Running a business without regular status updates is like shooting free throws in the dark and expecting to hit the basket. You might make a few lucky shots, but you’ll miss a whole lot of opportunities—all because you don’t really know where to focus.
You work way too hard to play guessing games about what’s working and what’s not.
So how can you make sure you have the information you need to make smart business decisions? Use weekly reports. The right reports, used the right way, help you see what’s really going on with your business and your team. They give you information—and power—to fine-tune important decisions. And they show you where you’re winning so you can repeat and scale those actions. All those wins together keep you on track to meet your goals and grow your business.
Related article: How to Improve Your Decision-Making Skills
But there’s one type of weekly report a lot of business owners don’t even think about, and it’s crucial to helping you build a stronger, healthier team: a team member weekly report. How does it work? Everyone in your business submits the same, specific status report so you know what they’re working on and how their morale is. Team member weekly reports help you and the people you lead build rapport, communicate better, and learn to trust one another.
Related article: How to Communicate Effectively
We’ll talk more about team member weekly reports in just a minute. But first, let’s cover some basics about weekly reports in general so you’re crystal clear on what they are and why they matter to your business.
Here's A Tip
The right reports, used the right way, help you see what’s really going on with your business and your team.
What Is a Weekly Report?
In general, a weekly report summarizes what’s happened in your business over the last workweek in the areas most important to your success. Leaders use them to stay informed about finances, sales, marketing, customer service, team morale and workload, and lots of other areas.
Many weekly reports are quantitative—they use facts and figures, like key performance indicators, to measure outcomes. For example, a weekly sales report might include how many online sales leads converted to new customers.
Related article: What Is a Key Performance Indicator?
Other weekly reports are qualitative—they track things like customer feedback or team member morale to give you a sense of what’s happening and how people feel about it. For example, a customer service report might capture what customers like and dislike about your digital product.
Usually, weekly reports are a page or less of high-level updates your team submits at the end of the week. That gives you the next workweek to review and follow up if necessary.
Why Are Weekly Reports Important?
Depending on which ones you use, weekly reports shine a light on the work your team is doing, their well-being as they do it, and the results of their efforts. They keep your team on track, set them up to succeed together, and help everyone dodge some messy situations. Here are a few more benefits of weekly reports:
- Better decision-making thanks to real-time updates on progress, challenges and wins
- Greater trust and alignment because everyone’s clear on who’s doing what and how it’s working
- Higher productivity because of regular reviews of metrics, goals and deadlines
- Quicker, more personal communication thanks to a platform for sharing insights, asking for help, and giving feedback
3 Weekly Report Best Practices
The more you tailor your reports to your business goals, the more benefits you’ll find in using them. Here’s the good news and bad news about that: There’s no end to the types of weekly reports you could use. It’s good news if you handpick reports that serve a specific purpose but bad news if you end up with so many reports to review you can’t get to them all. Or worse, you waste time on reports that don’t drive action.
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Let’s say you have a team member faithfully running a weekly report on the number of new customers who have cats, and it has all the cat details you could imagine—cat colors, cat ages, cat temperaments (in all their varieties), all things kitty. But if you’re not in the cat business—or you are, but the metrics your team member is gathering don’t help you reach the right people with the best help your company offers—you’re not tracking useful information.
So before you request any weekly report—cat-loving customer details included—make sure:
- You know why you need it.
- You coach your team to keep it short, direct and helpful.
- You use it to care for your team, customers and business.
5 Types of Weekly Reports
Now that we’re clear on how to get the most out of your reports, here are five of the most common weekly reports and why they’re important:
- Sales performance report: This report tracks sales activities and revenue generated. You can use it to look at trends, identify your top products and services, and develop sales strategies and inventory needs.
- Financial performance report: This one summarizes your company’s financial health—your revenue, expenses and profits. You can use financial reports to make sure you’re staying on budget and track revenue growth.
- Project status report: This report shows project progress, tasks completed and any roadblocks or challenges. A project status report helps stakeholders stay informed about a project’s momentum and keeps the team updated on timelines.
- Customer feedback report: This compiles client highlights about your product or service. This information gives you real-time insight regarding customer satisfaction, concerns and suggestions.
- Employee productivity report: This report highlights completed tasks, project contributions and bottlenecks. Used well, it shows your team’s strengths and where they need training and development. But often, employee productivity reports become useless checklists of stuff team members did in a week—busy work included—that aren’t tied to how the work matters to your goals. Even worse, a report like this often creates a culture of fear (Am I doing enough?), comparison (Do you value my work as much as theirs?) and unhealthy competition (How can I outdo others to get ahead?). Yuck. There’s a better way to check in with your team, and that’s what we’ll talk about next.
The Weekly Report You Can’t Live Without
So, if a weekly employee productivity report isn’t the best way to hear from your team members, what is? The team member weekly report. Like we mentioned earlier, a lot of businesses don’t even know they need a team member weekly report. Or they’ve tried a version of one, but it just didn’t seem to work.
So how should you think about team member weekly reports, and why do you need one? Glad you asked!
What It Is
A team member weekly report is a short report card each team member completes every week. In 10 minutes or less, each person should be able to answer these five questions:
- How was your morale this week?
- How was your stress this week?
- How was your workload this week?
- What was your weekly high?
- What was your weekly low?
(You can also include a section for additional comments.)
Why It Matters
This type of weekly report is critical because your people are your greatest asset. Without them, you can’t run your business. But . . . they’re human beings, not human doings. So, as their leader, you can’t treat your team like cogs in a wheel. You need to show you care—which includes knowing where your team is winning and where they’re struggling so you can help them. Otherwise, let’s be real, they’ll become your biggest pain point.
Related article: What Is Servant Leadership?
To head off avoidable pain at the pass, stamp this reminder into your mind and soul before we go any further: A team member weekly report is not an employee productivity report.
If you use it well, you’ll learn plenty about what each team member is working on and where they feel both productive and stuck. But you’ll also learn a lot more.
A well-designed, properly used team member weekly report is a two-way communication tool and trust builder. Your team members will use it to share their challenges and honest feedback about the work they’re doing. And you’ll use it to get a snapshot into their world so you can support them.It will help you see their strengths, guide them through problems, high-five their wins, and give them a safe place to share things that might not come up in your one-on-one meetings. That’s a lot of good stuff!
5 Steps to Make Your Team Member Weekly Report Work
To fully enjoy all the potential good of a team member weekly report, you have to know how to make the most of it. These steps will help.
- Build it into your weekly rhythm. Make team member weekly reports a normal part of every Friday (or whatever day you choose). A simple, automated email reminder with either a link to fill out the report or the report template attached is all you need to start.
- Follow up if you don’t get the report. Every team member needs to know you noticed if they didn’t send their report. Give them a gentle reminder but let them know it’s nonnegotiable.
- Read it. Train your team to hit the highlights in their report so you can scan it quickly. (They should schedule a meeting if they need to share more.) Then, carve out time early each week to review every weekly report. The value of what you’ll learn will be priceless.
- Never weaponize it. Team member weekly reports sometimes reveal big issues you need to address—just make sure you’re coming from the right place. This is a tool for building trust, not fear. If something negative or difficult comes up in the report, set up time to talk with that team member one-on-one. And let them know you’re trying to get clarity and help them solve the problem.
- Reach out. If you read weekly reports but never respond to them, you might as well not read them at all as far as your team is concerned. For all they know, it fell into the abyss, they said something wrong, or worst of all, you simply don’t care. You don’t have to respond to every person every week. And you often don’t need to say a lot when you do. But you do need to reply by email or walk over to your team member’s desk to let them know their words matter. Congratulate them, ask how you can help, or schedule extra time to connect.
The team member weekly report is one of the key communication rhythms Ramsey Solutions uses to keep leaders in touch with their team members. And it’s helped us build and maintain an amazing company culture.
What’s Next: In With the Weekly Report Tool, Out With the Guessing Games
There’s a reason no one plays basketball in the dark. It wastes your time, energy and momentum. Weekly reports keep you on track with goals and in sync with team members. (Bye-bye miscommunication and missed opportunities.) And team member weekly reports are especially critical to caring for the people helping you reach your business goals.
If you don’t want to lose valuable time trying to create your own reporting system (that may be more complicated than helpful), EntreLeadership Elite offers a digital tool called Weekly Reports that does all the heavy lifting for you. It’s the same tool Ramsey team members and leaders use.
Weekly Reports include a digital report template your team members can complete in just a few minutes. Plus, team members will get automatic weekly reminders sent straight to their inbox, and they’ll have access to all their completed reports. EntreLeadership’s Weekly Reports also include a leader dashboard with organized, scannable report details for every team member. Leaders can even hit reply from the dashboard to send a quick email response to a person on their team.
Check out EntreLeadership Elite to learn more about Weekly Reports and other business resources that will help you care for your team and level up your business.