Looking for ways to improve employee productivity?
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about employee productivity. We’ll highlight what it is, how you can measure it and even give you a few tips to improve your workplace productivity.
Here’s what this article contains:
(You can use the links below to jump into a section of your choice)
- What is Employee Productivity?
- How to Measure Employee Productivity
- The Top Five Strategies to Improve Your Employees Productivity
Let’s get started.
What is Employee Productivity?
Employee productivity can mean different things to different people.
Generally, it’s a metric that measures how efficient employees are at their work. The more productive your employees are, the more value they produce during work. Usually, an employee’s productivity is measured against the collective productivity of your organization.
Remember, the definition of employee productivity can vary from company to company.
It’s up to your company to decide how you want to measure and gauge it.
How to Measure Employee Productivity
The traditional method of measuring productivity comes down to this equation:
Productivity = Units of Output / Units of Input
If your employee’s output score was higher than their input score, they were productive. Think of a customer support agent, their input would be their time – while their output would be the number of complaints they address.
According to this formula, their productivity would be measured by the number of complaints they resolve per hour.
However, this formula was developed during the industrial revolution and is not very useful for measuring productivity of knowledge workers in the 21st century.
When measuring employee productivity in 2020, remember to consider these factors:
1. Quality or Quantity?
An important factor to consider is whether an employee’s job focuses on quality or quantity.
Think of two distinct jobs – a baker and a teacher.
Once a standard size for a loaf of bread is set, the baker’s job is to produce as many loaves as possible to meet customer demand.
But a teacher’s objective isn’t to just rush through lessons, right?
It doesn’t matter how fast they cover their lessons; if the students don’t understand the topics, they’re not doing their job correctly.
That’s why it’s important to remember the focus of an employee’s job when measuring their productivity.
2. The Human Factor
Measuring your employees productivity levels isn’t just about how much work they do, right?
Many employers measure workforce productivity through the output over input equation. However, that equation is only valid if everything was always held constant.
Employers would only have to worry about which part to replace or when to schedule a repair to boost productivity in a short amount of time.
But that isn’t how teams work right?
Managers now focus on individual employee satisfaction and building strong teams to ensure productivity levels stay high.
Researchers have found that teams with positive practices like showing compassion, focusing on meaningful work and treating others with respect are more productive than other groups.
These teams included performance traits like high employee engagement and happiness as measures of productivity instead.
Remember not to judge your employees solely based on input and output – an employee’s positive practices could be what makes their whole team productive!
Five Strategies to Improve Your Employees Productivity
Here are five tips on how to improve your employees productivity.
1. Actively Monitor Employee Productivity
The best way to boost productivity is to monitor it continually.
Think about it.
If you continuously keep track of your team’s productivity, you’ll be able to identify:
- Your most productive employees.
- Employees who need a productivity boost.
- Productivity draining practices.
- And more!
But how do you actively monitor your employees?
Tools like Time Doctor can help you here.
Time Doctor is a powerful time tracking software used by companies like Apple, PWC and Verizon. It’s the perfect way to boost employee productivity and track the amount of time they work.
Here’s how TimeDoctor helps you:
- Timesheet Reports – Measure how much time an employee worked during a given time period.
- Detailed Project Reports – Know how much time your projects took along with who worked on them
- Web & App Usage Report – Identify what websites your employees access during work hours.
- Distraction Management – Keep your employees focused during their work day by keeping a check unproductive apps and sites.
- Inactivity Timer – Ensure that your employees can’t pass off idle time as work hours.
2. Help Your Team Communicate and Collaborate More Easily
Clear communication is essential to bring all your employees together and increase productivity.
A team that doesn’t understand each other will never get anything done!
Here are a few tools your team can use to communicate and collaborate effectively:
A. Communication Tools
Tools like Slack and Fleep help your team communicate and share data easily. They even offer channels for project-specific communications with a ton of integrations.
Video calling tools like Skype and Zoom help teams conduct video meetings for detailed check-ins and walkthroughs. Most of the apps even come with smartphone apps to communicate on the go.
B. File-Sharing Tools
Cloud-based file sharing apps like Google Drive and Dropbox help teams share information and collaborate via the internet.
Users can share project files through these apps, which makes it easier to keep everyone informed and updated on any new developments.
C. Project Management Tools
ClickUp and Trello are project management tools that let users create tasks, schedule deadlines and prioritize projects to organize their work.
With these tools, you can reschedule tasks and assign new items to team members. This will help you easily stay on top of everything always.
3. Motivate Your Employees
According to a Gallup report, disengaged employees cost U.S companies nearly $605 billion per year in lost productivity!
However, this shouldn’t be surprising.
You can’t expect demotivated employees to give their best to their business, right?
Employee motivation is a critical factor in determining how productive your employees are. They can get demotivated or face burnout due to various reasons.
Here are some methods you can use to get their motivation levels up again:
1. Set Clear Goals & Deadlines
Do you know why most employees are unproductive?
They’re unsure of what’s expected of them.
Be clear and detailed in your instructions.
Letting your employees know what you need and by when you need it will help you streamline your workflows.
For example, when you assign a task to an employee, inform them of:
- What the end goal is.
- Why they’re performing this activity.
- How this benefits the company.
- What their deadlines are.
- What tools they’re expected to use.
- Who they’ll be working with.
This ensures that they’re not confused about anything and can proceed with their work immediately.
2. Recognize a Job Well Done
Attractive incentives are essential to keep your employees motivated.
Remember, rewarding your employees shows that you care about their efforts.
Use tactics like merit-based compensation and salary hikes during employee performance evaluations to keep them motivated.
While bonuses for achieving objectives are surely appreciated, even a small thank-you note can sometimes show a number of employees that you care.
3. Create a Feedback Culture
Did you know 63% of employees are ready to quit their jobs because of poor communication?
Employees need a platform to actively provide their suggestions and opinions. Without one, your employees will feel like they don’t have a say in your company and will feel underappreciated.
Remember to have grievance systems in place for your employees to voice their concerns. This way, you can identify matters that upset your employees and work on resolving them. This will create a healthier work environment to improve job satisfaction levels.
4. Hold Team Bonding Activities
Encouraging your team to work together is another important strategy to boost productivity.
As a business owner, conduct activities that bring your employees together.
An increased amount of time together can help them bond socially and sort out their differences. It’s one of the easiest ways to get your employees to stop thinking like individuals and start working as a team!
One of the easiest ways to do this is to set up a weekly activity that takes very little effort and time, but still brings people together and sparks “water cooler” conversations. A good example is Water Cooler Trivia. Their team generates a weekly quiz for you each week based on the difficulty and categories that work for your team. Then they handle all the research, question-writing, and grading of the responses.
5. Don’t Micromanage
Providing feedback can be helpful – but singling out every detail can lower your employees’ self-confidence.
Think about it.
How will your employees grow if you continuously critique everything they do?
Micromanaging your employees will decrease your labor productivity rates and increase employee turnover.
Let your employees do the job they were hired for and figure things out on their own. This will build their confidence and help them perform better.
4. Help Your Employees Maintain a Better Work-Life Balance
Work-related stress can cause employee burnout which can adversely affect your organization.
Once an employee “burns out,” they lose all motivation to work – and may not ever get back to optimal performance. This can naturally cost you thousands of dollars in lost productivity.
An easy way to avoid burnout and increase employee productivity is to ensure they get enough rest and personal time. Consider implementing flexible work schedules and healthy vacation time policies.
Team up with your human resources department to understand what your employees need and find a way to give it to them without compromising on your company’s productivity.
5. Provide Adequate Training
Proper training and onboarding are crucial to ensure high rates of productivity at an organizational and individual level.
Your training process should focus on preparing them for their day-to-day tasks in addition to general training in fields like optimizing time management.
However, training isn’t limited to new hires.
It improves efficiency and productivity in new employees and existing ones.
Effective training will help employees complete tasks in less time and make optimal use of their work time – helping them achieve productivity gains faster.
Employee productivity is one of the most important factors for any business in 2020.
The bottom line is, your employees’ productivity levels can be the difference between doubling your revenue or losing clients.
Follow the tips we’ve mentioned here to boost employee productivity and grow your business in no time!
Liam Martin is the co-founder of Time Doctor—one of the world’s leading time tracking software for remote teams. He is also the co-organizer of Running Remote, the world’s largest remote work conference.