As established business leaders, we make sense of the world through numbers. We seek the return on investment from our strategy, products and employees. Employees are our most valuable asset, and as such, we seek to maximize their productivity. Happy, productivity employees translates to higher business return.
We reached out to business leaders to ask them one important question about productivity. How can leaders measure employee productivity? These are the insightful answers we received from leaders across the globe.
Meet our Panel of Experts:
|Mike Pugh||Kris Hughes|
|Harrison Doan||Saad Khan|
|Rephael Sweary||Richard Barret|
|Fiona Adler||Isaac Kohen|
|Jennifer K. Crittenden|
|J. Colin Petersen|
Mike Pugh is the VP of Collaboration at RingCentral Glip where he brings more than 20 years of cloud communications experience.
Response: Our Workplace Zen survey of more than 2,500 global employees found that “app overload” is real, and most workplace apps intended to streamline productivity and communications are actually undermining employee performance. While the tech world prides itself on being “disruptive,” people don’t want to be constantly disrupted. To end this chaos, 67 percent of workers would prefer to use a single platform — that includes phone calls, chat and email — for their communications “home base.” Employees believe this would help be more productive at work (65 percent), make work feel less chaotic (62 percent) and make working remotely easier (61 percent).Team messaging is growing quickly in popularity in response to this need, beating out legacy solutions by eliminating the time wasted toggling between emails, chats and calls.
Harrison Doan is Director of Analytics at Loom & Leaf.
Response: Of course, the simplest way to measure productivity is by measuring the average quantity of work on a given day or week. However, 5 high-quality projects are usually better than 20 hastily-written ones. So how do we resolve this? Emphasize the value of quality of quantity with your employees to get a better idea of their pace. Then, you can work with them to improve their efficiency so they can progressively produce more without sacrificing quality.
Rephael Sweary co-founded WalkMe, the leading Digital Adoption Platform, in 2011. Sweary was previously the co-founder, CEO and then president of Jetro Platforms which was acquired in 2007. Since then, he has funded and helped build a number of companies both in his role as entrepreneur-in-residence at Ocean Assets and in a personal capacity.
Response: To get a complete picture of where the gaps and opportunities are in employee productivity, leaders need to use automation for the employee experience. Automation that works across multiple business applications allow managers to identify where the bottlenecks in workflows are, as well as track what’s causing those slowdowns — whether it’s a bug in the app, redundant steps, or confusing application logic. By collecting usable data on KPIs, like the number of client issues resolved or the amount of time employees spend training to use a particular piece of software, automation for the employee experience can drive insights into worker productivity as well as improve it.
Fiona Adler writes about entrepreneurship at DoTheThings.com and is the founder of Actioned.com – a productivity tool for individuals and teams. With an MBA, multiple business successes, and a family living in a foreign country, she enjoys pushing the envelope to get the most out of life and loves helping others do the same.
Response: For most businesses, real productivity is extremely difficult to measure in absolute terms – most of us aren’t simply churning out widgets all day! The best proxy for productivity is to have teams set meaningful goals and then plan meaningful actions each week that will take them closer towards those goals. Productivity can then be measured by comparing our weekly accomplishments against our planned actions for the week (or, did we do what we said we were going to do?). Depending on the activities, this might be the quantity of phone calls, press releases, blog posts, bugs fixed, products delivered, candidates interviewed, or any other number of things.
Jennifer K. Crittenden earned an MBA in finance and worked for over twenty years in the US and abroad, rising from financial analyst to chief financial officer. She is the author of four books, including the award-winning Discreet Guide for Executive Women. She offers professional development programs through her company The Discreet Guide.
Response: Measuring productivity can be a challenge when employees’ output can’t be quantified in widgets or words or lines of code. Nevertheless, a tool such as a monthly report can be successfully used to assess progress toward an annual goal. Even if it isn’t quantifiable, the progress over the month should be significant, and at the end of the year, very impressive. An additional benefit is that the annual review can be based on twelve reports of equal weight instead of biased toward the most recent productivity efforts or lack thereof.
Vivek Chugh is the Founder and CEO of Listables. Chugh started Listables two years back after realizing that there had to be a better way to use checklists. Having worked at senior positions for the best companies on the planet in their respective computing verticals, Vivek has managed world class product, engineering and operations teams worldwide.
Response: To effectively measure employee productivity there are two main tasks that need to be done. First a baseline must be established for the employee. You cannot measure properly if you don’t know what you’re measuring against. Second, set clear, and concise goals with the date and the exact expected result.
Keri Lindenmuth is the marketing manager at KDG. For over 17 years, KDG has been helping businesses improve their processes, their customer experience, and their growth.
Response: Leaders can measure employee productivity through a time logging application. The application our company uses is Zoho Projects. Zoho allows employees to log time for tasks they’ve completed, mark them as billable or non-billable, and assign them to certain projects. This allows management to see where time is being spent and whether it is being dedicated to customers or internal work.
J. COLIN PETERSON
J. Colin Petersen, is President and CEO of J – I.T. Outsource, a managed I.T. services provider in Central California. Over the past 20+ years, Peterson has served nearly 20,000 end users in over 2,000 different businesses. As a Business Technologist, he serves as a Virtual Chief Information Officer for businesses of all sizes.
Response: You’d be surprised how many businesses I walk into that don’t know how to measure success, except in top line or bottom line revenue. The first step is to develop key performance indicators (or KPI’s). These might be “numbers of 5 star ratings” or “new client files opened” over a given week, month or quarter. Only you can decide what stats are truly important. Whatever those success indicators are, use some business intelligence software to collect it and report it (like Microsoft’s Power BI, or some dashboards that are built into your line of business software). Then, review and coach your team to better metrics.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Content Marketing Manager for ProjectManager.com, an award-winning project management software company based in Austin, Texas. Hughes previously led social media and content teams at Wide Open Media Group and at Rant Media Network.
Response: Measuring productivity is first about setting clear expectations and quantitative goals for your team members to work toward each day. Setting a reachable goal (one that can be achieved with moderate effort), a reach goal (very high performance) and a stretch goal (extremely high performance) is a great way to motivate the team member to go beyond minimum expectations.
With clear baselines established, it’s valuable to meet with the team member at least once a week to see how their daily activity is trending against these goals, what’s going well and can be amplified, and what isn’t going as well that can be changed to ensure strong forward momentum. As the deadline passes for the initial goals set, a review of the activity period to see how things went and what can be improved upon for the next goal period is essential to get both the leader and the team member on the same page for the future, and to establish even clearer expectations from that point forward.
Saad Khan is Sr. Manager Marketing at PureVPN.
Response: I would measure the productivity of my team on 4 important points.
- Time spent on various tasks and completion rate.
- Quality of the tasks performed and efforts put in to achieve goals.
- Attendance and participation in training programs.
- Voluntaryism and helping others in achieving their goals.
Richard Barret is CTO at Parcel Monkey, the world’s most comprehensive global shipping comparison website. As a technical co-founder, Richard has built a team and evolved the technology that has enabled the business to grow from a startup in 2010, to a global proposition that’s enabled millions of people in more than 150 countries to ship packages at competitive prices.
Response: First off, make productivity measurable by breaking projects down into concise granular tasks that can be assigned a deadline and an accountable individual. Second, make productivity visible and achievable, by managing tasks with a tool (like Trello or Asana) and working in short, iterative sprints with frequent, brief review meetings. Finally, by combining those two strategies with a lightweight reporting mechanism, you can ensure that exceptions (e.g. missed deadlines) flow back to you at the end of each sprint. This gives you the overview you need to measure both individual contributions and team performance.
Response: Productivity is an important part of business success, but leaders often run into complications on how to determine quantitatively their employee’s productivity levels. Employee monitoring is a method that can solve this by actively recording important productivity factors (i.e. time spent in applications) to discover trends and productivity levels. Once a stream of data is established, mangers can use this knowledge to help employees increase their productivity. A prime example, a manager can work with employees to eliminate a faulty software program that’s overusing their work time.
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