7 Ways to Increase Productivity of Team in a Start-Up Company

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Written by BusinessAlligators Support

Support Staff at BusinessAlligators is a team of business experts led by Shilpi Singh Trusted by over 100K readers worldwide.

April 23, 2017

Team Productivity is one of the key factors for the success rate of a company. Startups are not just about a fun working space but it comes with its own share of responsibilities. What adds to the difficulties is that working in a startup means that there is going to be very little time and limited resources to accomplish most of the tasks. Managing a startup involves delivering results every day to sustain in a tough and competitive landscape and that can only be possible when you have a very high productive team.

As per the report of Europa and Conference Board, slogging yourself and your team members for long hours might not be the right solution to increase the productivity of the team. Consider Luxembourg where 1643 average annual hours yield £45.71 hourly productivity. U.K., on the other hand, with 1677 average annual hours yield mere £18.64 hourly productivity, which is even lesser than half of the former. Surprisingly, Luxembourg ranks 16th worldwide for well-being and life expectancy while U.K. ranks 34th, which reflects high disparity. This changing trend shows that longer working hours does not necessarily lead to higher productivity, as was thought of earlier. A report by YouGov also suggests ideal working hours for best productivity to be 7 hours or less with five days a week.

productive working hour day


It is important for you to take right measures to be able to extract the best outcome out of all team members. Not only is it crucial for businesses to hire the most efficient talent, it is also important to create an environment that encourages fresh ideas to flourish and increase team productivity. Here, we provide you with some steps that are critical for boosting workplace productivity of teams in a startup:

  1. Showing Trust amongst Team Members

It is important for team members to trust each other in accomplishing tasks in a cohesive environment. Also, there has to be a good level of trust of the employees with their managers that they would be guided in the right direction. This will save you from wasting your time on endless follow-ups. Hiring people on the basis of their skill set is easy, but building trust on your employees is a natural process that builds over time.

As per a report from Science Direct, there has been a positive link established between the employee trust and a company’s performance. Also factors like restricting paid overtime and re-organization at the employee level lower the trust of employees, thereby affecting the productivity of the company. In the words of Jack Welch, the famous American business executive,

If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings and put compensation as a carrier behind it, you almost don’t have to manage them.

After all, a good team works together with a good level of trust.

  1. Equal Treatment to all Employees

In an attempt to get things done in a time constrained situation, sometimes we pile up most of the work on the same set of employees leaving others feeling frustrated and under-utilized. Avoid that as much as possible. This will affect the productivity of the over-utilized employees as they will be overloaded with work and they will have limited time to handle all the tasks. A recent study at the University of East Anglia also indicates a direct link between fairness at work and an employee’s self-rated health, thus fairness at work is crucial for a psychosocial work environment. Additionally, in accordance with the Fair Work Act, the better is the balancing act between bosses and workers, the more is the productivity.

Here’s what you can do. Take out time to know the strengths and weaknesses of your team and assign tasks to them on the basis of their skill set. This will benefit the entire team and will also keep the productivity of the entire task intact. A leading research at the University of Warwick has highlighted that workplace with happy employees is 12% more productive. Companies like Google who have invested in employee satisfaction have seen a growth in productivity by 37%. Also, try to allow team members to take certain important task-related decisions that will not only strengthen ties amongst team members, but this will also make them feel inclusive to the work environment and perform more efficiently.

  1. Outline Vision and Goals

Ensure to instil a clear understanding of the company’s vision with your employees that keep the spark within them to accomplish a task alive. Encourage open communication amongst team members so that they can share ideas and voice their suggestions and opinions across all business aspects. According to a research by SHRM, lack of clearly defined goals at workplace relates to poor management, thereby hampering team productivity.

Set defined goals should be laid so they know in advance what they are working towards. Large technology companies like Google, Intel, and Twitter have started to adopt goal-setting approaches to provide real time feedback to employees. Goals provide a reference point against which employees can compare and analyze their performances and thus would be motivated at work. Set these goals within a defined timeframe so they can measure the output of their productivity both on individual and team level. This will keep them motivated and they would be more inclined towards working in a cohesive environment.

  1. Avoid Micromanaging

For some owners of a startup, it might feel normal to accomplish all tasks by yourself leaving minimal delegation to your team members. Micromanagement is a costly management style that can result in low employee morale, high staff turnover, and lower workplace productivity. Try to delegate work to employees as per their expertise and show that you believe in their work. This would increase the overall team productivity and also give a boost to their confidence. Avoid giving them a feeling of being watched or judged for their work, and if needed, give them constructive feedback. The famous American Industrialist, J. Paul Getty once said that

I’d rather have one percent of the efforts of 100 people than 100 percent of my own efforts.

Micromanagement can result in disengagement of employees at work. According to the book: The Elements of Great Managing, absenteeism caused by disengagement can cost a 10,000 employees company $600,000 a year in salary resulting in a loss of millions in companies. Whereas engaged teams increase productivity by 18%. The key to a productive workforce is a transition from a micromanager to a macro manager. This might seem to be difficult at first but if diligent steps are taken right from the beginning, this can be achievable too. You can start by delegating some part of the task at first, and then go ahead with doing it all the way. Briefing them about procedures to be adhered to, before any task, can ensure the qualitative outcome.

  1. Train your employees

At the time of recruitment, it is crucial for you to invest in training programs for your employees that can help them in matching their skills set with their job responsibilities. Training is important even for the most skillful employees as they might seek expertise in some other domain. As suggested by a popular research by Cole, a fully efficient training program boosts employee morale and results in lower employee turnover.

The ideal way to increase team productivity would be to hire employees that match closely with their skills set and then train them for miscellaneous items that can help in shaping a well-rounded team member. In the words of James Cash Penny,

Do not primarily train men to work. Train them to serve willingly and intelligently.

This signifies the need for effective training for the overall growth of employees and in turn of the organization. Investing time and resources in training shows that you care about the growth of your team. A report published by European Center for Research Training and Development UK suggests a strong positive relationship between training and development of employees and performance. Employees with the mindset that they have growth opportunities within the company are more likely to stay longer. Also, it helps in breaking the ice amongst team members as they attend training in groups.

  1. Engage in Team Bonding Activities

Invite your team members for fun activities or some brainstorming sessions periodically. If possible, plan a small outing with all employees, a practice followed by American Express as well Facebook Inc. arranges several extracurricular activities for its employees like printmaking, stamping, and woodworking. Doing so helps your team to work better together along with giving them a brief respite from their hectic schedule. Companies are emphasizing in an employee-centric culture at the workplace. Culture is typically designed in an ad hoc way around random perks like gourmet meals or karaoke Fridays.

Small activities like inviting a yoga trainer to the office at times or some motivational speaker can refresh them from their work and bring in positivity at the same time. You can consider setting aside some budget for team activities and help your team grow creatively and cognitively. CEO of MyCorporation, Deborah Sweeney quotes, “We bring in food regularly, we do fun events throughout the week (messages, contests, we have these days, etc.). We also set goals and when we achieve them, we do fun parties and giveaways.”

A 700 person survey conducted in Britain by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick suggested that a 10-minute comedy clip shown during work increased productivity by an average of 12%. After all, taking care of employees means taking care of your business.

  1. Celebrate and Reward

Celebrate the success of the company together with employees to make them feel that they belong. Celebrating together helps to reinforce the willingness of the team to work together while they realize that their efforts are well appreciated. CEO of Zignal Labs, Josh Ginsberg believes in a celebratory environment at the workplace to foster and motivate his employees. He includes Happy hours during lunch and team outings to reward employees for work well done. Sending small emails to mark an employee’s individual achievement can help a long way in boosting their morale.

reward effect productivity team

Relationship between Total Compensation and Employee Performance. Credit

Incorporating Intrinsic and Extrinsic Reward system promises the long-term increase in team productivity. Extrinsic rewards include pay, bonus, benefits, and promotions while Intrinsic awards include recognition, career advancement, and learning opportunity. Of all the factors, pay constitutes the biggest factor contributing to employees motivation with a mean value of 4.050.

Thus, these seven attributes exhibited by an owner of a startup can certainly maximize your chances of increasing the productivity of your team at least by 50% and foster a more congenial work environment. Once you decide to stay focused on inculcating these qualities, you will find yourself making the most of your limited time and resources.

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