9 Ways to Help Keep Your Teams Happy and Productive

Check out these nine important workplace tools to help improve both your team’s happiness and productivity.

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Whether working with a team of five or 150 people, trying to keep your team happy and motivated can be challenging. However, this is an essential task with your team’s productivity and your company’s overall success hanging in the balance. You have likely heard about different tools or training programs focused on making this easier, but many of the “tools” needed to achieve this goal are already available.

Before running out to invest in anything new, check out these nine important workplace tools to help improve both your team’s happiness and productivity.

1. Effective Communication

Open and effective communication is one of the most important tools that any manager or business owner can offer their team. This communication includes clear direction and expectations with each new project assigned and an open channel for your employees to reach out with any questions or concerns. Make sure they are comfortable coming to you if they are unsure or need help with a project.

In an in-office or hybrid work setting, this means making it easy to speak with members of the management team. Being more available could include an open-door policy in your office or setting specific times each day where you will be available for any concerns they may have. In a remote setting, daily check-ins and using communication tools like Slack will make it easy for your team members to reach out when needed.

Effective communication extends beyond listening to your team’s concerns; you must also address them where possible. Companies that practise active employee listening and address the concerns of their team quickly show each team member they are heard and respected for their opinions.

2. Constructive and Actionable Feedback

An important element of effective communication is the daily feedback or employee review system you have in place. It may seem counter-productive to reference criticism when trying to craft a happy team, but constructive criticism is important in ensuring everyone is on the same page.

The important thing to remember when offering feedback is it needs to include clear ways your team members can work to improve upon any concerns you may have. Offer solutions and opportunities for growth.

3. Leverage Strengths and Interests

Pay attention to the strengths and weaknesses of your team and their key interests. Positioning your team so they can lean on their strengths is a great way to set them up for success. But you don’t have to feel restricted to only the areas where they excel most. Employees can benefit from ongoing learning and development.

Your employees' strengths are a great tool to leverage for creating a happy, productive team. However, they aren’t the only tools available to you when making decisions. Pay attention to the interests of each member of your team. Employees who enjoy their work or are passionate about what they are doing will often be happier and more committed to the task at hand. This happiness or contentment, at least, increases productivity and improves the quality of the work.

4. Allow for Employee Ownership

When assigning projects to your team, allow them to take ownership over their work. Allow them to make important decisions as they apply to their projects and avoid micromanaging their work.

At the same time, you should hold team members accountable for the work that they are doing. This accountability creates a feeling of responsibility that will help to keep them invested in their daily tasks. At the same time, it is a great way to build confidence in their abilities and trust between management and the rest of the team.

5. Develop a Mentorship Program

Starting to work at a new job can be intimidating. There are rules in place - both written and unwritten - which are the core of the company culture. In companies where there are no formal mentorship programs in place, you’re left to navigate that murky landscape on your own, and often stumble more than necessary along the way.

When your new employees are assigned a mentor as soon as they start working with you, a few things happen: turnover decreases and employee satisfaction goes up. Turnover decreases because your new team members feel like they have an advocate, and someone that’s showing them the ropes. Satisfaction goes up as mentors have the opportunity to pass along their knowledge to make another person’s path easier than theirs might have been.

A mentorship program systematises on-boarding for your new employees, and can also help your more experienced employees continue to learn from others in the organisation who may be one more rung up the ladder from where they are.

6. Offer Incentives

To motivate your team, consider introducing incentives directly related to their performance. There are different ways that you can do this. One of the easiest is to simply set goals based on the overall goals of the company and the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you want your team to reach.

Then, when team members hit their goal, they are rewarded for doing so. This reward could be monetary, a physical prize, or a form of recognition like a mention in the monthly meeting.

Another approach is to create a competition or game-like strategy to encourage your staff, known as sales gamification. Not only does this generate motivation by offering a potential prize, but it also allows you to spark a healthy competition. This competition helps to engage the whole team in a fun and positive way while also encouraging performance and productivity.

7. Effective Project Management

The organisation and management of the projects assigned to your team is an important but often overlooked tool for you to use.

Effective project management is appreciated by all levels of skilled employees, from those just starting in your industry to the specialists that are relied upon for the most difficult tasks. When a project is disorganized, and your team must search for the information they need, it creates frustration and discontent. Instead, put everything needed right at their fingertips.

For many companies, this starts with a reliable project management tool. This tool pulls everything together in one easy-to-navigate space. You can link to documents with additional information and productivity tools to help your team accomplish their tasks. This unified project management will reduce the number of questions that arise while working through a project, as the information is already available.

8. Positive Work Environment

Providing your team with a healthy work environment is a key to keeping spirits high. This environment includes an in-person environment in your office and creating a positive experience that extends to those working remotely.

You can accomplish this in many ways, both through proactive efforts and quickly addressing any concerns or negative situations that may arise.

The goal of creating any positive work environment has to start from the top down.

This process means all management team members need to be on board. Keep your messages to the team positively focused and set goals that draw attention to the future versus dwelling on past errors.

You can also investigate other ways to lift the mood, including office decorations, allowing music to be played at work where possible, presenting motivational talks as part of your regular meetings, or sprucing up the company break room to show your team they are appreciated.

Of course, to keep your work environment positive, you must also focus on eliminating any negative factors that could damage it. For example, avoid public disagreements or criticisms, quickly end gossip or rumors, and address any concerns as soon as possible.

Taking these steps is especially important when considering any concerns about the health of your employees. Prevent workplace burnout and the resentment it creates by creating reasonable deadlines, creating and maintaining clear work/home boundaries, helping where needed, and avoiding putting too much on any team member’s plate.

After all, it’s a team effort!

9. Strong Team Culture

Speaking of team efforts, the culture in any workplace can either help or hinder your company. Focus on creating a strong team culture where everyone works together, from top-level management to entry-level employees. Many of the tools already mentioned can help with this, including effective communication and sales gamification in the workplace.

You can take this a step further by incorporating team-building activities into your meetings and planning team-building events focused on building camaraderie like a staff outing or office party. These events don’t have to be work focused as much as focused on bringing people together.

Try thinking outside the box and incorporating the interests of your team. Options could range from highly team-focused activities like ropes courses and escape rooms to more laid-back experiences like a picnic for your team and their families.

The best way to increase happiness and productivity will differ slightly from team to team.

But these often-overlooked tools will provide the building blocks to a strong foundation. Not only will this benefit your team, but it will also positively impact your company’s bottom line.

This article was guest written by Katy Flatt.

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