Teamwork within workgroups
The third strongest factor affecting productivity was having good teamwork within workgroups. Workgroups with better teamwork were more productive.
Action: Have workgroups discuss what teamwork means to them in terms of behaviors. When are they doing it well? Identify instances where it could be better. Work hard to avoid blame. Rather than talking about individuals – talk about workflow and how people can coordinate and support each other to increase the team’s effectiveness. As you will see in other employee survey white papers, two factors that consistently affect teamwork are blame and authority. Employees who don’t have enough authority to do their jobs or who tend to blame each other are less likely to work well as a team. Focus your discussion on behaviors and processes.
Clear roles and responsibilities
Employee surveys have pinpointed the fourth strongest factor affecting employee productivity was people having a clear idea about what they were supposed to be doing. The more people knew their responsibilities, the higher the productivity.
Action: Have work teams periodically review what each person is expected to do. The more you work on “customized” or changing projects, the more people’s responsibilities should be defined in general terms. What you want is a description that is clear enough so everything gets done, and you don’t find duplication of work. You don’t want to be so restrictive that you create an “it’s not my job” mentality.
Desire to stay
It is hard to be concerned about productivity if all you want to do is leave the organization or transfer to a different department. Maintaining employees’ enthusiasm for their jobs and the organization is important. For information about managing desire to stay (retention or turnover), see other employee survey white papers.
Action: Many employees are cautious about indicating a desire to quit for fear of retaliation. If you think employees want to quit or transfer from a particular group (especially if the group has a history of turnover or transfers), then it is appropriate to try to identify the factors that may be encouraging people to want to leave. Interviews, focus groups, or anonymous written comments or feedback may help.
While we see similar underlying causes of productivity in a number of organizations, each organization is different. If you feel that productivity is low for a group, the five factors identified for this organization by our employee survey can give you ideas of what to look for. However, only an analysis of your organization would identify the factors that may be unique to your organization.