Here are six ways to build your existing workforce into agile, high-performing teams, prepared to meet the challenges of the future
by Tom Brown, Chairman at Gooroo
Last year, both NAB and ANZ announced high volume redundancies as part of their drive towards greater agility and adaptability to meet changing customer needs which is at the heart of their business strategy. Building high performance teams with that agility is core to that strategy. However, is redundancy in such large volume and then re-hiring of employees with new skills really the best way to reach that goal?
Here are six ways to build your existing workforce into agile, high-performing teams, prepared to meet the challenges of the future.
- Reskill and retrain
I would argue, while some employees within an organisation are working in roles which may no longer be required, those individuals’ skills, mindset and attitude could well make them a great asset to the company. Before embarking on any change project such as this, it’s important to get a clear view of your employees’ values and skillsets, using a tool such as Gooroo’s Mindspace and identify opportunities for reskilling them..
- Work towards a common goal
Research suggests that individuals can achieve an improvement in work performance by as much as 20-25% simply by goal setting.Ensure you have a clear mission and vision for your business and communicate these effectively within the whole team. Working towards a common objective both motivates and focuses them on the future.
With the business objective is in place, translate that into specific goals and tasks for each team and individual. For high-performance to occur, employees need to embrace their goals so where possible allow them to set their own tasks and have control over how and when to complete them. This will also increase the organisation’s agility. People need to be working towards something they feel is important, rewarding, or aligns with their personal values. Organisations are comprised of a large percentage of millennials, and, as outlined in Deloitte’s survey, they have high regard for their personal values in the workplace.
- Understand your employees
If you’re clear on what you are working towards as a business, the next step is to understand the skills required to deliver on those initiatives. Use technology such as Mindspace to assess whether your team has the necessary skills to deliver. If not, you can determine those within the organisation who may have the ability to reskill to meet the requirements.
When building a high-performance team, it’s also crucial to understand your employees at a deeper level than just the skills they have. You need to understand the culture required for the team to succeed (driven by business strategy and organisational culture) and assess the “fit” of members of the team. This is critical to build trust between team members quickly.
Where an employee doesn’t ‘fit’ from a culture perspective, remove the individual to a more appropriate role. Politics and personal agendas come into play where there is a culture imbalance and these can derail team performance. Create a mindset to get the team focused on what matters and enable everyone to rise above politics and agendas.
- Create autonomy
In a high-performing team, members are self-motivated and self-directed. It may be difficult to let go of the reins but in relinquishing control, you create space for employees to move and accept different ways of doing things, inspiring them to perform at higher levels. Give team members the authority to make decisions and the accountablity for the outcomes..
- Praise and reward
The good news is, financial reward isn’t the biggest incentive for the majority of employees. While incentives can illicit short-term changes in behaviour, to boost long-term performance, employees need to feel connected to their work and feel motivated by factors such as personal growth, recognition, responsibility, and challenging work. Engage employees in their development with regular feedback and recognition of a job well done. Reward them with increased responsibility and more autonomy. When failure occurs, do not blame – use the failure as a learning opportunity.
- Plan for the future
While you can do everything possible to build an engaged, motivated, productive, high-performing team, change will be inevitable and it is often outside of your control. You need to mitigate that risk by planning ahead. Ensure you have a succession plan by building and maintaining a talent pipeline to ensure your team can continue to grow if the unexpected happens.
Organisations will face periods of change as businesses adapt to the digital age and move towards a more agile model. However, retrenchments and large-scale change management projects don’t need to be the default route to get there. There are many ways your organisation can build an agile and high-performing team.