No matter what kind of products or services your business offers, it's important to measure employee productivity, and to measure it as accurately as possible.
Ensuring productivity in the workplace can be challenging. A 2013 Gallup survey revealed that 70 percent of U.S. workers are disengaged from their workday. Distracted by smartphones, social media, personal emails and the demands of their personal lives, most employees find it hard to focus consistently and produce the best work they can.
This lack of interest and involvement often leads to low or mediocre productivity. Accurately measuring your employees' productivity is one clear way to gain insight into how skilled, engaged and productive your employees really are.
Creating High Expectations
Taking accurate productivity measurements can mean more than simply counting the number of products made or sold, or services performed.
A toy factory worker might produce 100 toys each day. But if most of those toys are defective and unsellable, that employee's productivity level is not very high, and both work time and materials are being wasted.
When you measure your employees' productivity and discuss your findings with them, you're letting them know that you expect them to care about their work, perform it as well as they can, and work toward achieving individual goals that are aligned with company goals.
In addition to revealing how individual employees are performing, these measurements can also reveal where the work flow gets slowed down or stopped due to equipment breakdowns, inefficient processes, poor job training, or lack of communication, among other problems.
When used correctly, accurate productivity measurements can also reveal how well your business is progressing towards its goals and targets.
What are Your Business Goals?
What are your company's short- and long-term goals? Are you looking to increase profits, innovation or efficiency? Tap into new markets and find new customers? Increase customer retention levels?
Studies have shown that employees who are able to see a direct connection between their productivity and company goals are far happier-and therefore more productive-than those who don't see how their work affects company goals.
Whatever your business goals, it's important to make them clear to employees. It's also important to find the methods of measurement that reveal how well employee output is bringing you closer to your business goals.
What Drives Your Business?
Before you can choose the most accurate productivity methods for your business, identify your key performance indicators (KPIs). These are your drivers-the profit-making, reputation-making parts of your organization.
Your KPIs must spring directly from your business's biggest goals, and must relate only to those aspects of your business that you have some control over.
If your store sells umbrellas in a very dry part of the country, the weather is not a KPI for you, because you have no control over it. Because you do have control over your inventory, sales for items such as sunglasses can be considered a KPI.
Choosing the Right Methods
Most employees perform several tasks, some of which will be easier to measure than others. When determining how profitable an employee's actions are, include factors that affect those profits, such as the cost of overtime, annual turnover rates, and overall job satisfaction.
Be open to different approaches, and be willing to try different methods at different times, to see which reveal the most accurate data, and reveal what's most important in terms of your business goals.