Anyone who’s worked in a leadership position can tell you that getting team members to complete tasks independently can be tricky. Whether it’s getting folks to turn in projects on time or complete necessary training, managers and supervisors often wonder how to improve team productivity without having to send a barrage of follow-up emails.
If you find yourself having to follow up with your team more frequently than you’d like, don’t get discouraged. The best way to increase team productivity is by boosting their motivation and — get ready for this — giving them more freedom, all through clever tools inspired by positive psychology and communication.
Here are several methods you can use to improve your team’s productivity, compliance, and communication skills.
The Power of “Why”
Incentivizing indirect reports is a challenge. If team members aren’t properly incentivized, then even the simplest of processes becomes a nightmare of missed deadlines and unanswered emails.
A 1977 study has long been cited for behavioral discoveries that changed our perception of motivation – and its findings are a game-changer for those who manage teams.
Called the Copy Machine Study, it had a simple premise: a researcher would wait by a copy machine and try to cut in line, asking people one of three questions:
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine?”
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make copies?”
Using the first question, only 60% of people allowed the researcher to cut in line. With the second and third questions, over 90% of respondents allowed the researcher to cut in line.
Even though the last question barely makes sense given that everyone else in line also had to make copies but wasn’t asking to cut the line, it’s the addition of “because” that proved to be the magic word.
Writer Robert Cialdini explained this phenomenon, stating “People simply like to have reasons for what they do.”
With the power of “why,” a directive like, “Please complete your CPR certification this month” becomes “Please complete your CPR certification this month because it’s a requirement for all employees with your role and responsibilities.” When given a reason, people included in the rationale rather than simply being told what to do.
How to Improve Team Productivity: Nurture The Relationship
Once you’ve begun exercising the power of “why,” you can explore the power of “who.”
Attaching a relationship to a task transforms it from a line on a to-do list to a collaborative effort that contributes to a greater goal of the organization.
For example, if you’re used to sending simple task assignments with a date, time, and task, and a simple note or task decription, such as, “Debra from accounting would really appreciate it if expense reports were completed by the 15th of every month because she needs to send the collective report to leadership by the 21st” is powerful.
Attaching a person or relationship to a task shows employees that their actions impact others. It’s also a reminder that companies are run by and for people, and people power the processes that keep the wheels turning. Giving a name to the need builds connections and nurtures the relationships every business needs to succeed.
Marrying Macromanaging & Success-Driven Structure
When you’re trying to maximize productivity, it’s easy to err on the side of micromanagement, effectively helicoptering over your employees until they do as they’re asked..
In their exploration of micromanagement’s effects, Forbes shared survey findings that stated 85% of respondents experienced a negative impact on their morale when micromanaged, 69% considered changing jobs, and 36% actually changed jobs.
Micromanagement vs Macromanagement
The opposite of micromanagement, also known as macromanagement, empowers employees by building trust, autonomy, and communication. This can yield mutually beneficial dividends, such as reductions in stress and errors, increases in creative thinking, and improved confidence.
Plus, when you aren’t burning energy checking in on each and every member of your team, they’ll be incentivized to communicate more regularly and thoroughly.
Macromanagement In the Office
Still wondering how to improve team productivity? There are many ways macromanagement can be used to save energy and boost motivation.
For example, if you used to conduct daily individual or team check-ins, try moving them to once a week. If you’re still worried about employees forgetting to complete certain tasks, ProTrainings has discovered through years of automating the people-management aspects of CPR training, that using automation tools allows team managers and HR professionals to rest assured that reminders are being set, while protecting the relationship between managers and employees.
Another way to minimize the experience of micromanagement is to ensure that your communications are balanced with positive feedback as well as pointing out areas of improvement. If your feedback usually consists of zeroing in on errors and mistakes, tweak that approach by pointing out what they’re doing well along first, followed by what needs work.
Finally, turn critiques into questions, which builds autonomy. For example, rather than doling out criticism, ask your team members how they feel they did, what they think could or should be improved, and what else they have left to complete, which nudges them to take ownership of their work, its quality, and its completion.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
If you’ve tried the techniques above and are still struggling with how to improve productivity for your team, try focusing on your communication methods. As experts in scalable training platforms, we’ve helped nearly 3 million people complete their required trainings and CPR certifications by using these simple principles:
- Send multiple reminders. Not every employee benefits from macromanagement. Some might need more of a nudge. Automating certain tasks, including follow-ups, ensures your team members are getting the reminders they need to get their work done on time while saving you the trouble of reminding them.
- Communicate more efficiently. Tools like Teams, Slack, and Loom allow for mutual asynchronous communication, which means you and your team will spend far less time chasing each other down via email or on the phone. Plus, you can share info team-wide with just one video or message.
- Use project management software. Good project management software, like Monday.com, Asana, or Coda can help you and your team see responsibilities at a glance, and get a dopamine boost from checking off completed tasks.
Asynchronous communication has been a game-changer here at ProTrainings. We designed our online CPR certification dashboard expressly because it is difficult for team managers and HR professionals to collect and keep track of everyone’s CPR certifications. Our online dashboard does the communicating for you, efficiently and effectively, so you and your team can focus on what matters most.
CPR Training On Your Time
When it’s time to push for CPR certification or recertification, use the tools that work for you.
Helping your employees understand that they should finish their CPR certification ASAP because they could save a life goes a long way. Plus, letting them know their certification will follow them outside of the office to potentially save the lives of the people they know and love is a great way to make sure they understand the immense value of a work-mandated training.
Once they’re mentally on board, save yourself the time and energy of scheduling and take advantage of ProTrainings’ online or blended training programs. Offering online CPR training and virtual hands-on skills evaluations rather than requiring in-person, on-site training allows your employees to renew their certifications at their discretion and convenience.
For companies wondering how to improve team productivity when it comes to employee CPR certification and renewal, we provide online and blended courses that take a fraction of the time and cause a fraction of the headaches. Contact us today to learn more about our group and remote-staff CPR certification!