HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Employee Productivity
Employee productivity is the driving force behind a company's growth and profitability. Without productive employees, even the most innovative businesses can falter. But managing and improving employee productivity is often easier said than done. Read on to discover the best ways to improve the performance of your employees.

What Is Employee Productivity?

Imagine having an employee who constantly struggles to complete tasks on time and accomplish goals. It’s no secret that this can be frustrating for both the employer and the employee, resulting in missed deadlines, decreased quality of work, and, ultimately, lost revenue for the company. This is where the importance of employee productivity comes in. Productivity refers to how much work employees can accomplish in a specific period and how efficiently they use their time. When employees are productive, they are more likely to complete tasks on time, be more engaged in their daily work, and contribute to the company's overall success. To put this into perspective, without employee productivity, companies would struggle to meet deadlines, fulfill customer needs, and remain competitive in their industries. Low productivity not only affects the bottom line but also hinders the growth potential of the company. It can result in increased stress for employees, decreased job satisfaction, and ultimately higher turnover rates. But remember that employee productivity is not just an internal struggle that your team members have to deal with by themselves. Instead, many external factors could affect how your employees perform.

Factors That Influence Employee Productivity

The journey toward improving employee productivity involves understanding the powerful factors that can easily affect your team members’ daily lives. Here are six factors:

Work Environment

According to a Glassdoor survey conducted in 2019, which gathered responses from over 5,000 workers in the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany, a staggering 77% of respondents indicated that they would consider the company’s culture before applying for a job there. The MIT Sloan research found that complaints of toxic work environments are the top reason for employee turnover in various industries, outweighing other factors.
Complaints of toxic work environments are the top reason for employee turnover in various industries.
A comfortable and safe workplace that’s also free from distractions and equipped with the necessary tools and resources can positively impact employee productivity.

Leadership and Management

It won’t come as a surprise that effective leadership and management can motivate employees and create a sense of direction and purpose. Leaders who provide clear expectations, feedback, and support can help with employee engagement and productivity. In fact, U.S. companies lose as much as $550 billion annually due to disengaged employees, according to a report from the Engagement Institute—a collaboration of The Conference Board, Sirota-Mercer, Deloitte, ROI, and The Culture Works and Consulting LLP.
U.S. companies lose as much as $550 billion annually due to disengaged employees.

Workload

The amount and complexity of work assigned to employees can significantly influence their productivity. When employees are overloaded with work or given tasks that are too challenging, their productivity can suffer and potentially lead to burnout.

Employee Skills and Training

The skills and knowledge that employees possess and any training they receive can impact their productivity. How? The answer is quite simple—if you don’t know how to perform a specific task, you need more time to do it. This can make it more difficult to achieve daily goals.

Work-Life Balance

Did you know that an overwhelming majority of employees (87%) expect their employers to help them maintain a balance between their work and personal commitments? Employees with a healthy work-life balance, flexible schedules, and vacation times tend to be more productive.

Recognition

Based on the Salesforce report, employees who feel like their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work, leading to higher levels of productivity.

How to Improve Employee Productivity

Managing employee productivity is not an easy area to navigate. But the good news is that there are several simple and effective ways to boost performance in the workplace.

Step 1: Set Clear Goals and Expectations

When employees clearly understand what they are working toward and what is expected of them, they are more likely to stay focused, motivated, and productive. This can involve setting clear performance metrics, outlining deadlines, and establishing a hierarchy of tasks and responsibilities. It is also important for employers to regularly review and communicate progress toward these goals and expectations. You can do this by setting up regular check-ins and feedback sessions with your team members or providing ongoing performance evaluations.

Step 2: Optimize Processes

Effective processes are the backbone of every company, helping employees work more efficiently. One way to optimize processes is to analyze each step in a workflow and identify any unnecessary or redundant steps. Then try eliminating these steps and letting your employees focus on the essential tasks. Automation can also be a game-changer. Workplace automation statistics indicate that an estimated 80% of businesses are accelerating the digitalization of work processes. Automated workflows can save time and improve accuracy by reducing the need for manual data entry and repetitive tasks. This allows employees to focus on more complex and higher-value tasks, increasing productivity and overall job satisfaction.

Step 3: Foster Career Development

Employees who feel they have a path for growth within a company are more motivated, engaged, and likely to stay with the company in the long run. Providing opportunities for professional development is an excellent way to encourage betterment. You can include opportunities like training, education assistance programs, mentorship programs, and career counseling both within and outside the company.

Step 4: Encourage Positive Work Culture

To foster a positive work culture, employers should prioritize open communication, respect, and inclusivity. As a team leader, try to promote a collaborative work environment, offer opportunities for professional development, and recognize and reward good work. Organizing social events outside work hours, offering team-building activities during work hours, and encouraging employee teamwork would also boost their productivity.

Step 5: Recognize Good Work

Did you know that recognition can come in various forms, such as verbal praise, public acknowledgment, or rewards and incentives? In fact, all of them serve the same purpose—letting your employees know their hard work is appreciated. Creating an employee recognition program can help employees feel more encouraged to go above and beyond in their work, leading to improved productivity and overall success for the company.

Methods to Measure Employee Productivity

Without a clear understanding of your employees' productivity, you cannot accurately evaluate their performance or identify areas where they can optimize their workflow. As such, many companies have implemented various methods to measure employee productivity. Here are three tested strategies:

Quantitative Method

As an HR manager, team leader, or employer, you can use various metrics to track and analyze employee performance. It can vary from the number of tasks completed and the time spent on each task to the quality of work produced. For example, you can use time-tracking software to measure the amount of time employees spend on specific tasks and projects to identify areas where they can improve performance. Sometimes we tend to spend too much time on tasks that are not important or can easily be automated, so measuring plays a key role here. Other quantitative methods could be tracking the number of tasks completed within a specific timeframe. For instance, a call center manager might measure the productivity of their employees by monitoring the number of calls handled per hour, the length of each call, and the percentage of calls resolved on the first attempt. The manager could then compare this data to industry benchmarks or previous periods to evaluate employee performance.

Objectives Method

To use the objectives method, first establish the specific objectives that must be achieved. This could be anything from hitting a sales target to completing a project on time. Next, set measurable criteria to evaluate the employee's performance against the objective. For example, if the objective is to increase sales by 10%, the measurable criteria could be the number of sales made or the revenue generated. Once you establish the objectives and measurable criteria, communicate them clearly to the employees and monitor their progress toward achieving them. Finally, provide regular feedback to help team members improve their performance and achieve their objectives.
Tip: Objectives work better if they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

360-Degree Feedback

360-degree feedback is a method of evaluating employee productivity that involves soliciting feedback from a variety of sources, including managers, peers, and subordinates. As a team leader, you can then use this information to identify areas where an employee excels and areas where they may need additional support or training.

Obstacles to Employee Productivity

Imagine that you’ve optimized processes within the team and encouraged positive culture through different activities, and something as simple as poor communication could put the hard work at risk. Despite the best efforts of employers and employees, various obstacles can hinder productivity in the workplace, but don’t worry—there are ways to overcome them.

Poor Communication

Poor communication between managers and employees can lead to misunderstandings and delays in completing tasks. Establishing regular check-ins and feedback sessions to ensure everyone is on the same page can help solve this issue. It’s part of your job to make an effort to provide clear instructions and expectations for each task.

Technology

When it comes to productivity, technology can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can streamline processes and improve efficiency. On the other, technical issues and glitches can cause delays and frustration. Ensure all employees have the necessary technology and software to perform their job duties and provide training and support to help them troubleshoot any technical issues.

Lack of Motivation

A lack of motivation could become a major enemy in employee productivity. Underlying factors can include feeling undervalued or lacking a clear sense of purpose. That’s why fostering a positive work environment that emphasizes recognition and career development is important. For better results and long-term success, make an effort to connect employees' work to the company's larger mission and provide opportunities for growth.

Distractions

In today's fast-paced work environment, distractions are everywhere – a mobile phone buzzing with notifications tops the list. Whether it's social media, personal phone calls, or chatty coworkers, distractions can derail productivity. So, encourage employees to limit distractions by turning off notifications and finding a quiet workspace when possible. Help them find what works best for their working arrangement and start there. Setting clear expectations for work hours and break times is also beneficial.
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Other Related Terms
360 Review
9 Box Talent Review
Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale (BARS)
Demotion
Employee Disengagement
Employee Engagement
Employee Evaluation
Employee Monitoring
Employee Morale
Extrinsic Motivation
Graphic Rating Scale
Intrinsic Motivation
Motivational Interviewing in the Workplace
Multi-Rater Feedback
OKRs
Organizational Development (OD)
Performance Improvement Plans
Performance Management
Performance Review
Promotions
Quiet Firing
Quiet Quitting
SBI Feedback
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