We all want to be productive, but productivity isn’t something you can enforce on others. The productivity of your employees will depend on many factors that you won’t be able to control – like their health, motivation, unforeseen events, etc.
Some things you do have control over, though. You can help your employees stay productive by paying attention to their work environment and putting effective workflows and systems in place. And you can measure their output to see what needs improving.
Measuring time and productivity can get tricky since every employee has a unique personality and working style. It takes a skilled manager who’s objective and insightful to decide if a team member is effective, struggling, or overly thorough.
Here are a few individual productivity guidelines to get you inspired:
1. Track your employees’ time
If you’re not already tracking your employees’ time, you really should. Not necessarily to question their choices, but rather to understand how your employees respond to tasks and challenges.
A significant part of workplace management is tracking your employees’ work and break time, as well as diving deeper into how much time they logged for each project and task.
You can also look into how many breaks your employees are taking, paid time off or sick leave, as well as absenteeism or whether your employees get to work on time.
You can easily accomplish this with a Time Tracker, where you have the option to approve your employee’s time entries and have a bird’s eye view of how your team is performing.
2. Track tasks and set clear objectives
Evaluating your employees on the number of hours worked may seem straightforward, but it’s not the best indicator for productivity. You also need to check how well they’ve performed on the tasks you’ve assigned them.
Did they understand the goals? Did some of them fail to meet deadlines or do you have employees who regularly overdeliver? What tasks took most of their time and why? Keep task difficulty in mind when deciding if your employee was effective.
Time Tracker also has the option of creating tasks and projects where your employees can check in, so you can easily correlate the difficulty of a task with the time spent on it.
3. Evaluate client satisfaction
You may have superstar employees who seem to blaze through assignments faster than most of their coworkers. Before you congratulate them, it wouldn’t hurt to get a little suspicious of their performance. They may be fast, but are they really doing a stellar job?
What better way to find out than ask the end recipient of their work – your client? You can send a quick survey, email, or call your clients to make sure they’re satisfied. Ask them to rate your employee’s services, handling time, etc., and see how they respond.
Any negative feedback should be cause for alarm and a clear sign that your employees value quantity over quality. This brings us to our next point:
4. Place value on work quality
An employee’s ability to get things done depends largely on their ability to focus and take their time with the task at hand. Unfortunately, many workers confess to being burnt out and perpetually behind at work. Taking their time is often not an option.
As a leader, you need to ask yourself – is the company culture sending the right message? Do you push your workers to meet impossible quotas, and are they perhaps working at an unsustainable rhythm?
Or are some employees simply struggling because they’re not a good fit for the job? Managers should put their detective cap on and investigate all the possible reasons why the quality of a product or service may suffer and address them immediately.
It may be that your employees need to get better at time management, or that you should set better work priorities – or both. Whatever the reason, there’s always room for improvement.
5. Set a good example
Lastly, don’t just measure your employee’s time and productivity. Start with measuring your own. All the decisions you make throughout a workday as a manager can have ripple effects on your team’s work.
Can you improve your work environment? Are you good at delegating tasks you struggle with? What about self-care and taking time off? The more you investigate your own productivity dips, the more you’ll have an idea about what your team members are dealing with.
So track and measure as many of these factors as you can, and do it frequently. Only then will you have a clear idea of how to improve, and how to appreciate the people who are a great asset to your company.