Without employee productivity, your business idea is just that: an idea. In order to deliver quality goods and services, you need to have a way of evaluating your goals and efficiency, including the input of individual employees and the total efforts of your company as a whole.
We all know that productivity of employees is essential to a functioning work environment and business. The inputs of your workers translates to outputs—your final product or service.
For some work environments, input and output are directly measurable. For instance, factory workers are directly responsible for creating a certain quantity of products, so it is not difficult to measure productivity: they either produce the required number of products, or they don't.
However, many industries and types of work are a lot more subjective than that. For instance, if you lead a team of content producers, an employee who produces fewer stories than another is not necessarily less productive; she could be spending more time on research and yielding higher-quality work. Many employees produce work that isn't directly measurable or quantifiable, but that doesn't make them any less productive.
So how do you measure a concept that seems fairly subjective? And how do you make productivity growth happen, if it is dfficult to measure overall productivity in the first place?
Some businesses attempt to quantify producivity, turning the time employees spend on certain tasks into a number. They might use a formula, such as outputs divided by inputs, to gauge how productive employees are being. This is bester used for a job that depends much more an quantity than quality and is easy to measure. It also requires you to assign a numerical value to the labor productivity of your staff, such as their hourly salaries.
While there aren't any one-size-fits-all approaches to measuring productivity and growth in different industries and at different organizations, there are ways of evaluating and making progress on how efficient your individual employees and entire company is being in producing a quality end result. Here are five suggestions for how you can ensure efficiency at your organization.
1. Establish company-wide goals.
In order for employees to yield quality outputs, you need to establish clear measures and explanations of what quality is. Similarly, you need to determine what productivity gains will look like in terms of the larger picture. Be clear about your company's goals, not just in terms of the product or products itself, but also what you want to see as far as employee behavior and work.
Do you hope to see a sales growth of a certain percentage? Do you want to deliver better goods and services, and if so, what does that improvement look like?
Be open with your team about how and why you want to see performance improve and what metrics you will use to measure productivity gains and total productivity of your organization. Make it clear that it's a company-wide effort, and you expect everyone to contribute.
2. Give employees individual objectives.
In order to do their jobs well, your team members need individual goals for their work. Make it clear that their individual productivity levels don't just affect their performance in terms of the company but their personal growth and abilities as well.
Salespeople might have individual sales goals. You can also establish objectives for other types of employees. For example, a social media manager might have a goal of gaining a certain number of follows on the corporate account.
3. Identify weak areas.
Not everything that goes wrong in a business happens because of flawed labor productivity.
In order to realize a productivity change at your organization, you need to know what problems exist at your organization. Look for holes, and identify which ones are the product of a failure in production function. You can't make productivity growth happen without knowing what's wrong.
Finding holes in productivity and total output doesn't necessarily tell you why the problem is occuring; however, it's an important step in working toward productivity improvement.
You'll probably use a series of productivity metrics and data to figure out issues in your organization. One should be employee feedback. Measuring productivity requires input from your team members on how they perceive the production process and what they think needs to improve.
3. Examine time management of employees.
One of the most important productivity measures is determining how employees are using their time. For some, this might be obvious. If an employee is spending a lot of her time on Facebook, she's obviously not being productive.
However, their are other ways employees might be mismanaging their time. Some may not even be aware that the ways they're completing their work aren't the most efficient.
For instance, perhaps an employee is spending too much time on a task that isn't as important as a more pressing one. In order to aid employee productivity, establish priorities with your team. Some employees might need help figuring out how their work fits into the total productivity of the company. If that's the case, work with that employee individually to explore how they can better prioritize their tasks to aid the overall production process.
4. Offer feedback.
Feedback is essential to ensuring functioning and improving productivity levels at your organizaton. Don't be the only one to deliver feedback; ask your employees to participate, too. Offer training on delivering appropriate and helpful peer feedback.
Small organizations in particular may benefit from this measure of productivity. In this case, emplyees may interact often with their team members and have a clearer idea of what everyone's function and tasks are.
5. Accept feedback.
Having the ability to accept feedback as well as deliver it is another important way to realize productivity change. Perhaps there are holes in production function to which you're contributing without realizing it. Accept the feedback of your team and consider it another piece of data that will help you contribute to productivity improvement at your organization.