Tracking employee productivity is an essential part of any business because it brings with it the potential for a high ROI.
The problem is that most employers focus too broadly; that is, on the overall team productivity instead of the individual.
In this article, we will go over why focusing on workforce productivity at the individual level is the foundation of enterprise-wise productivity.
The Importance Of Productivity For Large Enterprise Teams
The core goal of a business is to make money, primarily by increasing revenue.
Businesses rely on employees to increase revenue. Individual employees have their own set of skills and duties that allow them to work as an individual part in the overall mechanics of a business.
You may think that large corporations and enterprise teams can succeed easily due to their massive workforce. After all, with so many employees, would productivity really suffer if a small percentage of individual employees don’t pull their weight?
The answer is yes.
Many businesses (both large and small) place most of their focus on overall productivity when they should be equally -- or even more -- focused on individual productivity.
The difference in focus between individual and overall productivity can be viewed as micro vs. macro-level productivity.
Micro-Level Individual Productivity vs. Enterprise-Wide Productivity
Micro-level individual productivity refers to the productivity of each employee; whereas, enterprise-wide productivity refers to the overall productivity of a team or business.
The two are inseparably linked, no doubt. But they also call for differing strategic approaches.
The most common approach to organizational productivity is to assess it from a high level. To look at outputs like revenue, customers, production levels, internal quotas, and other indicators in aggregate over time.
This “big picture” approach to productivity provides a clear, evolving snapshot of company-wide productivity. However, it's important to delve even deeper.
That’s because, just looking at productivity from a high vantage point may obscure vital productivity insights.
Productive Teams Can Still Contain Unproductive Employees
What many employers or business owners sometimes overlook is that you can have unproductive employees and still be an overall productive team.
This is why it’s not uncommon for business teams to overlook the importance of individual productivity. After all, if KPIs and goals are being met in a timely fashion, why fix something that’s not broken?
This way of thinking can lead to businesses never realizing their full potential.
For companies to reach their upper limits of potential it is, then, to understand the productivity of each employee in a team.
Analyzing productivity at an individual level means less productive employees can be provided with additional support or training to become more productive. And productive employees can be further recognized for their performance.
The end result? More productive employees that boost organization-wide productivity levels.
100% Employee Productivity All the Time is Unrealistic
Naturally, in any organization there will be individual employees who aren’t maximizing productivity and prevent teams from producing maximum outputs.
But, this doesn’t mean you should expect employees to be productive 100% of the time every single day. This simply isn’t realistic.
Instead, the focus should be on optimizing the productivity of each employee, while allowing for down time and ebbs and flows of productivity throughout the day. That said, it’s important to have clear baselines for productivity. That way, if productivity levels consistently fall below them, you can take action.
When individual productivity is optimized, maximum output is produced and the business can achieve its goals (both financial goals and others) with speed, which is crucial for the success of any business… no matter the size or the industry.
How to Foster Individual Productivity
How to best produce productivity in teams is a common subject of debate.
The truth is there are many ways to instill productivity in employees; for now, we will focus on ways you can do this from a top down organizational level.
At its base level, productivity is a combination of time, ability and drive. That is, employees need the time, skill (trained or inherent), and drive to get their work done and achieve company goals.
There are six ways that employers can help foster these three core pillars or productivity:
- Optimize the processes within your business so employees have the time to be productive and do their work effectively.
- Keep your business goals widely known so employees know what they are working towards.
- Allow space for employees to engage in decision-making and suggestions for the business.
- Hire employees that have proven their worth in previous positions.
- Engage employees in any way possible, including incentives, groups, teams, events, programs, etc.
- Track and quantify overall employee productivity to understand how and why your employees do their best work. .
The Importance of Productivity Benchmarking
Increasing employee productivity in the workplace is a task that vexes company leaders everywhere. After all, high productivity is the holy grail for top tier performance.
One of the best ways to boost employee productivity is through productivity benchmarking.
Productivity benchmarks allow you to see how your employees perform over time and in comparison with each other. They enable you to model the winning behaviors of your most productive employees, and provide support to others.
Benchmarking performance at a micro-level is essential. If performance is not meticulously tracked and analyzed, it is impossible to know whether the maximum output is being produced.
With increasingly sophisticated enterprise productivity tools now available, business productivity benchmarking has become easier.
Using Software to Bridge the Gap from Concept to Reality
As a manager, productivity is central to team performance. But, when looking out across an office, or communicating online with remote employees, it can be a hard thing to measure.
After all, looking productive and being productive are two very different things. Here, like so many other places in our modern world, software is the answer.
A productivity tracker software can, based on employee activity and work output, objectively calculate productivity levels. At both a micro- and macro- level, productivity tracking software gives businesses the ability to benchmark team performance and optimize accordingly.