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The Ultimate Guide to Daily and Weekly Status Reports [Case Studies]

When we were beta testing ProsperForms, we learned that teams from different industries used ProsperForms for different purposes, ranging from team communication, communication with stakeholders and interdepartmental status updates, to building internal knowledge and eliminating data silos. However, our beta tester companies reported that simply implementing regular daily and weekly status reports helped to motivate their team members and drive performance.

We had to know more. That’s why we investigated how they used that type of updates, by going into their companies and interviewing their employees. Now we’re excited to share the results of our findings (plus bonus best practices) in this Ultimate Guide to Boosting Team Culture and Performance through Daily Logs and Weekly Reports.

Part 1

Daily and Weekly Activity Report Fundamentals


What Does a Daily Log Look Like?

Firstly, we found that daily reports can take a number of forms. They can be as simple as daily log or activity report listing all the tasks performed that day, or a more reflective update that gives more detail about individual decisions, challenges or accomplishments. Often, individual employees and managers experimented with a few different forms before settling on a type of daily update that matched their industry and work.

Example of a Daily Report

What Does a Weekly Report Look Like?

Similarly, weekly reports can either be a simple weekly log listing everything accomplished on each day of that week, or a broader exploration of challenges and key achievements.

Example of a Weekly Report

Whatever form a company’s daily or weekly report took, we noticed an interesting trend in the way our beta testers used their progress reports to strengthen their performance:

“We keep daily status updates private between a team member and a supervisor, and our weekly activity reports are team-wide and public.”

Why? Well, we discovered a few reasons behind this popular approach:

Private Daily Updates Public Team-Wide Weekly Updates
Allow team managers to correct and coach every team member in private.

Create a comfortable online space, similar to a one-on-one, where targeted and honest discussions can occur without bothering other team members.

Ensure equal treatment between team members, as each one has a private space for questions related to their work and performance.

Let team managers add the CEO or other members of the senior team to private daily discussions where necessary for talent development or performance management.

Give team leaders a better understanding of where each team member is at so they can distribute work appropriately.

Let team members openly reflect, discuss, and brainstorm ideas to improve team performance.

Inspire team members as they see their progress toward shared goals.

Give team members an avenue to thank each other and celebrate achievements.

Allow members from different departments or branches to communicate, ask questions, and coordinate their work.

Provide team managers and leaders with an easy way to touch base with their teams and see each team’s progress.

Create a good environment for team members to lead and show initiative.

Allow leaders to communicate company values and praise team members who demonstrate them.

So does that mean you should automatically go for private daily updates and public team-wide weekly reports?

Not necessarily.

It depends on your particular industry and your company’s unique workflows and priorities.

For example, we found that some of our beta tester companies made all their updates public and team-wide when they had crucial deadlines and needed tight coordination, or when it was simply easier to replace their morning roll-calls and scrums with public daily updates.

However, other leaders felt that keeping all their work reports private protected team members from being overwhelmed.

Whichever approach they took, every company found three surprising benefits to implementing daily and weekly updates:

Part 2

3 Powerful Benefits of Daily and Weekly Status Updates

  1. Managers Became Better Team Leaders

    If you are a manager or team leader, then you know that one of the biggest roadblocks to managing your team is a lack of visibility. It’s difficult to find the time and opportunity to discover who needs help. That’s why being able to review and comment on daily and weekly reports is a fantastic way to:

    Help you monitor the pulse of your team

    Mentor, coach, giving feedback and correct mistakes

    Ensure your team members feel heard and valued

    Better understand your individual employees and build trust

     

    This increased level of insight will both enable you to better manage your team and allocate work, and help you to identify and solve issues before they become larger problems.

For example, if your team fails to reach one of their weekly goals, their daily reports should help you identify why and how you can best support your team to recalibrate and reach the goal next time.

This is particularly the case if you encourage your team members to share the challenges they are facing in their private daily reports. After all, the issues may not be their fault; they may be simple procedural or operational challenges that need to be fixed. Either way, identifying and fixing them before they become more serious problems is crucial.

Tip: Try to identify your team’s challenges in their daily and weekly progress reports so that you can support them. You can even create a specific feed to address this in Status. Here’s an example:

 

  1. Employees Became More Efficient and Happier

    Just like simply keeping a daily log for meals actually helps subjects examine their eating habits and lose weight, the mere act of keeping and maintaining a daily report helps employees become more efficient and happier.

    Daily reports help team members reflect on and understand how they spend their time, which helps them to better plan ahead and schedule their days.

    This means they can analyze which regular activities are high priority, which are the most time-consuming, and which do not contribute to the team’s overall goals, so employees can spend more time working on meaningful tasks.

  2. Teams Became Powerfully Engaged

    Team leaders who got the most out of daily and weekly reports did three things:

    1) They created both short-term and long-term goals for team members so they had something to strive for.

    2) They educated team members on how the goals of a particular employee contributed to the team’s mission.

    3) They worked with employees to shift their focus and think about their tasks in the context of how they contributed to the common team goals.

These three simple steps created a powerful feedback loop:

  • On an individual level, they helped team members to not just log their tasks and obstacles, but to reflect on how their individual efforts contributed to their team’s goals. This encouraged stronger communication, a sense of greater accountability, and actual engagement and teamwork as each individual employee understood how they contributed to the team’s mission.
  • Meanwhile, at a team level, having everyone document their daily and weekly achievements helped everyone to see their regular progress toward the achievement of their team goals. This kept them motivated to keep pushing, and also recognize and appreciate each team member’s contributions. On top of this, it also created another space for everyone to brainstorm ideas on how to achieve their common goals and share their experience and learning.

Basically, we found that the process of creating daily and weekly reports became a textbook example of how to motivate and inspire performance:

  • Have clear and measureable goals that everyone understands,
  • Have regular feedback on how you’re meaningfully contributing
  • Collect and share common knowledge on overcoming obstacles
  • Showcase everyone’s contributions to the team goals
  • Reward team members with gratitude and special thanks to those who are caring and helpful

Declining employee engagement rates are often blamed on people finding their work meaningless. However, sharing daily and weekly reports can make each task meaningful in relation to the team’s common goal. That’s how the simple progress report can create a powerful and rewarding experience that dramatically increases workplace satisfaction, engagement, and results.

Tip: Encourage team members to share their challenges and how they overcame them in the public weekly updates. This will help collect group knowledge and improve everyone’s performance.

Tip: Encourage positive team feedback and solidarity.

Part 3

Bonus Section – Best Practices, Examples and Guidelines

Best Practices – How to use daily and weekly reports as a leader:

  • Regularly update your teams on the company’s short-term and long-term goals.
  • Set your teams and individual employees Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely (SMART) goals.
  • Standardize the format of activity reports across the whole team or company. This allows team managers to create clear templates and measure and compare insights across the team and over time.
  • Ask your team members to reflect on their goals during their daily and weekly updates and remind them how their everyday work is contributing to the team’s common goals.
  • Conduct one on one meetings or use a private comments section on Status to mentor your team members.
  • Apply the classic rule of feedback: keep constructive feedback private and recognition and praise public.
  • Regularly touch base with your team members to see if they understand and are engaged by their own work and the company’s goals.

You can do the last one face-to-face, or set up an additional recurring feed on Status.net like the one below.

It seems insane that implementing daily/weekly reports can have such a powerful impact on a company. But at the same time, it makes a lot of sense.

A recent report by Gallup researchers found that “companies with highly engaged work forces outperformed their peers by 147% earnings per share.” So, pop daily and weekly reports into your company’s toolbox, and let us know how it goes. We look forward to listening what you achieve.

Read More:

Successful companies also use regular reports to improve their interdepartmental communication, as well as to keep their stakeholders regularly updated and maintain strong client relationships.

Check our internal communication guide for best practices and how-to’s.

  The Roadmap to Effective External Communication and Stakeholder Relations