Productivity in a Team Environment

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I have been asked many times in my career as a HR professional, “How do we get more productivity from our staff?”  The key is to start from the beginning.  One of the most critical HR functions is recruiting.  Not JUST recruiting, but recruiting candidates that are the most qualified AND who fit the culture of an organization. There is no simple formula or checklist that can determine a good hire, but time, training and inclusiveness in organizational goals from the start will help tremendously.

Productivity generally is the desired outcome when adding new team members to your existing staff.  However, adding the wrong candidate to the pool of employees can cause waves and disruption, resulting in lower employee morale and more HR related headaches.

A productive team communicates constructively, shares ideas, actively listens to each other, is flexible, and is respectful to one another. By seeking candidates who fit the cultural niche of your organization, not just the qualifications for the job, you are setting the productivity bar higher for the team they will be joining.  Ignoring personality assessments, gut feelings about a candidate and solely focusing on the resume “on paper” could potentially cause the devastation mentioned earlier. Yes, the candidate may be qualified on paper, but will he or she really work for and with your team?

When interviewing candidates, consider the following:

  • How will this candidate work with the current team we have in place?
  • How did he or she respond to “When you work with a team, describe the role that you are most likely to play on the team.”
  • Did the applicant actively listen to your comments and question and come prepared for the interview?
  • Did the candidate share openly and willingly share information during the interview, or was he or she hesitant, tentative or seem to be avoiding details?
  • Did the candidate describe your cultural environment when asked, “What is your ideal work environment?”

Many of the keys to productivity can be answered by responding to these questions. If the candidate was open, willing to share, had a good feel for a team environment, was prepared for the interview with knowledge of your company and was actively listening, you may be more confident that he or she will be a good fit to join your organization.

After the hiring process, focus on personal development, team motivation, and setting clear goals and expectations.  Provide constructive feedback regularly and keep communication wide open. Happy teams result in increased productivity. Hire right and you will reap the rewards!

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