Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, the images, charts, and tables were hosted on another site, which no longer exists, and over which we have no control. However, the link to download the spreadsheet (the click here link just before the PRODUCTIVITY IS RELATIVE heading) still works. The entire article, including images and tables, was available for STC members and once was publicly available in PDF format but is no longer available either.
by: Pam Swanwick and Juliet Wells Leckenby
Every manager struggles to balance writer workload and project capacity. A simple spreadsheet-based system can help you objectively evaluate assigned tasks, task time and complexity, special projects, and even writer experience levels to more accurately assess individual workload and capacity. The result is a simple but useful representational graph.
In addition to measuring current team capacity and productivity, this method also provides objective metrics to better estimate future project capacity and to support performance evaluations for individual writers.
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The difference between a new team member and a seasoned team member is easy to see. One has energy and one does not.
Why is this? For many teams, it’s not a matter of the job situation, but rather it’s a lack of motivation. This is no one’s fault necessarily. Motivation is something that waxes and wanes, though you want to find ways to keep it high if you want productivity and creativity to be consistent.
1. Answering the Why
Though it might seem as though people should do the work they do because they should, this isn’t as simple as it sounds. Your team members might have days when they feel what they do isn’t important or that it doesn’t make a difference. You need to show them that it does.
When you can show your team that the things they do add up to real-life impact, they will see that their continued energy and motivation is for a good cause.
2. Recognition for a Job Well Done
Rewards and other forms of recognition are also going to help your team see that you are noticing their hard work and that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed. It might be a good idea to offer rewards after particularly hard projects, as well as recognition in team email or meetings when it is deserved.
Pointing out that one person did a particularly good job often has the effect of causing others to try to meet that standard as well.
3. Work as a True Team
Though it might seem easier to just assign tasks to your team and allow them to go about their day self-motivating, it’s actually a better idea to encourage your team to work together. When the team is interacting, they can creatively problem solve as well as spend their time finding ways to work as efficiently as possible. The team will work harder because they know they’re not the only person that matters. They have a team depending on them too.
Productivity has almost become a buzzword these days, but it still should be a priority. With the proper motivation in your office, you can increase the speed of the work to be done and have a team that’s willing to do it, even when they don’t want to.
If you manage a team, what techniques do you find particularly helpful in motivating them? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment.
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