An inner loop: In need for a hub for teamwork

The inner loop consists of people with whom you work every day. It doesn’t matter whether they share office space with you or work remotely from a different continent – what matters is working on a project together. The inner loop requires a hub for teamwork that includes chat, files, built-in Office 365 ​apps, and a complete voice and online meeting solution, complemented by purpose-built devices. According to i4cp, people from the inner loop are 5 times more likely to be high performing​ when a company effectively ​promotes teamwork.

The inner loop needs purpose-built devices for everywhere work happens and a secure location that brings together everything a team needs in order to be more productive – chats, calls, meetings, files and office tools like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Stream and SharePoint. A distributed team also needs an online meeting solution in the cloud and a voice solution: phone system, calling plans, third-party voice connections.

Recent workplace studies that have shown that encouraging management to focus on strategies that increase job satisfaction creates a more productive workforce and higher rates of business success.

Every organisation is different. What works with one team may not work as well with others. But there are a number of similar activities that work.

1. Ask employees about their personal motivations

Ask your team what they want. This can be as simple as team meetings where everyone openly discusses the issues they face in their roles, and looking for creative ways of easing them.

Using an employee survey system can highlight areas of concern, as well as employees who could do with additional mentoring.

2. Reduce micro-management

Nobody likes having a manager constantly peering over their shoulder. Reduced micro-management will make employees feel trusted. They will reward this trust.

By removing micro-management, a task goes from being something that they are expected to do to being something that is their responsibility.

3. Improve the work environment

Improving small things can have a huge impact on the satisfaction of your team. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending big on new equipment or office fit-outs. A new coffee machine or kitchen equipment or comfortable, ergonomic seating for employees makes a difference. Run a survey on what employees would like in their work areas.

4. Improve communication across all levels

Improving communication in the organisation, from leaders to workers and – importantly – workers to leaders, is credited with increasing job satisfaction in many organisations.

Staff should be allowed to be critical and to feel they can raise concerns in a non-threatening environment. If employees are afraid to speak out, they are unlikely to put much effort into the job and will probably want to leave as soon as possible.

5. Create an employee recognition program

An employee recognition program doesn’t mean sticking their name on a plaque in the reception area once a quarter. It could be as simple as managers making an effort to thank people individually.

6. Reduce time stress

Tight deadlines have been shown to be major sources of stress for many employees. Organisations can look for ways to ease this stress by scheduling projects and work further in advance, or freeing up time by having fewer meetings.

Encourage employees to keep a journal for a few weeks, and then ask them to highlight times they felt they didn’t need to spend energy on these tasks. Reducing these tasks through the use of better delegation can free up many employees for more relevant work.

Agile Transformation is more than a methodology. It is a powerful journey that can lift a 21st century organization to greatness. At Business Agility Consulting, we are here to help your team achieve maximum success in the Agile journey. Our team of global experts are available to you as consultants, trainers or coaches. We will guide you step by step through Adoption, Organizational Evolution, and Cultural Change, so that your organization’s true potential is expressed in higher returns and greater teamwork.

6 Ways To Help Eliminate Unscheduled Downtime

  1. Track Downtime Carefully: It will be hard to do anything to prevent downtime when you don’t even know when or how downtime is happening. So the first step toward reducing unexpected production stalls is carefully and accurately tracking what sort of downtime is occurring. Implement an automatic tracker that will detect downtime immediately and be able to alert you in real time to problems that have occurred. Then, figure out why each instance occurred. When you know that user errors are causing 70 percent of stalls, for example, you know what to prioritize in your efforts.
  2. Properly Train Employees: User error is one of the top causes for problems in the production line. Someone might apply too much force to a component of the line or use some materials incorrectly, and that ends up making a machine break down. To prevent this from happening, it’s imperative that companies properly train their employees to know how to use tools effectively. When you can rely on your team members to operate machines correctly, you can expect fewer operator-instigated slowdowns.
  3. Invite Employee Input: Your employees work on the frontlines of production, so it is to your benefit to get them on the same page with you in reducing production stalls. Explain the problem with downtime and how it affects profits, and invite input on ways to better service machines, boost productivity, etc. Involving your staff members in the decision process helps them feel more invested in your business and gives them an incentive to work toward the same goals.
  4. Implement a Regular Maintenance Schedule: In busy factories, it’s all too easy for regular maintenance to get neglected. The problem is that regular use takes a big toll on equipment, and so without proper maintenance, things are bound to shut down. To prevent this, practice regular, ongoing preventative maintenance strategies — everything from adding appropriate lubricants to clearing off dust accumulation is important for keeping machines from breaking down.
  5. Outsource Your Delivery/Shipment Service: Nobody has to tell you that when disruptions occur, you need to react to them as quickly as possible in order to minimize the amount of time lost. Every hour without necessary replacement parts is an hour of productivity lost. Rather than wait on traditional shipping options to bring what you need, enlist the help of a local delivery service that can get replacement parts to the production floor quickly. Ideally you’ll want a courier that has 24/7 availability, in order to minimize downtime as much as possible.
  6. Conduct Regular Evaluations and Set Specific Incentives: Most companies conduct regular performance reviews, but you can make yours more powerful by including a discussion of downtime. Set specific company goals — daily and quarterly — for reducing errors and improving productivity. Then, offer incentives to employees who reach those goals. Motivated employees are much more productive employees, so offering real rewards benefits everybody.
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