Improved productivity means more profit, so measure your business' performance and take action.
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In any given company, productivity is typically measured by a 6-month or annual review. A manager will look at the work done, input from peers and managers, and conclude whether or not an employee is performing at a sufficient level.
This way of measuring productivity, however, has many flaws and inaccuracies. For example: maybe this employee is friends with their reviewers, which can give a biased result.
To find out if each team member is productive, math has to be introduced at some point. It is impossible to measure productivity of a team without taking each member individually and calculating what they bring to the table -- or what they don’t.
The basic measure of productivity is amount of output divided by the amount of input.
Since many employees, especially in small businesses, wear many hats, you’ll have to measure productivity various times to get an accurate count. But if you want to know how your employees are performing, follow these steps to calculate productivity.
Step 1: Establish a Measurement Unit
Establishing a measurement unit can be difficult. For an oil change car shop it’s easier - how many oil changes in an 8 hour day or in 1 hour. For jobs in IT, it can be harder, but a measurement unit can be made.
For your IT department, it can be how many ticketed issues successfully solved in one day. This of course has to be measured constantly because certain ticketed issues take more time. Perhaps measuring over the course of a month makes more sense in this example. Set up a specific timeline can help as well.
If it’s impossible to have your measurement unit fit in an eight-hour day, quantify productivity by how long it takes to complete a certain project- whether it be two weeks or one month.
It’s OK if you take one simple aspect of someone’s job to measure how productive they are in that area. For marketers, for example, perhaps measure how productive they are at writing social media posts.
How many posts can they write in one hour -- and, more importantly, how many of those are error-free, client-approved, and ready to go live.
Productivity is speed, but also accuracy and quality
Step 2: Measure Constantly and Account for Variables
There are going to be certain variables that must be accounted for. For the IT department, it will be junior versus senior developers, the latter being able to work more quickly. You will want to measure consistently using technology to track patterns.
For agencies, there can always be a client interruption (say an emergency that needs more attention), so those measurements are going to be altered as well. It’s important that you measure constantly - don’t just measure 1 hour, measure 1 hour every other day for a month. You will then start to see real productivity levels.
Step 3: Compare to Baseline and Expectations
It’s important to set a baseline or goals. Perhaps this is a goal of what you expect of each employee or what you consider a “productive employee”. You can then begin to see if an employee actually meets your expectations.
After time, you should be able to see some consistencies. Maybe a IT developer completes 10 ticketed issues in 1 day, but each of them have follow up maintenance issues. In that case, the productivity is zero (productivity = 0/10), as the output would be zero, even though the input is 10.
Perhaps your marketing professional writes 10 social media posts in 1 hour, making the productivity 10, and another staff member writes 15 in 1 hour, making the productivity 15. This enables you to see if a staff member is lacking, if there are other issues, and where campaigns can be adjusted.
Step 4: Evaluate Team as a Whole
Next step is the look at the team as a whole. What works and what does not work? That is going to be key. You may find certain team members are not productive enough for their position and might need to be let go, while others simply need more guidance or to be placed on different projects.
It’s important to look at productivity levels across the board and on a team level. You may realise certain team members are not productive working together - perhaps they don’t get along or they don’t have a good working rhythm.
Try to seek out patterns and inconsistencies just based on math. Measuring productivity this way takes out the relationship element when it comes to evaluating an employee. It’s easy to be swayed because we really like a person, but it’s important to realise if they are productive or not.
Some people just seem to click in a working environment
Step 5: Edit Tasks and Ownership to Make Team More Productive
At this point you will have a good idea of who is productive, who needs a different set of tasks, who needs a push, and who is standing out in the team, so should be rewarded. This gives you a chance to see key players in your team that may have gone unnoticed.
After you have all of these mathematical facts, you will be able to shake up your team and edit tasks. Your key players can perhaps take more leadership role and be a mentor for team members that aren’t keeping up with the work.
Measuring productivity in this way helps to stay unbiased and keep everyone on a level playing field. While it can be difficult to discover units of measurement, it’s important to truly understand if your team is productive or not.
This productivity scale can help improve work output making your company more successful and resourceful at the same time.