How and why should we measure and analyse employee productivity? 

Measuring employee productivity helps how a company operates and assists in making sure that the cogs are turning effectively in your business. Rather than seeing it as monitoring an employee’s time or ‘micro-managing them, it should be used as a tool to help employees make the best of their time, to plan for future resources and to be able to see the bigger picture ahead of time.

It’s refreshing seeing businesses looking for alternative ways to inspire employees and switching from archaic working patterns. During the pandemic, many people have made a switch from office life to working from home and now that restrictions have lifted and the vaccination programme has been rolled out – many people are taking the steps to return to the office, whilst balancing it with a new flexible working approach. A new way of working requires a modern approach to tracking productivity.

There are some issues with monitoring productivity and measuring it of course – for example, if an employee spends an hour on the phone with a client resolving an issue, it could well be more valuable than them working an hour on a billable task. Why? Because making that client feel valued and assisting them in their time of need means that client will stay, spend more with your company and potentially lead to a great review. And that’s invaluable! 

So, the steps to measuring productivity…

1. Establishing baseline metrics to measure against

You need to set expectations for every role. Whether you’re measuring billables, time spent or you’re asking employees to log every task they do from calls, replying to emails and/or research, troubleshooting and investigative work. This provides clear expectations from you to an employee, making sure there is full transparency.

2. Objectives and Goals

Set clear objectives and goals, and then use this to evaluate progress and performance. It might be that measuring an employees productivity shows that they are spending too much time on unbillables and not enough time on billables… so in their next review you can set a task of improving that. 

3. Client Surveys and Feedback

If you want to know what strengths and weaknesses there are in your business, then client surveys and feedback are the way to get true and honest answers. A client survey or asking for feedback can provide valuable details, pinpointing what is working, what isn’t and what areas need improving. There is also the opportunity for an employee to be recognised for their good work!

4. Quality over Quantity

If you are measuring hours, you will need to emphasise that it’s a case of quality over quantity. There is no point in employee’s picking the easier and quicker tasks to tick off the list, rather than the more time-intensive tasks. If you see employees clocking up huge amounts of hours each month, and others aren’t, before jumping to conclusions that one is working harder than the other – check what they’ve worked on.

5. Monitoring sick days

It’s not nice to do but you do need to measure and monitor absenteeism. Not so that you can punish someone who is having more sick days than others, but so that you can speak to them about it and see if there is anything you can be doing to assist them. Having a strict policy on sick days can lead to presenteeism – where employees attend work even when they are sick – and that is not going to help anyone!