Why Your Team Makeup Is Critical For Performance

I know it’s tough to find the right people with all that is going on at the moment. We have to be open to changing the way we look for these people if what we are getting is not right.

When we do find a good one, we have to lead them well, a topic I have covered in detail a number of times previously. There’s so much choice these days that staff can simply move on somewhere else if they are not getting what they want.

Some research I came across has really backed up the perils of having the wrong team members in your business and highlighted the benefits of the right team members, in the right role at the right time. The research that appeared in a Harvard Business Review article, was based on two years of data on more than 2,000 employees looking at things like productivity, effectiveness, and quality. It was based solely on who sat next to who in the workplace and the level of spill over from one worker to the next.

Their research uncovered that a team member’s neighbour had a significant impact on an employee’s performance which can be either negative or positive. There was as much as a 10% spill over of performance to their neighbours. Replacing an average worker with one who is twice as productive results in his or her neighbours increasing their performance by 10%.

The research also found that pairing people with opposite strengths also worked to a great advantage. The speed of work increased by 13% and there were 17% fewer unresolved tasks when a fast worker (productive with less quality) and a quality worker (produces superior work but slowly) were paired together.

The last finding is pretty obvious but a great reminder for all of us – separate toxic workers (or better still get rid of them). If toxic workers were paired together, it increased the probability that one of them would be terminated by 27%. Also, toxic workers won out, a non-toxic worker has more chance of becoming toxic if seated with a toxic worker.

Based on getting the seating right, there is a massive financial opportunity that the research team uncovered. They estimated a strategic seating plan could increase annual profits by $1 million from greater productivity for an organisation of 2,000 workers. That’s roughly $500 per worker, for no extra overhead, just a bit of planning. What could this mean for your business?
In summary, the lesson is getting the right team members working together will help to increase productivity. Not always easy but if you have the ability to determine who works with who here are some of the options:

Pair up a new team member with your best team member – they will learn the right way from the start
Think about pairing up people with opposite strengths – a fast worker with a quality worker, don’t put two fast workers together if the quality is not there.
Be careful who your less motivated team members work with as their influence is strong and will impact others.

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.