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How You Can Create a High Performing Team

Posted on 26th September 2018 by Parker Bridge

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As the competitiveness of New Zealand’s markets continues to climb, fostering high performance throughout employees is becoming increasingly crucial to business longevity, growth and success. Creating such as a team can greatly improve productivity, quality, and speed of work and, ultimately, profitability. However, as a leader, developing a high performing team will largely fall on your shoulders and managing high-performers has never been more complex.

The good news is that fostering the right behaviour and values that breeds high performance is simpler than it sounds. To get the ball rolling, we have created this guide to help you understand the key drivers behind high performance so that you can go on to create a high performing team of your own. 

Engage Your Team

As a manager, you need to understand that your power comes from your people and before you can get the most from them, you need to ensure they are both engaged and happy. Research, from The International Journal of Human Resource Management, shows that increased employee satisfaction can result in a stronger commitment to the company, reduced absences, and improved performance. The flow-on effect of improving satisfaction was that organisations saw improved business outcomes and increased profitability. 

Here in New Zealand, we are fortunate to live in an extremely diverse country and this is often reflected in our workplaces. Businesses today are made up of different demographics of people and although this is great for variety, it naturally means that an effective work environment needs to be tailored to each individual. Understanding your employees’ needs is a great way to highlight their importance to the company and you should start by getting to know your staff and their strengths and weaknesses. For example, identify those in your team who work better in a group environment versus those who work better independently and adhere to the strengths of each person as much as possible. 

Incentivize & Award the Right Behaviours  

Positivity breeds productivity. A study, published by The University of Auckland, shows that employees enjoy being recognized for their achievements and simple measures to evoke this, such as a quick mention and praise during morning huddles or a staff email to congratulate a job well done, will go a long way in maintaining high engagement and performance. 

Although praise, rewards, and recognition are powerful ways to engage workers, so are incentives. Bonuses are fantastic responses for when your staff reach or exceed performance targets and encourages employees to achieve more. They also help to distinguish between high and low performers, which means you can be aware of who needs more support to raise their standards.

That said, you shouldn’t stop at rewarding great results or performance. Instead, consider the fundamental values that underpin your organisation and highlight and celebrate instances where your team is living these values to their fullest. Not only will this increase engagement amongst your team but will also help to keep them accountable for times where they go against these values.

We also recommend rewarding group successes in addition to individual achievements. Overall, team morale is crucial to fostering high-performance so treating your staff when they have performed well as a team will encourage positivity and further cooperation. For example, have a team target that, if achieved collectively, results in something nice for everyone, such as a team lunch or a couple of movie tickets. Reward the right behavior and more of it will flourish. 

Invest in Growth

It’s important to remember that, since your employees are your greatest assets, you will need to invest in their growth and development. For instance, many professionals struggle with public speaking and inviting your team to undertake a Toastmasters course can help strengthen their presentation, interviewing and even formal communication skills.

If you work in a large business with an internal HR and training function, then ensure your team is aware of the services they can provide and how they can help them to grow. If you’re a smaller business, then be sure to check out the advice from the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment for some other ideas.

Communicate Clearly

The final tip for achieving high performance is communication. A lack of understanding is a major issue for many employees and this often results in frustration, low productivity levels, and stress. Effective communication should start with clear and precise expectations between you and your employees. However, focusing solely on expectations will hinder your ability to foster high-performance. You will also need to ensure your staff are kept up to date on business developments, new software programs, and company policies. This makes people feel important when they are kept in the loop. 

It is also important to create an open communication pathway that encourages employees to submit their thoughts on their current work environment, and ideas on business improvements and implementing change. This allows the employee to view their role as more than just the job they do but also as a part of the business, which in turn, increases loyalty. Surveys are a great communication tool to achieve this open communication and method to measure employee satisfaction and areas you could be improving in.


We understand that, at a glance, implementing the above might appear as a mammoth task but when the vast majority of New Zealand businesses are made up of small-to-medium-sized companies, it is not only achievable but the commercial incentives for your organisation are well worth the effort. 

One thing we haven’t touched on yet is that having the right people in the right roles is fundamental to creating a high-performing team. If you need help achieving that, speak to one of our expert Recruiters to find out how we can connect you with exceptional talent across Auckland and Wellington.