Google Project Aristotle: How to build more effective teams
Teams turns strategy into reality. In this article we focus on the inner workings of a team and what it takes to thrive as a business with healthy, happy and highly effective teams.
To have an efficient organization you have to support employee needs. We have broken these down into three categories:
To create an effective talent management strategy you first need to understand the current state of business. A good starting place is to send out an engagement survey asking your people to rate questions on a scale from 1-5 (strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, strongly agree). Be sure to provide a space for them to elaborate.
Processes should be in place to enable your people to perform at their best. These questions cover a range of process from day-to-day tasks right through to annual reviews.
1. Do you feel company processes help or hinder your work?
2. Do you feel there is enough transparency in company wide decision-making processes?
3. Do you feel salary and benefits are fairly distributed?
4. Do you feel our current performance management process is effective?
5. Do you feel you can develop your career at [company name]?
Management has a big role within any organization from setting the company objectives to being role models for all employees. It can be difficult to embody all of these traits at once so it is vital to understand where your strengths and blindspots are. Use these questions to help identify those blindspots.
6. Do you know what’s expected of you at work?
7. Does your manager help you set effective goals?
8. Does your manager provide you with the coaching and guidance you need?
9. Do you know how your work contributes to the company’s overall objectives?
10. Do you receive sufficient praise and recognition for your achievements?
Having all the right tools and processes in place can be helpful to a certain point, but if your people are not happy in their environment then your organization could be compromised. Ensuring your employees feel safe, valued and part of the culture will reap ongoing rewards for your organization. Use these questions to get some further insights.
11. Do you feel comfortable giving feedback to your team?
12. Do you feel your voice is heard and respected?
13. Do you feel you can suggest new ideas/question ways of doing things?
14. Do you feel we’re living our company values and mission?
15. Would you recommend [company name] as a great place to work?
While fixing company processes might be more straightforward, there are also ways you can influence management and your environment. Here are some possible solutions based on the categories discussed above.
If you find out that your people view your company’s processes as being overly bureaucratic, lacking transparency or simply not effective, this is a clear sign that it’s time to rethink old ways of doing things. There are two strategies you can use:
If you’re not already sending out regular engagement surveys this is an absolute must. Giving your people a voice will not only improve your processes, it will also signal that employee satisfaction is a high priority for your organization. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t send out engagement surveys if you’re not prepared to make changes. This will only undermine their effectiveness by making it seem like your organization is only doing this as a check-box exercise, rather than actively working towards it better engagement.
Check out this article with best practices to get maximum participation.
Once you find out what your biggest challenge is, what can you do to change things? Previously used by designers to improve user experience, design thinking is a tool which is more commonly being used by HR professionals to revamp old processes in a way that reflects your organization’s needs, culture and people.
The common saying goes that people leave bosses, not jobs. Help your managers become effective coaches by:
Studies show that upward and continuous feedback are key to developing effective leaders. Similar to engagement surveys, keeping open and honest communication flows between employees and managers will create a culture in which people can learn and improve. Everyone will have different coaching needs and preferences, the best way for managers to learn how to lead their team effectively is to simply ask.
Struggling with developing young and inexperienced managers? Check out our White Paper: How to Develop your Managers.
Once your managers start getting more feedback, are they getting the most out of it? Teach managers how to accept and action the upward feedback they receive. This step also includes learning how to give actionable feedback that sets clear expectations and motivates employees to improve.
Interested in helping your managers become more effective at giving and receiving feedback? Check out our eBook: The Manager’s Guide to Effective Feedback
Once managers learn how to use feedback to their advantage, it’s time for them to support their team on how to action feedback to create an effective development plan and set goals.
Ready to help them put it all into practice? Read this eBook on Using Feedback to Motivate, Engage and Develop your Team
When people don’t feel they can voice their opinions, feel supported by their team or have a strong connection with company mission and values, they won’t be engaged. Community and purpose can be even more important than pay and benefits. Consider these steps for creating a psychologically safe and engaging work environment:
People may want to share feedback with their colleagues but are reluctant to risk damaging their relationship with others. Similarly, when people receive feedback, they may still be struggling with keeping emotions in check. This can cause small irritations to blow up into larger problems. Providing extra training and guidance on how to express feedback in a constructive manner can have a large impact here.
Feedback shouldn’t only be shared between managers and employees. Everyone should be helping each other to improve on a regular basis. Including 360 degree feedback in your performance reviews will encourage people to get comfortable with sharing feedback with colleagues and facilitate knowledge sharing. This will create stronger teams which hold each other accountable.
Rather than waiting for the next performance review to come around, empower your people to ask for insights or share feedback with colleagues in real-time as it happens. This will encourage the feedback behavior more regularly which in turn supports your company culture. Waiting till the annual performance review to share feedback can often come as a shock or breed bad habits.
You want your company values to be lived by all your employees. By including company values as part of the performance review process people can get measured and get feedback against them, highlighting their importance. Values should not just be a poster on the wall, instead they should be weaved into the fabric of your organization. For example at Impraise we created the 6-pack of values which we all live by everyday.
We hope this has sparked a few ideas for you to get started today on your talent management strategy. If you would like more inspiration see how Bynder have used Impraise to drive their culture of openness and transparency.