The question of how to drive productivity upwards is, now more than ever, a hot button topic among employers. Many businesses invest heavily in measures to boost workers’ motivation and teach them how to get the most work done over time.


In fact, it well may be your company has already taken its own steps in this direction by implementing training sessions or scheduling talks. Perhaps you’ve even signed your employees on for SMART method time management courses. But how can you actually tell that your efforts are bearing fruit?


When determining the best ways to assess employee productivity, it helps to consider the size, culture, goals, and needs of your business. What does performing “well” mean, concretely, at your company? What information do you need to ascertain that your workers are performing at their best?


Once you have a sense of how to answer these questions, you’ll then be able to choose productivity metrics that will be most useful to you. You might even hit upon some ideas as you go through the tried-and-true tips compiled in the list below:


Set Expectations for Every Role


Before anything else, it’s important to establish baseline expectations for an employee’s role—and to do so for every role within the company. Identify the specific work output required of each position, as well as the tasks that an employee must perform in order to produce this output. Communicate this information comprehensively from the outset to give your employees a clear sense of what they must be accountable for.


Setting your expectations in this way will ensure that both you and your employees have a fixed point of reference for measuring their performance down the road. They’ll also be more assured that whatever productivity metrics you eventually implement will be as tailored as possible to the nature of their work.


Establish Clear Goals


Employee performance directly impacts your company’s ability to fulfil its goals. In light of this, it’s beneficial to clearly communicate your company goals and the reasons why these goals should be prioritised. Use your larger targets as a basis for setting clear objectives for your employees, and assess their progress through regular performance reviews. Knowing what they’re working towards, and the specific ways their labour helps drive the business forward, is sure to boost employee motivation as well as output.


Evaluate Tasks, Rather Than Time


Simply measuring the number of hours your people spend at work isn’t going to tell you much about what they’re actually getting done in that time. Instead, try to define more concrete productivity measures based on the specific functions an employee performs. If a particular task is considered essential to their role, it makes sense to use this task as a basis for assessing their productivity.


You could measure, for example, the number of customers an employee is able to serve over an evening, the number of sales they are able to make in a day, and so on. Depending on the nature of your business, it might also make more sense to assess the output of groups or teams rather than individuals.


Assess Work Quality, Not Just Quantity


Of course, achieving peak productivity isn’t just about how quickly the work gets done. You should also be paying attention to the quality of the work your employees complete, as producing poor results will ultimately damage your company’s overall reputation.


So, encourage employees to complete their tasks on time while still adhering to a high standard for the work that they do. In turn, you can support them by closely monitoring both the quality and the quantity of their work. As you observe more about how your employees function, you’ll likely spot ways to improve overall performance, whether that’s through training, one-on-one evaluation sessions, or other measures.


Survey Your Clients


Whether or not your staff engage in directly client-facing work, their performance will surely impact your customers somewhere down the line. Thus, it can be helpful to solicit client feedback through surveys and similar communications. Ask about the experiences your customers have had with your products and services, and be diligent about tracing setbacks or complaints back to specific employees. Be sure to highlight positive experiences and instances of exceptional service as well to give your high-performing employees the recognition they deserve.


Collect Co-Worker Feedback


Relatively small organisations, or organisations in which departments and individuals interact frequently, may also benefit from exchanges of feedback between co-workers. For instance, you might survey everyone an employee interacts with regularly—whether they’re on, above, or below the person’s job level—for comments on their performance. On a smaller scale, you could ask the members of individual departments or teams to evaluate each other’s contributions to the group’s overall productivity.


Should you elect to pursue this measure, be sure to choose evaluators that are familiar with the role, duties, and credentials of the employee to be evaluated. Importantly, also instruct your evaluators on how to give balanced and objective feedback based on their colleague’s professional abilities rather than personal feelings.


Measuring employee productivity is vital to maintaining a company’s competitiveness whatever the industry. It’s also a very human consideration at the core. After all, you’re finding ways to encourage your employees to care about the work that they do and subsequently perform that work to the best of their ability.


Hence, whatever your specific productivity metric, remember: your aim is to learn all you can about how your employees are currently working. Afterwards, share your findings with those concerned. From there, you can work with them to address difficulties, improve overall performance, and strive toward both individual and company goals.


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