Every day organizations face an increasing number of different challenges, from the 'Digital Future of Work' to ‘The Great Resignation’, from how the ‘Metaverse’ will...
Every day during any given work week, we are continually bombarded with notifications and unproductive interruptions. In this article we will explore how leaders can help to make workplace and team productivity more efficient and effective.
First off, if you’ve never thought “what is the difference between team efficiency and team effectiveness", you’re not alone.
You will find in most organisations across the globe, efficiency and effectiveness are used out of context, with many mangers using one term to explain the other.
However, actually understanding the difference between team efficiency and team effectiveness can help your teams get work done faster.
Peter Drucker, in his book, The Effective Executive, probably gives one the best and clearest explanations between the difference in efficiency and effectiveness
“Efficiency is doing things right, Effectiveness is doing the right thing.”
The ultimate goal for high growth organisations is that every team is efficient and effective, the reality is this takes a lot of understanding and needs to be driven as part of company KPIs and culture – knowing how your teams communicate, removing blockers such as information silos, improving well-being by reducing out-of-hours work, improving cross team collaboration, increasing employee deep work time, all have positive influence on team efficiency and team effectiveness.
How to improve team efficiency
The starting point to improve team efficiency is to identify and understand how much high impact work your teams can achieve. To gain balanced insights and make informed data driven decision, you also need to consider your current blockers such as unproductive meetings, informational silos and poor cross functional alignment.
You should not view team efficiency for productivity’s sake—the more team efficiency can foster the faster you will achieve strategic objectives, this in turn will have a positive workplace culture impact and encourage more healthy teamwork and cross team collaboration which will improve your overall business performance.
If you are not convinced about why a team efficiency strategy is so important yet, let’s look at some stats from research and thought leaders:
During self-assessment, employees consistently overestimate their own productivity by 11 percent.
Email notifications interrupt focus time
Businesses spend more than 17 hours a week clarifying communication.
In an average workplace with 100 employees, professionals clarifying their communications. Note the wording here—“clarifying” implies that the communication has already taken place, but additional communication was necessary to correct some flaw in the original message.
Connected employees give organizations a 20-25 percent productivity increase.
Categories of improvement include reading and answering email, searching for and gathering information, communicating and collaborating with other employees, and completing role-specific tasks.
An engaged workforce leads to 202 percent higher cumulative performance.
If your entire workforce is engaged (on average), you’ll stand to . Note that the effects of having a fully engaged workforce far outweigh those of taking a single employee from “disengaged” to “engaged.”
That’s because engaged employees are more likely to collaborate, and continue making positive changes that cumulate in a better, more encouraging workplace overall.
Meetings take up way too much time – an hour per employee per day.
An Atlassian study found that employees spend, on average, . That’s nearly 30 hours a month in meetings, or over 300 hours a year. As you’ll see by the following statistics, the majority of meetings are either complete or partial wastes of time, and because meetings often involve multiple participants, the productivity costs can spiral out of control quickly.
Three things you should do right now to improve team efficiency
To help you and your team increase your efficiency and productivity, we have defined 3 key strategies which will help you discover team productivity improvements quickly.
Improve meeting Productivity
"Time spent in internal meetings has been rising by 8% to 10% annually in the last decade”
We have all sat through pointless internal meetings (which could have been summarized in a Slack thread or Email).
But meetings needn't be pointless. Successful internal meetings bring everyone together to check-in with one another and communicate challenges, actions and needs.
At the very least, internal meetings should keep everyone on the same page. When done well, they increase accountability, engagement, and creative problem-solving.
In turn, well-run meetings contribute to a productive, engaged workplace culture that team members actually enjoy. Successful internal meetings leave everyone feeling accomplished and fully aware on what has been decided.
When a team gathers to share progress and build upon it together within an agreed agenda, better business outcomes are created.
Create meetings with purpose
If you are planning an internal meeting, first select an outline of the concise meeting agenda. It can be confusing and disengaging if you send out a calendar invite for an internal meeting with no explanation. And if you include a lengthy explanation in the calendar invite, that can make the meeting feel unnecessarily complicated.
Every meeting should have an objective and agenda
- What is the objective of the meeting?
- What are the actionable elements of the meeting?
- Is feedback or attendee input required before the meeting?
- What are the shared tasks for the meeting attendees?
Improve cross team communication
For the purpose of this example, we have used Slack, which is now used my more than 600k organisations globally as a channel for teams whether office based, hybrid or remote to communicate and collaborate efficiently.
Slack like many other team collaboration tools are a treasure chest of team productivity insights, by using advanced Slack Collaboration analytics you quickly adopt team communication best practices and improve team efficiency.
Consistent naming conventions
A clear channel purpose
Set a channel topic
A channel topic will let everyone know what is being worked on (ex: “Working on next quarters blog posts".)
All relevant files are shared in channel
Always share links to documents, this way channel members can easily find the most up to date document draft versions, supporting documents and final document versions.
Important files and information are pinned
Pin the most important information to your channel so members and new colleagues can quickly find it.
Improve cross functional collaboration
Smart organizations who achieve sustainable and predictable high growth typically go hand-in-hand with high levels of cross functional collaboration and strategic alignment.
The rise of digital collaboration tools and employee communication tools has given organisations the ability to understand and improve cross-team visibility, mapping out how connected teams are influencing the business objectives and business outcomes.
These tools can serve as a centralized hub to share what you’re working on with the rest of the team and identify areas where people of different responsibilities can collaborate. By sharing a single source of truth with your team, you can boost teamwork and reduce the barriers to high-impact work so your team can be more efficient.
The blueprint for improving cross-functional collaboration determined harmonizing people, trust, and the flow of information as part of a workplace collaboration culture.
Transparency. Making sure important data can be found easily and your teams know best practices when it comes to knowledge sharing.
Empowerment. Without collaboration there would be no innovation. Give your teams the freedom within your culture to work closely together and overcome challenges quicker.
Inclusivity (with diverse teams). As the saying goes “do the same thing, get the same result”. That doesn’t necessarily mean what you are doing is producing the wrong result, but diversity of thought makes teams more resilient and versatile. Think about how you can include more diverse ways of thinking to your strategic objectives.
Tools. The right collaboration software for the right purpose. As we have already covered, emailing, unproductive meetings and poor team communication all impact team efficiency. Define your cross-functional collaboration best practices and include which tool should be used for which purpose.
Trust in metrics. Employees prioritize what they are measured against, so you should have a clear understanding of what their KPIs are and offer them a dynamic visualization of their performance. This isn’t about track keystrokes or spying on communication, it is about truly understanding the data patterns which give insights on team collaboration effectiveness and team communication efficiency.
Help your teams be more efficient
Improving efficiency is a continuous process. It may seem overwhelming, but using an analytics tool like Flowtrace combined with team collaboration best practices can help make everyone on your team more efficient.
If you would like to read more about how Flowtrace can help you improve team collaboration read our article 10 Ways of Improving Cross-Team Collaboration and Alignment.
Experience Flowtrace in Action
Every team has a variety of communication tools at their disposal, but they’re only useful if your team knows how and when to use them. Most teams are already dealing with tool overload—the average employee shuffles between 10 apps per day. Not only is that context-switching tiring, it can also be hard to find information when you need it, further down the road.
Flowtrace analytics integrates with the tools you already like Slack, Google, Jira, GitHub, Salesforce and Hubspot to name a few.
Create your account today and benefit from more efficient team collaboration.