How to balance team development with operational duties: three steps to success

In today’s post-recession environment, companies are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with lingering growth expectations. As a result, most management teams focus more time on operations than finding and training employees. In fact, we’ve found that managers spend less than 15 percent of their time on team development, disrupting the balance between operations, sales and talent acquisition.

The challenge for many organizations is knowing where to invest their time and resources to help grow top line sales. Our research shows that in order to be successful, managers should spend about half their time on employee development, followed by selling and then operations.

So, since you only have so much time, how do you manage this balancing act? The key is to re-prioritize operational tasks to leave enough time to train your business’ future leaders. To get you started, we’ve outlined three steps to help you better incorporate team development into your regular schedule. Take a look:

  1. Invest in the best talent: Finding the time and resources to attract the brightest talent can be a huge undertaking. The costs associated with hiring recruiters and eventually training a new employee can often outweigh the benefit of expanding your team. But when investing in talent acquisition initiatives, remember to think quality over quantity. Take time to find the best fit for your team – candidates who are well matched for a position are far more likely to become productive employees.
  2. Educate your management team on the value of team development: The best way (and sometimes the most challenging way) to refocus your efforts is to go directly to the source. Educating your management team to help them realize the importance of team development is the first step in creating true, measurable change. Find ways to demonstrate how employee development directly connects to positive business outcomes and offer ways in which they can reorganize their current methods.
  3. Encourage managers to incorporate education into daily work schedules: It’s no secret that most people learn by example, but it’s surprising how few managers take time from their day to actually teach their team. Make sure your managers are not only providing their teams with hands-on job experiences, but also encourage them to let employees apply what they have learned. Hold your managers accountable for educating their team on a regular basis.

Interested in learning more on this topic? Hang tight. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing a follow-up post that shows how one company streamlined operations to help increase time spent on team development.

Thoughts and questions are always appreciated; feel free to give us a shout in the comments section.

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Jeff Peretin, Executive Vice President, Operational Excellence

Jeff Peretin, a thought leader and creative mind in workforce performance, partners with companies to drive operational excellence and improve customer experience through proven industrial engineering and lean methodologies. He can be reached at [email protected]

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