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HR Metrics

Tracking Productivity: What Metrics to Use

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Achieving business goals begins and ends with an efficient and highly productive workforce. Yet productivity remains a constant challenge for many businesses. This is where data comes into play. A data-driven workforce is one that uses numbers and metrics to identify trends, challenges and insights in order to stay ahead of the curve.

Using data to support your employee’s productivity can help management provide the support employees need to remain not only productive but also engaged and committed to their work.

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To improve productivity through data, begin with the metrics below.  

Employee Productivity Output

This is an old school metric. Employee productivity output has long been used to measure the overall level of each individual employee’s productivity levels. This metric is measured by dividing output by input. This measurement gives you an idea of the relationship between the time an employee spends at work and how much work they produce or complete in that time frame.

Effective measurement of employee productivity output requires specificity:

  • The output you want to measure (ex. the number of tasks completed against the deliverables laid out)
  • The specific time frame (one day, a month, a quarter, etc.)

Measuring employee productivity output has its limitations—for one, it doesn’t account for the complexity of the work being done. It’s important to keep in mind that tasks and projects can vary in difficulty, and that when working in a team setting, completing work often depends on multiple people. An employee may not finish a task on time because they’re waiting on input or support from another employee.

Attendance Rate and Absenteeism

How often your employees show up to work is an important metric for tracking productivity. Employee attendance isn’t simply a worker showing up to the office, it also considers how long they’re at the office and how many hours they’re working.

In 2019, the average Canadian worker missed 10.3 days of work (outside of vacation time). Consistent absenteeism is indicative of a problem whether it’s interpersonal, workload or something else, if your attendance rate is low, you’re likely to see a drop in productivity. To solve this issue, you’ll need to determine what the underlying issue is and then work to find a solution that solves it.

Keep in mind however that some people work faster than others, there will be cases when an employee may not need as much time to complete a task or a project, in which case you may want to consider adding more responsibility to the employee’s roster—they may be working shorter hours because they’re simply not being challenged enough.

Overtime Hours

Tracking overtime is one way to gauge the cost and output of each respective employee. Overtime is subjective, however. Context must be considered when evaluating overtime regarding productivity. How so?

Consider this, if employees are working overtime on a normal day, it suggests they are engaged, they’re interested, and they’re committed to completing their work. But if you’re seeing a trend of employees working overtime only when deadlines are looming this can be indicative of presenteeism in the workplace or that their workload is too heavy, which would suggest you may need to hire more people to lighten the load.

Easily track overtime using timesheets and timekeeping—which supports multi-source time entry.

Performance Management Supports Productivity

Finally, measuring employee performance can provide insight into their productivity. Again though, it’s important to recognize that performance is more nuanced than simply completing tasks. It’s nearly impossible to accurately measure quality with numbers. That comes down to more subjective evaluations, which is why goal setting is still an important driver for employee production.

When managers work with employees to create and outline goals, it provides a path for the employee. Goal setting aligns the employee’s role with the overall company’s goals. Goals can also help employees stay on task and give them a better understanding of their position within their team and the organization.

Performance management isn’t as simple as a year-end sit down. For it to be successful and have a positive impact on productivity it needs to be constant and include regular check-ins that provide support and guidance.

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Darwyne Lang

Darwyne Lang

Darwyne is the president and CEO of Apri Insurance Services Inc. Having worked in the industry for over 30 years, he lives the benefits business every day. He is a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU). He understand the needs, costs, misconceptions, and effects on brand and culture, and the importance of benefits for employees. No matter what he’s doing, whether for work or pleasure, Darwyne competes at a very high level. He loves to lead and innovate in everything he does.

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