How To Turn Your Employee Workforce Into A Tight-Knit Community, Even If There Were Past Issues
By implementing objective-oriented frameworks within your operations!
Nothing spells success like an unstoppable team that knows what it’s after.
And you don’t need to look further than your employees and colleagues.
But dream teams don’t just take shape out of the blue.
No, it takes effort. It takes dedication. It takes trial and error, but if at the end you realise that you contributed to providing the right people with the right environment and the right objectives, they will surprise you.
However, there are many slippery slopes in which people tend to fall. There are many bad examples and cautionary tales in the real world, and we should be aware of them and learn from them so that we don’t make the same mistakes.
In this way, we can shift the way we work to a better one. And we will come closer to efficiency and productivity all while increasing work satisfaction for the people who have dedicated themselves to your company mission: your employees.
But how can we turn a bunch of people into a smooth operations team? Through common goals, separation of responsibility and accountability.
If everyone knows what they need accomplish, and they do it with laser-focused effort, there is no way they won’t succeed.
What is a soothing environment?
Instantprint ran a study (https://www.instantprint.co.uk/printspiration/be-inspired/toxic-workplace) looking into toxicity at the workplace.
The study came with horrendous results and concerning numbers.
They surveyed 1000 people across the UK and the main conclusion is that toxic behaviours exist within workplaces all over the UK.
Needless to say, this keeps people in unhealthy mindsets and people who are unhappy cannot be driven or motivated.
Toxicity should be eliminated and employees should work in pleasant and inspiring environments.
The main responsibilty for maintaining a good work environment should be owned by the managers. They should make sure that employees are facilitated with everything they need to achieve maximum productivity. And for this, they need to feel comfortable, safe and accepted for who they are.
There are a couple of ways that we can try to prevent employees clashing and being unsettled at their workplace:
Weekly / Monthly 1–2–1s
At a chosen weekday, each employee’s week should be assessed. Their targets, their productivity, and their objectives. The point is not to knit-pick shortcomings. The whole point is to find the best circumstances under which that specific employee performs best. And to provide those circumstances.
This is where empathy and relating come into play, and this is why managers are so vital to raising the outcome of each person working there and, consequently, the companies’ output.
This allocated time is supposed to be the time where employees open up and list the things that they don’t like and what they believe stops them from performing their tasks better.
Everybody wants to do a good job and be praised for it.
But for that they have to have the necessary means to do it.
Sometimes, it’s easier to share concerns if they are anonymous.
Make sure that your people have a way to express their concerns without having to be tied to their input.
Feedback is crucial.
And it’s better to dig through a lot of spammy feedback in order to gain actionable insight, rather than not have it at all.
People are eager to level up their skills and bring something new to the table.
Let them do that.
Bring training opportunities for them so that they can learn new things and improve as people. They may get bored of their repetitive tasks and want to add something more to their daily activities.
Or maybe they want to switch departments.
Just give them the opportunity to explore and they will find themselves what they can do better.
It’s a win-win situation.
Events are opportunities to socialise and get to know each other better.
People are great at doing this!
And nothing relaxes people more than knowing the person that sits next to them every day!
They don’t even need a push. They just need to be given some space and time to interact.
This is a game changer.
Some of them can become great friends.
Others will just get to know each other and understand that they don’t gel. But they will respect each other.
Employees cannot be a team unless they get to know each other. It’s a human requirement.
A culture of kindness
We are living in a very globalised and diverse society.
But there is one thing that everybody understands perfectly: kindness.
People are kind by default. They like to help and support their peers. They are naturally inclined to value community and be part of something larger.
And they also understand that it might be them who could be needing support one day.
It feels good to spread kindness and live in a safe and caring environment. But the only way that we can achieve that is by opening up about our lives, our expectations and our needs.
Communication is the first step and, naturally, the leaders of the organisation are the ones who need to set the tone and express what they require from their people and what the companies’ values and principles are.
The solution to prevent employee clashes: clearly define boundaries and responsibilities
Employees are usually dedicated to doing a good job. Especially if they are positively motivated and want to get ahead.
The problems and clashes arise when there are overlaps and conflicting ideas.
All people are prone to these types of clashes — management included.
The solution is to define separation of concerns as clear as possible.
The term work “ownership” has become popular in recent years and it refers to exactly that: owning up the outcome.
People are usually given tasks, but there are drawbacks to giving atomic tasks to people.
Firstly, they don’t make any decisions on the priority of the tasks. They would work better if they had some choice to make and some personal input.
Secondly, being the ones doing the hands-on work, they have a better perspective on what will have a greater impact and what issues can be considered low priority or even inefficient.
Employees should have their own domain of decision-making within their scope of work. They are people, not robots. What you want from them is to be involved and efficient, and also to raise the bar by themselves.
So the 2 key things are: scope of work (work ownership) and clear objectives.
We are going to explore 2 popular frameworks which are used in pretty much all industries. These frameworks help streamline work and keep track of important objectives.
It’s a way to keep the whole teams’ mind in the game and prevent confusion and lack of productivity.
The solution to bring people together: place reasonable objectives and put everybody on the same collaborative boat to achieve common goals.
We will delve into 2 frameworks that have become popular within the corporate world. These frameworks are meant to increase productivity and turn discombobulated teams into laser-focused objective go-getter machines.
This framework is based on setting objectives that are easy to tick off your list.
If applied correctly, you (and your team) will complete a big number of objectives easily. The point is to make them atomic and easy to handle.
The paradigm is simple. Each letter of S.M.A.R.T. stands for an attribute (criteria) of your objectives:
S — SPECIFIC
Make your goals crystal-clear. The narrower it is, the clearer it is what is expected. And by being specific, it will enable you and your team to be laser-focused on achieving that objective and materialising it.
M — MEASURABLE
Define what evidence will prove you’re making progress and reevaluate when necessary.
The way to track whether the objective has been hit or not has to be simplistic. And not interpretable.
Strictness and clarity will be key here on deciding if an objective is successful or missed. The most important thing is to move forward. And not lag behind trying to get your ducks in a row.
A — ACHIEVABLE
This one could have as well been “ATTAINABLE”.
You need to make sure you can reasonably accomplish your goal within a certain timeframe.
Setting unreasonable goals might be very invigorating the second you state them. But it will become very unmotivating when you realise you set yourself in a game you cannot win.
Don’t sabotage yourself with setting the bar too high!
The way to the top is through small and continuous wins.
R — RELEVANT
Your goals should align with your values and long-term objectives.
T — TIME-BOUND
Set a realistic, ambitious end-date for task prioritisation.
If you don’t set a deadline, then people will lag because they have enough time to do so.
Set a limit!
Make it like a game.
Otherwise, limits and deadlines from the outside will reinforce this for you — and those don’t usually leave headroom for mistakes and emergencies.
How to: OKRs
The second framework we will explore, is the OKR framework.
It was created by Andy Grove and It has been implemented in big companies such as Google, IBM, etc.
If it helped these giants bear better results, it can surely be applied to any other organisation as well.
You can read all about the OKR framework in John Doerr’s book “Measure What Matters”, where he goes in-depth into how to implement the framework.
So, let’s get into it:
First, you need to set an objective that is clearly defined. Don’t be vague about it!
The second step is setting up a maximum of 5 key results.
When all of these key results will be attained, the objective will be complete.
And, even further, to make achieving the key results as easy as straightforward as possible, write the necessary actions that need to be undertaken in order to achieve those results.
At the end of this process, your OKR-based tasks will look like a grocery list.
Checking off each element will bring you one step closer to achievement.
The advantage of using this framework is that it separates organising from executing, so you don’t have to go down a whirlwind of executing and then reorganising and then executing over and over again.
The framework is so simple (yet effective) that all you need is some pen and paper and a couple of minutes to decide what you want to get done in the not-so-distant future.
Here are 2 templates provided by John Doerr’s website
(www.whatmatters.com) to help get you started:
So, we all want to live within a community that supports us and helps us grow collectively.
There are few things more satisfying (and fun) than being in a team that functions smoothly with no confusion at all as to what the priorities are and whose responsibiliity it is.
Being clearly organised and following guidelines might not seem pleasant at first, but it actually reduces the need to reinvent the wheel everyday.
With some effort to implement these guidelines and frameworks, we can achieve a relaxed and functional workplace, where objectives are achieved and employees are happy.