A company’s success depends on employee productivity, which, by the way, isn’t necessarily about working their fingers to the bone. Workplace productivity is simply the measure of time or effort that’s spent to get things done.
When employees have high productivity, operations become more efficient, sales targets become more achievable, and the business becomes more profitable as a result. Statistics attribute about 2.3% more revenue for a three-year period for companies with employees who are highly engaged and productive.
According to a 2013 survey done by Microsoft, 37% of workers wish their company would allow the use of social media-based tools that bring about increased productivity at work. This means a large portion of businesses are ignoring technological adoption and restricting communication channels in the workplace.
HR’s Role in Workplace Productivity
Since productivity involves cultivating positive attitudes and work ethics, HR should lay the groundwork for employee performance by modelling certain values such as credibility, integrity, efficiency, and leadership.
It’s also HR’s responsibility to keep employees motivated and engaged by helping build comfortable working conditions, a fun company culture, and healthy relationships between colleagues.
On the technical side, HR also needs to understand the operational goals of the organisation and determine which skill sets and personality traits fit best. By having this level of understanding, HR can provide the training that employees need to help them work smarter, make wiser decisions, and develop professionally.
How to Measure Employee Productivity
Before you can determine what works and what doesn’t, you need to be able to effectively measure your employees’ productivity before and after making changes in HR efforts.
Once you’ve determined their productivity levels, you’ll be able to identify which employees are performing well and offer rewards to keep them motivated. On the other hand, knowing which employees are performing poorly can allow businesses to create support systems that help them become better workers.
When weighing the input-output ratio that’s tied to workers’ productivity, you need to look at several factors that determine whether employees are contributing to the business’s profitability. These factors might include the cost of overtime, turnover rates, and overall job satisfaction.
That said, it’s important to choose the right methods for measuring employee productivity accurately. Here are seven examples of proven strategies:
In this method, you should be able to evaluate whether an employee’s actions are helping achieve company goals and targets.
If you have a service-oriented business, for example, and your goal is to maintain customer satisfaction, you could implement and analyse customer satisfaction surveys to find out how an employee is performing. The resulting data is then benchmarked against the rest of your organisation to determine your best and worst performers.
This is one of the most simplistic productivity measurement models.
Here, you’re monitoring productivity based on the quantity of an employee’s output, which can be quite easy to measure. You simply keep track of the number of tasks, items, parts, or products that an employee completes within a specific period and average those numbers to find out how much productivity is gained or lost within a particular period.
In some industries, it’s possible to assess an employee’s productivity based on service levels, which identify the amount of time it ideally takes to complete a transaction.
Some banks are picking up this idea by guaranteeing that customers in the queue will be served within a certain amount of time. The baseline may increase depending on the number, nature, or difficulty of the tasks or transactions involved. If tellers don’t manage to meet the allocated time window, they won’t be reaching their targets, making them under-productive.
This method can be a bit tricky, as you need to consider several criteria to measure a sales person’s productivity, with each criterion producing varied results depending on the operation.
In sales, some of the most important numbers you need to look at include the total number of sales attempted, the total amount of sales closed, the number of new accounts or customers gained, the number of phone calls made or emails sent. It’s a good idea to focus on sales conversions as a primary metric. After all, it’s the only metric directly affecting your revenue.
This is quite similar to the benchmarks method, although you’re more likely to find the UOS model helpful with assembly line-style operations.
Kitchen helpers in fast food, for example, might have the number of burgers prepared and packaged as their UOS. Another example would be factory workers in manufacturing plants, where their UOS would be a certain number of parts produced.
Many small- to mid-sized businesses are finding this method effective because you only have to keep track of how much money the company makes for every dollar spent on your workers’ salary.
For example, rather than considering how many sales a salesperson makes, profit-based productivity measurement assesses the value of each sale, prioritising high-value conversions over other activities.
Part of employee productivity involves the efficient use of time to accomplish tasks. Any activity that deviates from this standard can be included in the measure of an employee’s deteriorating efficiency at work.
Some of the time management issues you may want to explore are frequent absences, recurring bouts of illness, excessive breaks, or unnecessary disruptions at the workplace, something easily and productively managed through use of an absence management system.
Despite the abundance of literature on workplace and employee productivity, it’s quite easy to fall into the trap of committing a few mistakes here and there. One of the most common misconceptions about productivity is that the busier you get, the more productive you are.
Moving forward, employees and organisations should realise that the true value of productivity is in collaborating with one another, where everyone understands where they stand and how they can contribute to the company’s goals and get things done at the close of business.
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