There are several variables, including the quality of your equipment, material flow management, and overall economic considerations (for example, inflation or recession), that can affect your company’s profitability. Yet, the profitability of your company ultimately depends on the consistency of the output of your employees. And so comes the question “How to measure productivity of employees?” You may assess the efficiency of the work of your employees by utilising efficient measures of productivity. In this article, you’ll learn all about how to be productive at work, as well as how to measure the productivity of your teammates.
Did you know? Since the 1980s, Tuesdays are known to be the most productive days.
Maximising individual and team productivity is critical for businesses to succeed and work outputs to increase. The problem is that it has become much more challenging to carry out productivity measuring in a consistent way. So, how can today’s employers in a knowledge-based workforce assess and boost productivity? It turns out that some fascinating and creative productivity measurements have emerged for businesses.
“Porductivity measurement is not as simple as the number of bushels that a worker collects in an hour.”
What is Classical Productivity Measurement?
The basic formula for employee productivity tracking is productivity = outcome divided by input. This would let us know how much (output) was produced over a given period (input).
It seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? But, when we begin to look deeper, we can notice a few cracks in this method. What is “produced” in knowledge work? What is the value of that output? Does time matter anyway? If so, then when?
Productivity is challenging to measure when it comes to knowledge work. As Professor Lynn Wu of the Wharton Business School Operations and Information Management says, “It is not as simple as the number of bushels that a worker collects in an hour.”
How traditional productivity measurements are failing us?
1. Lack of emphasis on quality
Researchers are attempting to find ways of assigning value to knowledge workers’ output. Our incapacity to have a consistent employee productivity tracking measure makes it difficult to calculate the productivity of knowledge workers.
Evaluating developers by the lines of code written in an hour or doctors by the patients treated in an hour, for example, leaves little space for the quality factor. What if another developer is writing half as much code as another, but twice as good as that? And what if a doctor has half the number of patients as another, but his good results are twice the other person’s?
How do we measure productivity of employees in terms of the brain output? If we take the developer’s example further, developers are seen as problem solvers, not code machines. They spend hours brainstorming through problems and testing solutions, but no single output in the code line is produced.
2. No questioning of the task’s nature
Typically, there are many different types of tasks in one job. Knowledge jobs are complex and possess many variables, especially when compared to structured and repeatable processes in production.
The task is always apparent in manual labour. This is seldom the case in knowledge work. Think about how a digital marketer should address that question. Attempting to answer, “What is the task?” can have a range of options from attending a meeting to set up a retargeting plan and anything in between. From patient care to paperwork, a doctor could answer with anything. A salesperson might say driving, making calls, or any of a dozen other alternatives to networking conferences.
Furthermore, not all activities generate the same value for an organisation. The question “How to measure productivity of employees?” is indeed quite dicey in this sense.
Does an email response build as much value as it does while working on a feature article? Many of us on the surface will just say, “no.” But what if that email connects with a contact that becomes a critical investor down the road?
With too many unknown variables in the equation, it is difficult for managers to systematically calculate and maximise productivity.
3. Lack of the human dimension
Employees who would like to work with you would be delivering high-quality jobs promptly. The organisation owns the means of production in the manual-work case, usually machinery or other devices, and the worker simply iterates tasks within that device.
Nowadays, the “self-evident” shared interests held by managers and staff are even more visible. In the knowledge-based economy, workers are the means of production, by way of their knowledge and skill. The output is the sequence of inventive decisions they have made in a day. This is an essential element to be kept in mind when answering the question, “how to track employee productivity?” Management also involves monitoring the happiness of workers and creating stronger teams. Productivity optimisation relies on such a human dimension.
Did you know? A Harvard report found that sleep deprivation and lack of adequate rest costs companies about $65 billion a year.
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that work environments where workers showed positive and noble behaviours scored higher on organisational success measures.
Positive practices that score high on organisational success measures
- Showing kindness
- Providing help
- Looking to have colleagues as friends
- Concentrating on meaningful work
- Evicting guilt and forgiving wrongs
- Being respectful to others
- Expressing gratitude
Today, growing numbers of companies are considering that happier employees contribute to a better business while looking into “how to track employee productivity.”
Tips to measure productivity of employees effectively
The old productivity measure did have some flaws. Nonetheless, successful firms have found innovative ways to answer the question, “How to measure productivity of employees?”
1. Establish a baseline
Establishing a baseline involves using the operation production numbers to set an average for a regular business day. The total is divided by the employee number, either for the whole organisation or for specific divisions. A realistic example of this is a small business repair shop that takes advantage of the average maintenance services it provides. This number is then divided by the employee number needed to decide the baseline.
2. Determine goals and targets
Targets and goals change based on industry. Nevertheless, most organisations choose to set parameters that represent their business goals. Productivity targets can be adjusted based on abilities. What this could mean for customer service representatives, for example, is an awareness of their inability to manage their workflow. Their output is influenced directly by their primary task: to accept calls. In this case, the productivity target may need to be lowered by employers.
3. Allow scope for employee autonomy
The modern knowledge economy necessitates that we enforce responsibility on the individual knowledge workers themselves for their productivity. This is a great answer for “how to measure productivity?”
This autonomy is one of the primary reasons why the old productivity measuring model falls flat. It ensures that knowledge employees have the opportunity to construct their workdays in ways they know will make them more efficient.
In a study, the nurses in a hospital were asked which duties stopped them from being successful. Primarily, the responses included tasks unconnected to the knowledge and skills of the high-value nurses, such as answering phones and arranging flowers. When those tasks were transferred to non-nurse clerks, patient satisfaction doubled within four months, and nurse turnover decreased considerably.
Automation and delegation allow us to do high-quality work in the same amount of time to improve productivity, even if we are unable to quantify the work’s objective quality.
What managers could do on a team level?
- Consult with team members to ensure they focus on projects aligning with their strengths. Help them identify ways to increase the amount of time they work on what they find meaningful and reduce the time they spend on all else.
- When measuring team performance, think about what you are measuring. Benchmarking individual productivity to business goals is challenging. You must be able to tie your teams the timely release of minimally viable products, client satisfaction scores, closed leads, and so on. Make sure employees are involved in setting these goals.
- Consider developing a streamlined yet flexible goal-setting structure. Employees themselves can determine what it looks like to be productive.
Creating these kinds of programs provides individual, team-wide, and company-wide metrics while paving the path to achieving common objectives.
4. Bear in mind the human dimension
At the root of the team, efficiency lies personal productivity. The key to a high-performance team is to bring together individuals having strong engagement with the organisation’s mission and precise control of their team’s activities. The researchers on Google’s “Project Aristotle” investigated the impact of less-tangible influences on team cohesion and efficiency through a study. In an environment like Google, where every detail is tracked, reviewed, optimised, and tested, the search for the makeup to the perfect team has yielded some non-technical results.
As it turns out, making the best team has less to do with integrating individually tailored rock stars and more to do with how members listen to each other and demonstrate sensitivity. Measuring cultural elements such as positivity and diversity can be approached the same way you approach measuring progress towards your production goals.
Did you know? The University of Sussex conducted a study that found that your brain is continuously damaged when multitasking. Also, attempting multitasking will significantly decrease productivity by 40 per cent while increasing stress levels.
5. Decide which similarities are appropriate
The job role determines the day of an employee and is not always calculated by a single task. Alternatively, it would calculate the entirety of an employee’s job. Typical job functions on any given day reflect a mix of different programs, tools, and data powered by the internet. Add email and social media usage to the mix, and managers can quickly discover that several behaviours can decide how successful an employee will be in completing various tasks.
Furthermore, comparing one employee’s everyday activities to a peer group helps managers recognise the top performers and their best practices. This information serves as standards of efficiency for making appropriate comparisons.
6. Identify redundant procedures
Comparisons can also illustrate redundancies in routines that once removed increase output. An example would be plumbing technicians who return to the office for parts multiple times during their working day. It may be as easy as storing work vans or revamping the day’s calls for service efficiently. The goal is to ensure that technicians have everything they need for assigned calls of service.
7. Request updates every day
While employees admire the freedom to do their job without a micromanager, it does not always guarantee productivity. Many people might suffer from procrastination, which interferes with levels of productivity. Asking workers for end-of-day notifications can, however, act as a motivator. When employees are aware that accountability is expected, they are more likely to keep pace with targets.
8. Utilise motivation
There are other workers whose productivity improves with their employer’s encouragement.
In practice, it looks like:
- A culture in which employees believe that they are essential to the company.
- Clear work-related expectations so that employees fully understand their role.
- Employees need to have adequate training to achieve those goals.
- Acknowledgement when employees meet or exceed objectives relating to work.
9. Ask for employee feedback
Employers must value employee feedback because this keeps employees involved in the measuring process. Obtaining the thoughts of workers about goals and success metrics eliminates the illusion that they are just faceless numbers on spreadsheets. Large and small companies profit tremendously when the workers feel that their opinion counts. When employees feel voiceless, not only could this cause lower productivity rates, but some businesses may even experience high turnover rates.
10. Notice the mitigating circumstances
Extenuating or unusual circumstances could affect how employers measure their employees’ level of productivity. Picking up a new job or system can skew numbers in productivity. Issues such as equipment failures and network problems during regular operations would also cause those numbers to decrease. None of these affects staff, but as a reminder, they are still worth noting.
How to measure productivity of your remote employees?
One of the primary reasons why most managers hesitate about remote work is the lack of visibility. How do they know when members of their team are working? How to measure productivity of their remote team? By default, remote work allows managers and employers to have faith in their employees. But, this does not have to mean that they remain ignorant about the appropriate minimum time that an employee spends.
With this in mind, UnRemot has added productivity reports that let both employers and employees monitor team and individual productivity. This feature also acts as an attendance report to give the employers some visibility.
UnRemot’s Productivity Reports can be used for
- Managers can monitor individuals’ daily check-in and check-out time.
- Managers can check daily productivity and average individual productivity.
- Managers could keep a weekly and monthly track of the above.
- Individuals could review their check-in and check-out time.
- Individuals will be able to track their average and daily productivity.
The answer to “how to measure productivity of employees” changes in approach across industries. Labour and material have taken a back seat for some companies to allow the use of technology to complete tasks. It is all about recognising productivity boosters at the end of a working day.
Delays, unreasonable expectations, and lack of employee involvement all result in processes that impede a thriving workforce. Also, the use of boilerplate methods or processes will soon be overrun by individual business goals and outlooks. In the end, changing productivity expectations necessitates proving the value of how each employee’s efforts align with their employer’s.