One of the challenges in ministry is that there’s always more work to do – and it’s unlikely that you can hire a small army anytime soon. So, to assist you in dealing with that challenge, here are a few practical tips to help increase team productivity with the staff you already have in place:
#1: Move electronic files onto a shared space
Is your team constantly emailing files back and forth? Do they keep all electronic files on their hard drives? Both are a waste of time and somewhat risky. For example: What happens if a computer crashes and several files are lost? Yeah, that’s a bad day. Instead, create an internal network with shared folders for your staff to save important files. Other options include using online storage services such as Google Docs or Dropbox.
#2: Use church management software to maintain records in a single location
Software such as Church Community Builder, Fellowship One, and others enable you to store information about attendees in a central location. You can add notes regarding where each volunteer serves, set reminders to follow-up with visitors, etc.
#3: Avoid interrupting each other for impromptu meetings
I’ve seen staff members interrupt a meeting in progress to ask about an upcoming event or service. To be blunt, that’s rude and unprofessional. Unless the building is on fire (or another dire emergency), send the person you need to speak with an email. Stop reducing their productivity due to a lack of planning on your part.
#4: Start and stop meetings on time
Speaking of meetings, these things are notorious for wasting time. Implement these habits to make meetings actually useful:
- Send out an agenda beforehand
- Make sure you’ve invited the right people
- Start on time (even if not everyone is there)
- Keep the group on-topic
- End on time
Click here for more meeting productivity tips.
#5: Reiterate the vision constantly
It’s easy to be so focused on the day-to-day tasks that you forget why you’re in ministry in the first place. Remind your staff of the mission and vision for your church. Make sure each staff member knows exactly what the win looks like for his/her role. This keeps them from doing work that doesn’t advance the vision and therefore wasting time.
#6: Bust department silos
One department is frustrated with the accounting team because they rejected a purchase request. Another doesn’t understand why the facilities department won’t let them use a certain room without advanced notice. This leads to poor communication and strained relationships between staff members. Educate your team on what each department does and how each group is vital to the team achieving the vision.
#7: Don’t tolerate mediocrity
If you have a staff member who isn’t performing at the level required, you need to deal with that issue immediately. Find out if he understands your expectations. Set specific goals and put accountability into place. If he continues to be unable to handle the job, then it’s probably time to help him transition out. Yes, that’s a tough call. However, the rest of your staff has to pick up the slack for this person and everyone will be relieved when he either starts performing or leaves. The vision is too important to accept less than excellence (not perfection, but excellence). Also, the tithes of your congregation pay for this person’s salary. Would they appreciate paying for someone to not do their job?
#8: Prevent burnout
If your staff regularly works late hours or on their days off, you have a problem. Either they aren’t productive or they’re overloaded. They will burn out and their families will resent the church if you don’t take action. Set boundaries.
Discuss workload concerns with your team. Yes, there will be moments when you need to work late. However, those should be rare. Ask more volunteers to serve, reduce the number of events or programs you provide, or start hiring qualified staff members to help. Just because your team is willing to work constantly now doesn’t mean that’s healthy or sustainable for very long.
#9: Provide training & equipment
Give team members the opportunity to gain new knowledge and skills that will help them be more productive in their job. This might mean training new staff members on how to run reports to quickly get information from the church management software. It could involve paying for a webinar or training series (or membership such as The Church Operations Toolkit). Also, talk with your team about training and equipment needs. While you might not be able to buy their full wishlist, if you can start getting a few items that can go a long way towards increasing productivity (and improving morale).
A high-performing, productive team won’t happen by accident. Lead the way by providing your team with tools and information to help them increase their effectiveness. It requires a bit of an upfront investment to change old habits or implement new tools, but that investment will pay off. Your team will be able to serve more people without wearing themselves out. That’s a win I’d love to have happen for your team.