Team Productivity: Three Changes to Unlock Your Team’s Full Potential

July 30, 2019 | by Krittika Banerjee | Posted In General

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Maxime-Samuel Nie-Rouquette, Global Partnership Marketing Expert at Tempo Software

Organizations are always striving to better themselves: from growing revenue to new heights, to improving positive social impact, to creating new opportunities. One key common denominator to those goals is team productivity, but what makes one team more productive than another? In this blog post, we’ll explore some key elements that can positively impact a team’s productivity.

Why it matters: a look into the virtue of productivity

In order to optimize team productivity, it’s a good idea to take a step back to define and understand the importance of productivity from an organizational standpoint.

To seek productivity means doing more with the same, for example, having a team be able to tackle more projects. In other words, it’s about expanding the output in order to deliver greater top-line growth from the same input. A Harvard Business Review article states: “adopting a productivity mindset can be challenging, but the payoff is enormous. Our research suggests that the best companies are more than 40% more productive than the rest. And this difference in productivity results in significantly higher profits — operating margins 30%–50% higher than industry peers — and faster growth.”  

Teamwork makes the dreamwork

Aristotle said that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”; in this context that means that team members collaborating as a whole can achieve more through teamwork. Here are three ways to promote more productive teamwork: 

  • Foster psychological safety

In her research paper, Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmonson defines psychological safety as “individuals’ perceptions about the consequences of interpersonal risks in their work environment. It consists of taken-for-granted beliefs about how others will respond when one puts oneself on the line, such as by asking a question, seeking feedback, reporting a mistake, or proposing a new idea”. Having the possibility of taking interpersonal risks without fearing some sort of backlash will help promote an environment where team members are more transparent in their communication, but also will perform better. In fact, another study showed that the highest performing teams all were in environments with psychological safety as their members were not afraid or feeling underappreciated during interactions. 

  • Add diversity to the team

Many studies have shown that another great way to create a productive team is to have diverse membership. For example, a report released by Credit Suisse Research Institute showed that large-cap companies with at least one woman on the board outperformed their peer group with no women on the board by 26%! That being said, the benefits of diversity for a team do not stop there: another study found that “firms with a larger share of women in the knowledge creation and innovation process might increase [the firm’s] innovative behavior.” and that “gender diversity drives firm productivity (…) on the production process” In other words, a diverse team is more likely to be productive and flesh out new ideas for the company. 

This concept could be explained by a study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, which mentioned that while members of a homogeneous team would readily understand each other and collaborate smoothly, a more diverse group would perform much better because the differences would make members expect and engage with alternative viewpoints, thus resulting in higher performance.

  • Adopt the right digital tools

Arguably the easiest way to enhance productivity in teams is to adopt tools that will heighten communication and add extra layers of transparency in everyone’s work processes. In fact, a studyshowed that using groupware technology had made significant improvements in large U.S. corporations’ productivity as a result of “synergistically building upon each other’s work, aligning individual work around business plans, improving team communication, coordination and collaboration, and so on.” A tool like Tempo Planner is a great way for team leads to optimize the productivity of their team by managing the workload and coordination of their team members, thus providing similar results to the study mentioned above.

Keys to success

Promoting productivity in teams is a continuous and never-ending quest. However, this modern mindset, can be kickstarted with the three ideas shared here – fostering psychological safety, adding diversity to a team, and adopting the right digital tools. Companies should look to promote these three elements of a team’s environment to achieve their growth goals.