Here is how to gauge your team’s productivity without undermining their motivation.

Photo by Jamie Haughton on Unsplash

It has been stated that some of the largest private businesses in the United States have systems in place to monitor the productivity of their employees, with some of these systems operating in real time. Companies want to guarantee that their remote workers aren’t slacking off while they aren’t under the careful eye of a manager, which is why they are engaging in this type of surveillance to monitor their activities.

But do these strategies assure the highest possible levels of productivity? Of course not. Recent research has shown that there are times when monitoring can be helpful, but there are also times when it can lead to wrongdoing.

The reason for this is that productivity monitoring takes away the agency of the workers. Productivity measurement, on the other hand, which is a method that is founded on openness and fairness, gives teams more authority and leads to the greatest results.

What exactly does the term “productivity” mean?

It has been asserted that all that is required to calculate productivity is to divide the amount of work done by the amount of time spent. On the other hand, according to a popular proverb, if you ask one hundred different managers to define “productivity,” you will receive one hundred different responses.

Before a team can be productive, its leaders need to first define what “productivity” means to them individually. Especially since many people in the modern workplace don’t know which tasks should come first.

It would appear that those in charge of hiring aren’t even clear what they want employees to be responsible for: According to recent research, just 41% of workers in the United States are in complete agreement that the job description they received before they were employed adequately represented what they really do.

Even if workers may be able to refer to the aims or goals of their firm, the majority of individuals are clueless about what they should be concentrating on at the individual level, which is where it truly counts. It is possible to get rid of confusion and make sure that everyone in all departments knows what should be a priority by giving workers the power to make and share lists of what they think should be a priority.

In addition to this, it enables employees to have a stronger connection to the broader objective of their firm, which is beneficial on several fronts for organizations. According to the findings of the same study, businesses that invest in their employees’ experiences in this way see a 51% reduction in absenteeism and a 29% improvement in the quality of their output at work.

How to get an accurate reading of production levels?

In order to conduct an accurate assessment of productivity, managers need to have insight into the workloads that each member of their team is responsible for. This allows them to fairly distribute tasks and establish realistic deadlines.

During sprints, it is common practice for technical teams to give consistent values to various tasks. This is one technique to guarantee that responsibilities are distributed evenly. For example, one person may handle a single difficult task while another handles two or three less demanding responsibilities.

The measurement of productivity should also take into account the importance of quality. It is irrelevant whether two teams put in the same amount of time and effort into a campaign if one of the teams is more talented than the other team working on the campaign. The quality of one is probably going to be higher than the other.

However, because it is practically difficult to quantify quality, the contributions made by employees, as well as other criteria, such as the outcomes of the campaign, are important aspects to consider when determining total productivity and effectiveness. After all, the quality of the task performed is more important than whether or not it is completed.

Why is being transparent and visible very important?

No matter what method of productivity measurement a leader decides to implement, they are obligated to be open and honest about the entire process. According to the findings of a survey that examined workplace culture during the COVID-19 epidemic, 59% of employees who reported that their workplace culture had improved since the beginning of 2020 attributed the change to better communication. It is essential for teams to recognize that any weight that is felt by the team is being equally shared and to have insight into the reasoning behind any decisions that are being taken.

The majority of approaches for assessing productivity fail to take this into account, which helps to explain why the results can be so disheartening. According to a statement made by a social worker in Rhode Island to The New York Times, “this really ruined morale.” “I found myself having a lot of trouble explaining to all of my team members, all of whom had master’s degrees in clinical practice, why we were counting their keystrokes.”

It is not the number of keystrokes or minutes spent online that determines productivity. When it comes to analyzing and boosting productivity, the most important things to focus on are efficiency and working smarter, not harder. Tracking workers’ computer time when they are not working or taking random pictures of their faces and screens to see how hard they are working is not relevant to the topic at hand.

Measuring productivity enables company leaders to make better-informed decisions regarding the allocation of resources, which ultimately helps them improve their bottom line. This has the added benefit of raising morale and enhancing staff retention. Because overall productivity is falling at the same time as labor expenses are climbing, there is no time to hesitate.

Measuring productivity is not a simple task, and yet, monitoring productivity is not an adequate substitute. We need to stop keeping track of time on the computer and start collaborating with our teams to identify effective and equitable ways to go forward.

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