How I Saved Hundreds of Hours by Asking Four Questions a Week

By Guest Post

An insider’s perspective on using 15Five with Noel Ledesma of Retargeter

Inefficiency. It’s a notorious productivity-killer and can stunt the growth of any organization. Making the assumption that your team is functioning like a well-oiled machine is a dangerous thing to do.

As a manager, working efficiently to me means being able to quickly and easily get the pulse of my team, and make sure that there is nothing (or anyone) getting in the way of our mission.

But wasting precious time in team meetings that can go on for hours isn’t the solution either. In fact, the solution for my team was simple; staff spend 15 minutes each week reporting on the challenges and successes of the past few days, and I set aside five minutes a week reading well articulated feedback from each team member.

Meetings Kill Productivity

As we know it, unnecessary, lengthy or downright loose ended meetings are the number one productivity killer. A simple way to assess the importance of a meeting and to see who should actually attend, is to calculate the estimated hourly cost per person joining the meeting, times the length of the meeting, divided by the value received.

For example: five people at $200/hour for a one hour meeting = $1000/value. If the value is equal to or greater than the cost ($1000) then it’s safe to assume the meeting is necessary.

But how do you define value? Value is vague. It has different meanings for different people depending on the situation. Value to me is if I get my money’s worth times two (also consider the hour you were taken away from your normal tasks). If the outcome of the meeting is going to save me time and money in the long run, then great. I’ll take the meeting. If I guess it won’t, I’ll forgo or reschedule for a later date.

Face Time Is Increasingly Important

Although meetings can kill productivity, certain meetings like the ones I have regularly with my direct reports, are priceless. With a defined agenda, timeline, and feedback ready to go, I am able to quickly address any and all concerns individuals on my team may have on a weekly manner. This gives all team members the opportunity to manage topics they feel most passionately about every week.

Tools Keep You Focused

There are numerous productivity tools, HR platforms, feedback apps, and more, readily available today for businesses of all sizes. And they all serve their purpose, but many fall short in actually helping employee engagement, employee retention, and maintaining company culture.

Having used 15Five for even just one month, we quickly realized its benefits; we completely eliminated one team meeting every week, and saved hundreds of man hours and money, while maintaining productivity. The platform has also given our team more flexibility and made us more efficient.

More so, I am even more in tune with the bigger picture of my team, and their respective individual needs. 15Five has been a great impetus in driving open conversations about each team member’s needs and wants, in a private and secure environment. Subjects that he/she may not feel comfortable discussing in person, or in a team-wide forum, surface in these reports. The weekly reports provide a great look into how happy an individual is, and how their performance correlates to their overall happiness or discontent.

ONE Question That Can’t Go Unanswered

At first, it can be hard to determine which questions to ask. Since it is recommended to only ask around four questions on a weekly basis, how can you dig deeper into people’s emotions to find the solutions you are seeking – or didn’t know you were seeking? In the end it boils down employee engagement and retention, thus needing to tap into their psyche for a response. Consistently, we have asked this one question and have had incredibly fruitful results:

“What is the business doing, or can be doing, to make you more successful?”

Remember, a happy and engaged team means more committed and productive people, so if you can help your employees not only reach the company’s goals, but their own as well, you will produce more consistent results, create a happier workplace, grow your business, and retain your best talent.

What tools are you using for employee engagement? Have you tried 15Five? It’s more than just a reporting tool. It’s a happiness tool.

About Noel Ledesma
Noel is the Head of Account Management at ReTargeter, a premier retargeting platform located in San Francisco, CA.


Know the pulse of your team each week and improve employee engagement with 15Five.


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