You can’t force productivity. You have to aid, inspire, nurture and support it – every day, all the time.

You have the best intentions when it comes to motivating your finance team or revamping your less productive processes, but inevitably something gets in the way. It may be an unexpected resignation, customer demand or other unplanned emergent situation, or just the normal tick-tocking away of your day, so it’s over before you know it.

How can you make your finance team more productive and keep this priority in the forefront?

Encourage Cooperation

Anything you can do to remind team members why their jobs are important and that they share common goals and values will bolster motivation and ultimately enhance productivity.

  • Encourage individuals to consider the things they have in common. Look for interests, both professional and personal, that are unique to the team but uncommon to outside groups.
  • Start things off right. Allocate five minutes at the beginning of the week to highlight a situation where the work of a team made a difference to a customer or the organization.

Reward and Recognize

Every employee needs to feel they have the ears of a management team that recognizes them and listens to what they say. Reach out to your team members and be perceived as one of them versus a larger-than-life distant figure. Encourage and recognize milestones reached and celebrate with appropriate rewards.

  • Rewarding work well done reinforces this behavior. By contrast, if an employee feels that their work is not appreciated, they may stop doing it. If they feel that others who put in less effort are given the same recognition, the incentive and motivation are dimmed.


Set clear communication expectations and be sure they’re part of your daily MO. This should cover everyday communication as well as status updates.

  • Clearly express individual, team and company goals. Provide regular updates so everyone feels a sense of ownership. Do this in large-group meetings and also one on one. The latter is more effective for introspective goal setting.
  •  Brainstorm using multiple methods. Some team members will need to talk things through, whereas others will simply take in information before responding. In problem-solving sessions, don’t pressure people to be creative or provide immediate answers. Whenever possible, continue to accept suggestions and ideas after the meeting.

Remove Barriers

Removing barriers to productivity is one of your most important functions as team manager.

  • Spend less time in meetings. Keep them concise and on time and stick to your agenda. Start and end them on time. As in all you do, lead by example. If you arrive late, you’re setting the wrong standard.
  • Provide needed resources. Your team needs the right machinery, devices and equipment to yield error-free results in the minimum possible time. Efficient electronic devices should replace paperwork whenever feasible. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, GPS, PDAs … Find out what works best for your team and make it happen. Of course, you have budgetary responsibilities. But not providing the proper tools just “because” is unacceptable.
  • Get out of the way. Once you’ve removed all the other obstacles, there may be one more: you. Manage your team but avoid micromanagement. Trust your employees and let them be decision makers. Self-sufficient teams are successful teams.

As you build your financial teams for optimum productivity and results, consider partnering with the recruitment and workforce development experts at Magellan Search & Staffing. Contact us today to learn more.