When it comes to managing a team, efficiency means everything; it’s the difference between a productive day and an expensive one, and it can greatly reduce or increase the number of headaches that you and your customers experience.
Unfortunately, a lot of the common advice about how to increase efficiency actually harms productivity and team morale.
The following will explore several things you can do to easily increase efficiency in your workplace. Special attention will be given to those who manage content marketing teams.
Figure Out Where You’re At
First things first, you’re going to want to gain an understanding of where your team is currently at, efficiency-wise.
This is going to involve gathering data surrounding your team’s hours, efforts, projects, results, costs, and gains.
You might even want to use software to track employees and see how much time is spent on specific tasks. This information will, at the very least, reveal to you some patterns.
You might realize that after the Tuesday meeting where everyone eats a ton of donuts, productivity slows.
You might notice that employees who are asked to switch tasks often produce less than those who specialize and focus on one thing for several hours.
It is important that you don’t use this information to criticize. This is for learning purposes only.
Staff are going to be much less open with the data if you’re looking for people to blame and you want to have information that is as accurate as possible.
If you can’t figure out why everyone experiences a slump at a certain time of day or day of the week, you’ll need to do a bit of investigating.
You can even conduct little interviews at that time, asking employees how they’re feeling, what they’re thinking about, and what was happening in an hour or so before the troublesome one.
The answers might surprise you.
Get Better At Holding Meetings
Here’s where the tips are going to go a little off the beaten path.
Most people assume that meetings improve efficiency as they involve everyone on your content marketing team getting together and discussing what’s going on so that they feel ready to employ whatever strategy is agreed upon.
More often than not, meetings are the biggest single waste of time in a work environment.
First and foremost, you’re going to want to cut down meeting sizes to the bare minimum.
Only those who need to be present at the meeting because they’re offering information or making suggestions should be present.
Everyone else can read the minutes, which can be emailed out within minutes.
Think of all the time that people could be spending working that they waste listening to other people discuss something that doesn’t relate to them.
Make it clear that anyone who shows up to a meeting and later discovers that they weren’t actually needed at the said meeting can leave.
In most cultural settings, leaving a meeting can be considered rude, so people need to be given permission for this. You can explain to them that it’s just as rude to waste people’s time.
You also want to eliminate regular meetings. Meetings should only occur when there’s something that needs to be discussed.
Cut Down On Communication Methods
This is another counterintuitive point. You might think that having lots of communication methods available to your staff results in more people being able to use the method of interaction that works best for them, resulting in better communication.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
If staff need to check a messenger app, their email, answer their phones, attend meetings, enter data into a group spreadsheet, and update everyone on a productivity app, there are a few problems.
First, this is time-consuming, and people should be using their time working.
Second, this greatly increases the chances that one platform is going to be missed by one employee and another by another one, and soon you have a wacky game of telephone where the message is getting altered as it’s forwarded through several applications.
Minimize the methods of communication to make it easy for your employees.
If they have to check three things, they’re much more likely to stay on top of their messages than if they have to check seven things.
This applies to both your in-house employees and those who work remotely.
Include Communication Skills In Training
You only need to spend a few minutes browsing YouTube comments before you realize that most people are not great at communication. In fact, the average person is terrible at it.
While working in content marketing implies that your employees are able to craft content that expresses ideas thoughtfully, it doesn’t necessarily imply that they’re great at the communication that goes on behind the scenes.
As part of your training, you should be giving staff some basic tips on communication.
Maybe you even want to create a flow chart that they can refer to when they’re deciding who to CC on a message or invite to a meeting.
Maybe you want to give staff specific phrases that they can use to help reduce the risk of miscommunication and, therefore, wasted time.
Consider teaching staff to rephrase what they’ve understood in emails or after meetings or phone calls.
A simple so what I understand is that you need this from me by next Monday and that from me the following Friday.
This will increase the chances that miscommunication will be caught early.
You can also encourage staff to formulate their needs clearly with each other.
In order to complete this post by Tuesday, I need the image to be completed by the previous Friday, and I need our copyeditor to read it by Monday at noon.
When people express their needs clearly, there’s a much greater chance that everyone will be given what they need to complete their work to the best of their ability within the timeframe needed.
You may also want to consider sending your team to a content marketing training program. This can help them to learn the latest trends and best practices in content marketing, and to develop the skills they need to create high-quality content that will engage and attract your target audience.
The above tips should help you improve efficiency within your content marketing team. It is critical that you constantly revisit these tips and look for areas of improvement.
Efficiency isn’t something that can be dealt with once and remains perfect for years to come; it is a constant effort from everyone involved. It’s also a good idea to ask your staff what they need to improve efficiency.
Their answers might be shockingly simple and easy to employ.
Maybe everyone wants to move the printer up to the third floor, so they don’t have to wander down the stairwell each time they print something off.