Team Goals and Purposes
Every team has their purpose. Daily activities and tasks are the force that drive every team to eventually achieve success. However, it is common that daily activities will be sacrificed in hopes of completing a ‘bigger picture’. Another common factor that is brought into play is minor adjustments made for a variety of reasons. Convenience, time management and other elements that are all part of management decision making often break down the productivity and efficiency of the team their running. To have an efficient team as a manager just makes life easier. You can focus without being interrupted or disturbed by other ‘immediate’ needs.
Aces in their Places
Everyone has a place where they succeed; naturally or by obtained skill. Prioritize the skills of your team. Who is absolutely best at each necessary function of the team? Set these people to be in a position where they can strive. You need to be able to keep tabs on who is performing well in which aspects of their duties.
Play People To Their Strengths
It should always be a goal of a manager to have a thorough understanding of their staff. The in depth view of the operations from each contributing member. It is individuals propelling teams forward. Working people where they perform well doesn’t just produce the obvious benefits of better working results. Your team will have a higher morale and be less likely to run into frustrating ruts. Each person knowing that they are working to their strength will present that confidence. Imagine for a moment, your boss coming in to your office, and saying:
“Hey, you do a great job with handling the clients. I would really appreciate you taking more time with this.”
It doesn’t have to be an exchange. You don’t have to take away a responsibility to give one. You want your team to be more efficient, so you’ll have to expect more of your team. Assign more responsibility so long as it is achievable. Bear in mind that responsibility is wanted by employees. Recognizing, and establishing appreciation of an employees contributions is an intrinsic reward. While responsibility is one of the most sought after aspects of employees. Don’t shy away from dealing out new duties when they cater to that persons skill.
There Will Always Be a Weakest Link
You can have a an all-star team and still have that one person that maybe doesn’t do so well as the rest. Identify the person that is your weakest link. Then assert yourself into ensuring that they are constantly progressing. Managers are not the only ones on the look out for a team members weaknesses. Your other employees look out for themselves to see if they’re pulling more than their own weight. People are aware if they’re constantly having to do someone else’s work. These same team members will see the work that management and the other teammates are putting in to see this person progress.
Forced Rank Systems
This system gets a bad reputation because of managers that don’t know what they’re doing in terms of discretion and document handling.
A forced rank system required the manager or management team to establish a best-to-worst list of their team taking in to account the following: productivity/efficiency, work quality, speed of work, policy adherence, and accountability. This is what is expected of every employee, and should all be listed in the hiring terms of an employment agreement. What does need to be taken in to consideration is your state or nations laws concerning fair employment practices. Ensure that you take every step to make fair accommodations for any team member that may face challenges in their day to day work environment for any reason.
The Bad Rumors
So, nearly all of the bad rumors that go around about forced rank systems are from disgruntled employees. Like any system that evaluates employee performance someone will be unhappy and that is fine. Businesses don’t grow or thrive by keeping everyone happy. What is often heard in the negative side of the forced ranked system reputation is that it’s unfair and ruins employee morale. It’s not unfair. It would be unfair to treat your harder working employees as though they only do the bare minimum. It would also be unfair to treat your slackers as though they put in all of their effort. A forced rank system also doesn’t ruin employee morale. Managers that operate on favoritism ruin employee morale.
The Great Results
The greatest benefit is that knowing who your top performers are allows you to offer incentives. Extrinsic or intrinsic if you make a guideline that after any ranking the top five or ten percent of employees get a raise, bonus, promotion or even something as simple as a few vacation days; employees will see that hard work has benefits.
On the other side of performance, the last two to five percent receiving performance improvement plans, documentation of less than adequate performance or termination of employment. This range allows employees to have an understanding that sub par performance will not be tolerated.
Importance of Discretion
Managers not having an understanding for the high need of discretion in the case of employee performance documentation can lead to big trouble for any company. Every document recording the forced rank system should be prefaced with the structure that the ranking is determined by. Therefore protecting the company from being accused of ranking by any unethical format. The forced ranked system should not be available to staff. Make each performance evaluation private to each employee and all performance improvement documents should also remain private to each employee.
Your Biggest Efficiency Killers
Every team has its few known habits that keep everyone from being efficient. Talking, or taking really long breaks; knowing these are our weak points we can keep an extra eye out and correct things right away.
Direction Taking Concerns
Some really don’t take on to directions right away. Maybe even after repeated directions have been given they find someway to deviate. I find this is most often to distractions. Plenty of people are prone to distractions and short, time sensitive tasks keep these people on the straight and narrow.
This is a tough one, because where do you draw the line that it’s not okay for friendly social exchanges at work? How much is too much? What if one person has their work done, an the other doesn’t; is it still okay for the one who has their work finished to keep on socializing? At some point you have to make the judgment call and be consistent. Work comes first, your team can do any number of social activities outside of work.
Millennial and Mediating the Gap
The current generation working their way into the work place are millennials. Vibrant, excited for new concepts, ‘fun’ work environments and blending the various aspects of their lives are all depictions of a millennials ideals. Unlike Baby Boomers, millennials seek to blend their work, home, school, social lives into one. This creates issues at work where it can become very unclear where the boundaries are. Many millennials however also show great aptitude and a drive to succeed in their assigned tasks. Utilizing company policies and team guidelines to establish these boundaries is a great way to reinforce a system they already believe in.