The key to employee productivity: Calculating and improving the workforce

Productivity is the single most important metric for any organization. It is the driving factor behind an organization’s success—and the driving factor behind productivity is the workforce, the people who put in the work. It’s worth noting, however, that compensation plays a significant role in motivating this workforce and boosting productivity.

Employees’ connection to an organization’s success is a key reason why boosting employee productivity is critical for business growth. To that end, let’s explore the best way to boost productivity: calculating and improving the workforce.

What is employee productivity?

More precise productivity metrics pave the way for effective enhancements in employee productivity. Let’s delve into what employee productivity really signifies.

Essentially, productivity refers to the work employees achieve within a given time frame.

However, the term “employee productivity” inherently carries a certain degree of ambiguity. Productivity fluctuates based on the nature of the work, the role, the industry, and even the individual performing it.

In essence, productivity materializes in myriad ways. For example, the productivity of knowledge workers is evaluated differently from labor productivity. Even within a single team, productivity rates varies among members.

Given this diversity, it’s critical to apply a flexible approach to measuring productivity, enabling the extraction of actionable data. Indeed, high productivity is most noticeable when it’s measured in a way that reflects the unique context of the work performed.

Measuring productivity: Ways to calculate workers’ efficiency

Assessing and understanding the efficiency of workers is key to achieving your business goals because they help management make better decisions as a whole.

The classic productivity formula is to divide your output by your input. You use it to compare output and input to identify any areas where employees just aren’t working their best. Still, that’s just one of many ways to calculate workforce productivity.

Because types of work vary, measuring productivity may utilize a variety of methods. Equipping yourself with more than one way to measure productivity helps you make more precise measurements with which to make adjustments. Here are ways to assess productivity for the most accurate assessment:

Quantitative method

More than any other method of measuring productivity, quantitative methods are the most straightforward. Methods like these determine worker productivity by measuring the fruits of their labor directly.

For instance, roles in which workers create tangible products—the number of products produced—are often measured simply through product output.

Objectives and goals

Clear objectives and goals for workers don’t just improve their focus, they establish the basis by which worker productivity is measured. Breaking a project down into discrete and achievable goals presents a better perspective on the project’s progress.

Additionally, establishing a goal-based context for a project provides concrete data crunched with greater objectivity.

Task tracking

Task tracking presents the opportunity to measure productivity in a real-time, high-resolution manner. Breaking down projects into minute, incremental tasks provide a more granular outlook on their progress.

The status updates on tasks provide information on the status of worker productivity, both in-office and for remote workers.

Time vs. Results

Assessing productivity based on worker results and the amount of time in which they are completed gives useful dimensions to your measurements. Productivity rarely exists in a vacuum, and results need to be delivered on a set schedule.

By correlating produced results within a given time frame, productivity measurements are determined within a crucial context.

Service productivity

While the intangible nature of service work sometimes makes objective assessments difficult, productivity can still be measured in these fields.

The pace of customer interactions, customer satisfaction, or sales numbers in relevant roles all point to the effectiveness of your service workforce: stronger numbers mean improved productivity in your team members.

Employee churn

Methods of measuring productivity tend to look at workforce production, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The rate of employee churn, or employee turnover, indicates regressive burnout amongst your workforce.

An endless procession of onboarding and offboarding employees is a critical inefficiency that weakens productivity. Employee churn is a measurement worth knowing (and one reason human resources is so important).

How to increase productivity in the workplace?

With a better understanding of employee productivity and how to measure it, let’s turn to the most important question of all: how to increase productivity in the workplace.

The incentive to promote productivity is clear. Improved productivity delivers improved results for businesses. Happier employees tend to produce better results, so productivity and employee mental health go hand-in-hand. Implementing strategies that benefit the workforce and the business creates a synergistic, sustainable business model that optimizes productivity.

As established, productivity varies greatly between roles, industries, and employees. However, there are general principles that promote productivity growth regardless of context. Here are a few factors that increase productivity to consider:

Encourage professional growth for employees

Your workforce is the key driver of productivity. Clear performance metrics guide their career and developmental paths, boosting productivity. By fostering professional growth through certifications, higher education, and other development programs, you’re empowering your team to excel, benefiting both them and your organization.

Equip the team with new technology and tools

To get more from your employee performance throughout the workday, give your team what they need to do their jobs. Empower them with new technology or tools that make their workflows and collaboration cross-functionally easier. Equipping your workforce with toolkits or technological materials that optimize their performance directly translates into higher productivity.

Foster company culture

Happy employees are productive employees. A healthy company culture increases employee engagement in an organization by creating an atmosphere that fosters a sense of fulfillment in the workforce. If your employees take pride in their work, they’ll be eager to get more done.

Align team goals and strategies

Your workforce can’t work at their best if their goals clash. It’s imperative to create coherent strategies that align teams with complementary goals. When teams work together as one, watch as your workers’ efficiency skyrockets.

Incentivize employees through total rewards

Beyond monetary rewards, consider non-monetary incentives to motivate your workforce. Total rewards programs, which include elements like work-life balance, learning opportunities, and recognition, effectively drive productivity, fostering a positive and engaged work environment.

Recognize great results and hard work

Treating your people like machines is a good way to burn them out. When employees produce quality results, give them the recognition they deserve. When their hard work is recognized, they’ll be more likely to keep up their efforts and be more productive.

Main factors that affect productivity

Engaging your workforce directly is a great way to maximize productivity. But there’s more to reaching peak productivity than the workforce. Structural components that affect the workforce and the workplace have an impact as well.

Therefore, optimizing the main factors that inform employee productivity is an improvement of the overall structure of their workplace, delivering more productive results.

Consider how these factors affect overall productivity to create a more productive work environment for your workforce.

Work-life balance and wellbeing

As more industries make the transition to hybrid work or remote work models, employees who prefer them cite a healthier work-life balance as an especially alluring feature. An overworked workforce produces diminishing returns.

A fulfilling work-life balance contributes to an individual employee’s sense of well-being. Promoting balance creates more fulfilled employees, reduces burnout, and improves productivity.

Time management and optimization

Time management in the workplace sets the standard for productivity. Inefficient and unclear time management creates obstacles to effective productivity. Optimizing time management from the top down creates a workplace environment that promotes efficiency and creates results.

Employee training

Because employees are integral to productivity, proper employee training is a necessity. When onboarding new team members, a fast, effective training program gets them up to speed so they can get right to work.
Workplace conditions

A quality workplace is conducive to a productive workforce. Alternatively, poor workplace conditions hinder the employee’s ability to get things done. Improving the work environment increases workplace productivity, removing structural obstacles that hold back employees.

Schedule flexibility

For all the stability produced by a fixed schedule, the reality is that unforeseen elements turn the strengths of rigid scheduling into a weakness. Adaptability in a scheduling program helps employers stay productive when complications arise.

Furthermore, flexibility in work hours suits employees; it allows them to make adjustments that promote wellness and a better work-life balance.

Career development opportunities

Increasing employee retention keeps seasoned, high-skill employees in your workforce. Additionally, high retention staves off the unproductive effects of employee churn. Offering career development opportunities to employees incentivizes them to stay for the long term; not only do businesses retain veteran employees, but these opportunities also create a more skilled workforce.

Build an incentive plan, boost productivity

Businesses have a clear incentive to increase their productivity levels because it means they have more products to sell or clients to service. Measuring productivity gives insight into how you can boost it for more profitable results.

Productivity drives profits, and your workforce drives productivity. Therefore, it follows that profitability starts with the workforce; the more productive they are, the more profitable the businesses.

The best way to increase productivity is by incentivizing quality work from the workforce. For that reason, many businesses have implemented incentive plans that compensate employees based on their productive output.

By rewarding employees for a job well done, employers stand to benefit from increased profits, a portion of which sustains incentive plans—they pay for themselves.

Incentive plans live up to their name; employers and employees alike have a financial incentive. See how they can work for your business today.