The are many problems associated with trying to measure productivity in any business. Each member of staff is a completely different human and no two are the same. Some will excel while others struggle and often amongst the same members of your staff these areas can be interchangeable; Tony might be great on the phone and converting to sales but struggles with the administration which slows down his performance, where Mike might be the exact opposite, his admin skills are fantastic, if only he was good on the phone…
In a recent internal study by Creditfix they identified that there are so many outside influences it’s really quite a challenge to create a realistic measurement and a comparison to the industry you operate in. Illness, tardiness, enthusiasm, poor traffic, power cuts, family commitments, emergencies, breakages, personal and workplace accidents; any one thing can hold up performance, throw in four or five and you’re losing way more than you ever imagined you could.
So what should you measure productivity?
Ask yourself this about each member of your team; are they producing what they’re meant to? It doesn’t matter if it’s sales, manufacturing or lead generation, all that matters to you is are they fulfilling your expectations?
Next, you need to ask if they use the resources they have at hand as well as they can to maximise their efficiency?
And do they regularly look for and find ways to improve how they work in order to simplify their tasks or boost their output?
Measuring Productivity and efficiency
It’s not always simple but if you can you need to measure staff output. How many products do they make each day? How many calls do they answer and issues do they resolve? How many posts do they write or how many logos, brochures or leaflets are they designing? These will all help you gather information on their productivity.
Then you must take a look at the quality of the work to make sure that their efficiency matches up to their productivity. Without a good product or service it doesn’t matter how many units your staff are producing, they’re all going to get returned, complained about or rejected, and that won’t make you the profit you need to.
Another measure of how effective your staff are is by their attendance. They might have some great numbers showing their productivity and efficiency but imagine how much more they could achieve if they weren’t constantly late or missing days ill or from other eventualities? And if they’re supposed to be answering telephone enquiries can you even estimate the amount of sales or leads you’ll have dropped if there’s nobody there to pick up the call?
Time-management isn’t always a skill that will affect productivity but it can easily damage sales figures and cash flow if your staff are picking the wrong projects or part-projects to concentrate on. If they pick the work they prefer and keep missing deadlines for the tasks should have made a priority then that’s going to cost you too.
How to use this information to your advantage
By measuring and reviewing your staff performance you are in a better position to see how they perform against other team members, how they perform in the eyes of your clients and how much money and profit they bring into the business and what it costs you to employ them to do so. By monitoring these items you can make positive and accurate estimations of their worth to the company which you can then compare to other members of your business, and by looking at your team as a whole you can work out a forecast of the workload you could manage, against the workload you have processed. Also using this information, should you be able to find the matching sector of the industry you operate in, you will be able to compare yourselves to your competition and see how much better or worse you are doing than them by comparison.
You will also be able to use this regular reviewing to see where the strengths and weaknesses of the staff and business as a whole are, how you can improve them, and how in turn that will boost the productivity and efficiency of the business. Training and coaching, assistance and understanding will go a long way to improving not only your staff’s skillsets but also their moral and one of the biggest factors in staff productivity is their enthusiasm for the job; a happy employee works hard for his company, an unhappy employee will more than likely spend most of his day wishing they could go home.
Production and productivity tools
There are myriad tools to measure productivity today. Some of the best don’t even look like they’re measuring productivity. A good workflow application will not only give you an idea of who’s doing what and when but if they’re getting it done on time. It will also get your staff communicating effectively from wherever they are whether they have the time at that particularly moment to talk or not.
Tools such as Basecamp, Monday, DeskTime, iDoneThis, Trello, 15Five, Salesforce, Asana, Pipedrive, and many, many more all set up communications between staff about projects the business has to complete. Every project will include each of the members responsible for its completion. They can mark when they expect to carry each item out, the estimated time it will take to complete and any additional tasks they will need other team members to carry out to make it at all possible or to speed up the process. The manager can oversee all of this information at any time to see where any hold-ups are, where work isn’t getting done, who isn’t doing it so they can then explore why.
Basecamp users check off task when completed, Monday has apps available on iOS and Android so your staff can keep updated wherever they are, whether using the desktop software or on location using a mobile device. iDoneThis sends out an email reminder so each member can update their day’s achievements for the rest of the team to view the following day – like a team meeting first thing without the meeting! They are almost always cloud based so nobody is ever out of the office – even when they are!
And finally; outing the office slacker…
One last type of software that is worth considering amongst larger teams is the staff monitoring system.
Try WorkiQ, Veriato, SoftActivity or Kickidler. You can install software that secretly watches your employees’ computer activity. It watches for how much time they spend on productive work apps and software, relevant websites but also when they’re on social media, gaming sites, personal pages or non-productive websites when they should be working. Some systems utilise video to record the inappropriate use and key-logging to record information directly from your team’s keyboards to monitor what they have been typing when they should have been working; they use a whole host of ways to measure computer use to show if your staff are an efficient and honest working member of your team or whether it’s time to hand out those verbal, written or final warnings – and maybe even if they should