a salesperson and they’re drowning in admin, take the admin away from them and outsource it so that they can focus on selling, closing leads and winning new and existing business which is generating your business an income.
To give you an idea of how many income-generating tasks you should have for each role, I have ten different tasks within subcategories of the key result areas that you and your team should be mostly focusing on.
4. Roles, responsibilities and MSOs
Each member of your team needs a minimum standard of performance (MSO), which covers the five key metrics that your staff member needs to do to essentially just keep their job.
If you have good MSOs outlined in your job descriptions you can completely de-risk the hiring process and can you even link the MSOs to revenue and income-generating tasks. For example, if you’re MSOs for your sales team could be to generate £5,000 worth of income a month before they earn a commission.
Utilising MSOs empowers you to performance manage or even let staff go if they’re not hitting the minimum standard of performance clearly written in the job description.
But what other roles and responsibilities do your staff have?
Well, as I’ve mentioned key result areas (KRAs) and income-generating task are the main areas that for your staff to focus on but roles and responsibilities can be considered the key functions of the position and just like a football team if you, your staff and everyone in your business know their role and their responsibilities you don’t just all chase the ball around, everyone knows their position and there’s Clarity and where there’s clarity there’s no confusion and no overwhelm.
5. Good Culture & Environment
Your culture is that feeling when you walk into the office, the atmosphere and the environment everyone shares. It’s conducive to productivity, energy, enthusiasm, passion, drive, commitment, loyalty, never-ending Improvement and getting things done.
Ask yourself, is the environment in your office conducive to all of those things or is it a bit autocratic? Is it a bit dark and moody?
Well, to create this type of culture it comes from the leader, it comes from you.
And if you are passionate, inspired, enthusiastic, motivated and you take feedback as well as give feedback you will have an open culture of feedback improvement and ideation from the bottom up and not just the top-down.
At Progressive, we have company and culture values that we stand by and it, in turn, creates inner cultural values for our team.
6. Enjoying The Job
I believe you are halfway there to productivity, efficiency and effectiveness if people enjoy their job and you enjoy it with them. I personally do a lot for myself and for my team to ensure that they enjoy their job and I make sure to give them autonomy, progression, cognition and rewards whilst aiming to treat them like a leader not a subordinate.
I try to make the culture in our office a little bit different, quirky and innovative sometimes switching roles and responsibilities around and always having a little bit too much to do, but it’s by doing this that you get a real sense of team and togetherness.
It’s also important to remember that enjoying the job is one of the most vital and often overlooked factors for increasing productivity and this goes for you too, if you don’t enjoy your job that’s going to transmute out and your team is not going to enjoy their job either.
And always remember that most of the culture starts with you and comes from the top down so make sure that you’re doing something you enjoy and delegate, delaying or delete the tasks you don’t enjoy.
7. Projects Not Tasks
Always aim to give people projects and not just tasks. No one really wants to just do admin, even if their job is admin and I see admin as just as important as leadership. We all have a role to play and I see the relationships in my business as horizontal.
Yes, horizontal. We are all equal, even though we are responsible for different things, this is a different view to having a vertical approach which is autocratic and hierarchical.
So, if you give people projects to own and they really put their own heart and soul and fear of loss and responsibility into it, they’re likely to step up and lead..
8. Have No Ceilings On Progression & Earning Capacity
If your staff hit the ceiling of their career progression they’re probably going to look for another job because they can’t progress because progression is simply a human need.
So, always make sure that room to progress and grow in any role, even if it’s a sideways movement or let them create that role. because we effective growth and leadership you will always get results no matter the role.
9. Accountability & Deadlines
If you don’t give deadlines to your staff then things will never get done and If you don’t give accountability to those deadlines, then they will be missed.
It’s often said that if you want to be successful ‘hire smart people and give them slightly too much to do and then get out of their way.’ If there’s too much to do then the energy goes up and your team moves fast and if you attached rewards to beating the deadline you can increase productivity further. You can also add in penalties if deadlines are missed.
Ultimately the aim to get more done in less time.
10. Balance Autonomy & Management
No one likes to be micromanaged, most people like a bit of autonomy, freedom, leadership, responsibilities and ownership. So to increase productivity in your business you can give your staff ownership and leadership over projects so that they are perceived as leaders even though they are not and you can continue to guide them from a managerial point of view which is vital to the business.
Always aim to offer your staff guidance, support and education over micromanagement. I really believe more and more as I grow older that people learn the best when they learn lessons themselves, rather than just by being told how to do something. Challenge and support them but allow them to learn themselves.
11. KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
KPIs are the metrics of feedback that you and your staff are either growing or decaying, that you’re going in the right direction or the wrong direction. KPIs are the proof behind the numbers as ‘you cannot master what you do not measure.’
By creating KPIs for each role you are allowing them to fulfil their role towards the vision of the management and the company and as a manager and a leader you can give 360-degree feedback to your employee, analysing all of the KPIs within their role and offering continual development where improvements are needed.
I’ve got a key performance indicator and marketing document report that I created which you can access by joining my supporter’s programme. bit.ly/Robsupporter
12. Rewards, Progression & Recognition
Dragons Den investor James Caan mentored me back in 2010 and he said that the three things that people really need in a career that are more important than money and might equate to you not having to pay as much salary are Rewards, Progressions and Autonomy.
For example, in addition to financial rewards, you can offer promotions and benefits to your employees such as pension scheme, gym membership, or vouchers. At Progressive, we have 12 different employee benefits to choose from.
It’s proven that your staff are seeking progression, looking to be recognised for good work, have autonomy in their role and not to be micromanaged. Why? because people are people and it’s our job to guide them through the process.
13. Removing Bottlenecks & Ensuring That Resources Are Available
It’s important to evaluate where you can improve your business and remove bottlenecks so that your staff have everything they need to do a really good job.
Ask yourself, are there bottlenecks in your business? Perhaps there are too many layers of management or software and systems that are broken or there’s too much manual processing?
As a leader, you’ve got to make sure that all of the friction, bottlenecks, politics, noise and distraction are reduced. The less friction, the more productive, efficient and effective your team is going to be.