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Managing Staff

Team Building Without Time Wasting

As major organisations have to learn to deal with increasingly rapid change, teams are becoming more and more important.

Marshall Goldsmith

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Many of today’s leaders face a dilemma: As the need to build effective teams is increasing, the time available to build these teams is often decreasing.

A common challenge faced by today’s leaders is the necessity of building teams in an environment of rapid change with limited resources.

The process of re-engineering and streamlining, when coupled with increased demand for services, has led to a situation in which most leaders have more work to do and fewer staff members to help them do it.

Increasing leadership effectiveness

Research involving thousands of participants has shown how focused feedback and follow-up can increase leadership effectiveness – as judged by direct reports and co-workers.

A parallel approach to team-building has been shown to help leaders build teamwork without wasting time. While the approach described sounds simple, it will not be easy.

It will require that each team member has the courage to regularly ask for – and learn from – ongoing suggestions from fellow team members.

To successfully implement the following team-building process, the leader (or external consultant) will need to assume the role of coach or facilitator and fight the urge to be the ‘boss’ or ‘instructor’.

Greater improvement in teamwork tends to occur when team members develop their own behavioural change strategies rather than just executing a change strategy that has been imposed upon them by the ‘boss’.

Read Next: Why You Should Be Using the Coach Approach

Steps in the process

1. Begin by asking all members of the team to confidentially record their individual answers to two questions:

  1. ‘On a 1 to 10 scale (with 10 being ideal), how well are we doing in terms of working together as a team?’ and
  2. ‘On a 1 to 10 scale, how well do we need to be doing in terms of working together as a team?’

Before beginning a team-building process, it’s important to determine whether the team feels that team-building is both important and needed.

Some people may report to the same manager, but legitimately have little reason to work interactively as a team. Other groups may believe that teamwork is important, but feel that the team is already functioning smoothly and that a team-building activity would be a waste of time.

2. Have a team member calculate the results.

Discuss the results with the team. If the team members believe that the gap between current effectiveness and needed effectiveness indicates the need for team-building, proceed to the next step in the process.

The research reveals that in the vast majority of cases, team members believe that improved teamwork is both important and needed. Interviews involving members from several hundred teams (in multinational corporations) show that the ‘average’ team member believes that his or her team is functioning at a 5,8 level of effectiveness but needs to be at an 8,7 level.

3. Ask the team members,

‘If every team member could change two key behaviours that would help us close the gap between where we are and where we want to be, which two behaviours should we all try to change?’ Have each team member record his or her selected behaviours on flip charts.

4. Help team members:

Help team members prioritise all the behaviours on the charts (many will be the same or similar) and (using consensus) determine the most important behaviour to change (for all team members).

5. Have each team member hold a one-on-one dialogue with all other team members.

During the dialogues each member will request that his or her colleague suggest two areas for personal behavioural change (other than the one already agreed on above) that will help the team close the gap between where we are and where we want to be.

These dialogues occur simultaneously and take about five minutes each. For example, if there are seven team members, each team member will participate in six brief one-on-one dialogues.

6. Review time:

Let each team member review his or her list of suggested behavioural changes and choose the one that seems to be the most important. Have all team members then announce their one key behaviour for personal change to the team.

7. Brief:

Encourage all team members to ask for brief (five-minute), monthly three question ‘suggestions for the future’ from all other team members to help increase their effectiveness in demonstrating

  1. The one key behaviour common to all team members,
  2. The one key personal behaviour generated from team member input, and
  3. Overall effective behaviour as a team member.

8. Conduct a mini-survey, follow-up process in approximately six months.

From the mini-survey each team member will receive confidential feedback from all other team members on his or her perceived change in effectiveness.

This survey will include the one common behavioural item, the one personal behavioural item, and the overall team member item. A final question can gauge the level of follow-up – so that team members can see the connection between their level of follow-up and their increased effectiveness.

This four question survey can either be electronically distributed or ‘put on a postcard’ and might look like the sample below.

9. Results for the individual:

Calculate the results for each individual (on all items) and calculate the summary results for all team members (on the common team items). Each team member can then receive a confidential summary report indicating the degree to which colleagues see his or her increased effectiveness in demonstrating the desired behaviours.

Each member can also receive a summary report on the team’s progress on the items selected for all team members.

‘Before and after’ studies have clearly shown that if team members have regularly followed up with their colleagues they will almost invariably be seen as increasing their effectiveness in their selected individual ‘areas for improvement’.

The group summary will also tend to show that (overall) team members will have increased in effectiveness on the common team items and overall team member behaviour.

The mini-survey summary report will give team members a chance to receive positive reinforcement for improvement (and to learn what has not improved) after a reasonably short period of time. The mini-survey will also help to validate the importance of ‘sticking with it’ and ‘following up’.

10. Team meeting:

In a team meeting have each team member discuss key learnings from their mini-survey results, and ask for further suggestions in a brief one-on-one dialogue with each other team member.

11. Review the summary results with the team.

Facilitate a discussion on how the team (as a whole) is doing in terms of increasing its effectiveness in the key behaviour that was selected for all team members.

Provide the team with positive recognition for increased effectiveness in teamwork. Encourage team members to keep focused on demonstrating the behaviours that they are trying to improve.

12. Progress reports:

Have every team member continue to conduct brief, monthly, ‘progress report’ sessions with all other team members. Re-administer the mini-survey eight months after the beginning of the process and again after one year.

13. Conduct a summary session with the team one year after the process has started.

Review the results of the final mini-survey, and ask the team members to rate the team’s effectiveness on where we are versus where we need to be in terms of working together as a team.

Compare these ratings with the original ratings that were calculated one year earlier. (If team members followed the process in a reasonably disciplined fashion, the team will almost always see a dramatic improvement in teamwork.)

Give the team positive recognition for improvement in teamwork, and have each team member (in a brief one-on-one dialogue) recognise each of his or her colleagues for improvements in behaviour that have occurred over the past twelve months.

14. Going forward:

Ask the team members if they believe that more work on team-building will be needed in the upcoming year. If the team believes that more work would be beneficial, continue the process. If the team believes that more work is not needed, declare victory and work on something else!

Read Next: Motivate Employees in Five-Minutes or Less

Marshall Goldsmith is an executive educator, coach and million-selling author of numerous books, including the New York times bestsellers, MOJO and What Got You Here Won't Get You There.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Rebecca

    Dec 2, 2015 at 02:47

    As you’ve directly lifted this content from Marshall Goldsmith, you should probably at least mention him as the source. I know he’s very generous about sharing his stuff, but at least a nod to the guru would be nice!

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Managing Staff

Want People To Love Working For You? Here’s How To Get Them There

If you don’t want to go to work, why should they?

Chris Ogden

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If you don’t have a culture in your startup, it will decay. If you don’t know your core values and how your business should reflect them, then your employees won’t know how to reflect them either.

And if nobody knows who you are, what you represent or what culture you promote, then their passion for the business and its future won’t exist. Nor will yours. In short, if you don’t build a culture, then it will slowly collapse inward on itself until nothing is left but a stale idea.

So, how do you create a culture that has you leaping out of bed at 5am? What do you do to inspire yourself so that you inspire others?

1. You sit down and prepare your values

What do you stand for? What do you believe in? How do you want other people to perceive the work you do and your ethics?

Related: You Can Motivate Your Employees Without Creating A Hyper-Competitive Culture

Are you a cutthroat, step over the bodies of your foes kind of business, or are you a people-focused, solutions-driven kind of company? Build up a core of words that define you and then use these to create an acronym that sustains you.

Be sure to investigate the meaning of any acronym you create before you set it in stone.

The last thing you want is an acronym that has some dark and twisted counterpart on the web…

2. Communicate your values

Seriously, this is key. So often people sit down and craft these lovely values and build these awesome acronyms and then just send them over email. Or include them once in an onboarding.

It’s all very good to put your strategic thinking down on paper, but relaying the message is vital.

Get it on your social media, put it on your intranet, stick them in the coffee area, repeat elements of them at meetings. Get these values out and about as often as possible.

3. Get engaged

Well, office romances are normal so that’s cool, but this is more about engaging people in your culture. Get buy-in from your staff in a genuine and open way.

They have to believe in what you’ve created otherwise you’ll be skipping down the company pathway alone.

Consider adding in motivations, recognising people for their contributions to specific values and rewarding them for their engagement.

4. Walk the talk

Don’t mess about. Don’t pretend the values are important to you and then do the opposite. If you don’t live your own values, nobody else will either.

In fact, saying one thing while doing another is a sure-fire way of creating a toxic working environment that will see high staff turnover and plenty of customer dissatisfaction.

5. Patience is not a cheese

Don’t expect everyone to leap onto the values train from the first day. This isn’t how it works, especially if you’re already established and have only just got around to creating them. People who joined before you implemented a new culture or value system may not be a good fit or may need more time to adjust.

Related: Your Employees Are Your Greatest Asset – Manage Them Well

It isn’t a race to the culture finish line, it’s a process. Learn as you go, trust in one another, take things forward carefully and be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them.

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Company Posts

Finding Success With Workforce Staffing In The Minimum Wage Reality

Has your company joined the panicked masses?

Workforce Staffing

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From the 1st of May 2018, the minimum wage officially becomes a South African business reality. Many companies have implemented rushed contingency plans, readying themselves for minimum wage related redundancies, layoffs, cutbacks and other vastly destabilising business changes that could more likely injure business, rather than save it.

Before you start making these same, rash decisions, ask yourself these 4 questions:

  1. Are you worried about not covering wage costs?
  2. Do you know exactly what the minimum wage payments are?
  3. Are you aware of the minimum wage exemptions?
  4. Have you spoken to an expert about practical solutions?

These questions, and many more, should be asked in depth before any rash decisions are made. As this is the first time in South Africa’s history that such an act has come to pass, there is equal doubt as well as joy at its arrival.

The positives and negatives of the National Minimum Wage

“A national minimum wage will increase unemployment and further remove constitutional rights from SA’s ‘forgotten people’,” stated journalist Eustace Davie.

“The introduction of a national minimum wage was made possible by the determination of all social partners to reduce wage inequality while maintaining economic growth and employment creation.” said President Ramaphosa.

No matter what camp you fall into, the National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA) is a reality everyone will shortly experience, with few solutions publicly available.

How Workforce can keep you compliant

Workforce Staffing is a legal and compliant supplier of temporary employment services and as is expected from a high quality labour solutions supplier, we will adjust any payment rate below R20 an hour, to keep our clients compliant with legislation.

Related: How To Know If You’re Mismanaging Your Staff

When you turn to Workforce Staffing for solutions, you turn to a compliant and legal industry professional. Having analysed the situation from all possible business angles, we know that we have the means to support you in your NMWA transition, assisting with your standard compliance and exemption cases.

The NMWA’s rates:

  • R20 and hour
  • R18 an hour for farm workers
  • R15 an hour for domestic workers

Criteria for the (currently set at) R18 an hour exemption:

  • The employer must be unable to afford the R20 minimum wage
  • The employer must have consulted with the relevant unions and employees
  • The employer must submit financial statements (and make same available to the employees or relevant union)

The Workforce Staffing solution:

  • Contact us to receive consultation on your business’ unique situation
  • We will provide effective and tailor-made solutions to mitigate the adverse effects of the NMWA on your business growth
  • Our staff management solutions will help reduce overtime, assist in production management, and provide alternative employment structure models

Workforce Staffing provides the expert help you need in ensuring your business is prepared for the guaranteed arrival of the NMWA. With our planning and professionalism, there’s no need to fear the future.

Related: Will A Strike Cripple Your Business?

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Company Posts

How To Know If You’re Mismanaging Your Staff

Wouldn’t you like to free up some of that time to increase your company’s productivity and profitability while providing solutions to admin issues and organisational hazards? Workforce can show you how.

Workforce Staffing

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The average manager can spend up to two full days a week on administrative tasks. You aren’t a machine and neither are your managers or HR team. However, to gain the most from your temp staff, a machine is exactly what you need. A smart one.

WorkTRACZone is the definitive product that’s been especially developed to offer you ultimate control through technology.

WorkTRACZone ensures that you surpass the 80% of businesses that are floundering in misadministration, and guarantees that your temp staff are utilised to the maximum.

Keep clear of the danger zone

Research by UK-based company, Service Now, found that eight out of ten companies still use inefficient manual tracking to drive productive work processes, putting their company’s temping situation in the danger zone. Are you one of them? Ask yourself these five questions:

  1. Are you aware of all the skills available to you through your temp workers?
  2. Can you remotely access your temp staff’s work rosters anytime, anywhere?
  3. Do you know exactly how much overtime is being generated in your business?
  4. Are your temp staff’s absenteeism records completely up to date?
  5. Do you have convenient access to all your temp staff’s work histories?

Related: Finding Your Staffing Partner

If you answered no to any one of these questions, then your temporary staff are gravely underperforming.

Manage your temp staff better today

As specialists in the temporary employment field, the designers behind WorkTRACZone are well aware of what businesses need to make the most of their workforce.

If you would like to protect your company from all the possible failings hiding behind mismanagement, visit www.workforcestaffing.co.za, or call 087 135 8888 to take the first step in distinguishing your business.

Solutions to your biggest temp staffing issues

1. When I don’t have information available now, my business fails later

WorkTRACZone is a digital portal that is available to view from any smart device at any time. It provides complete transparency on all of your temporary staff, from work rosters to up-to-date labour costings. Have access to your outsourced staff’s information, collected onto the WorkTRACZone digital dashboard, and integrate time and attendance with payroll and invoicing systems.

2. How can I be sure staff aren’t taking advantage of overtime?

Mismanaged overtime is one of your biggest risks to profitability. WorkTRACZone records all overtime recorded by temporary staff, allowing you to spot dangerous patterns or misused hours before it becomes a drain on profits.

3. I’m not totally aware of what my temp staff can offer me

From clock number to ID, WorkTRACZone makes searching easy with editable fields and succinct categories. Workers’ skills are available to you at a moment’s notice with this digital portal.

4. I hardly monitor staff backgrounds, equipment issues, and other details

Having this information on hand is the first step to ensuring complete control over your outsourced staff. If you skip this step, all other processes often fall to disorder. WorkTRACZone provides the best solution to ensuring all this information is captured and easy to access.

5. With worker turnover, predicting salaries has become near impossible

All your temporary staff’s past and current work rates are viewed on demand via the WorkTRACZone digital dashboard. This provides accurate salary projections, allowing you to plan ahead and foresee any potential complications.

Related: 11 SA Entrepreneurs on What They’ve Learnt About Managing Staff

 

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