The Holy Grail of Increasing Productivity
Every company claims they want to increase productivity. Especially in light of the cycles where the economy retrenched and companies slashed costs as low as possible. Cutting costs is an easy way to goose profitability in the short term, but in the long term it doesn’t provide any competitive advantage unless you’re talking on the scale of an Amazon or a Walmart.
For the rest of us, we need to look at other ways to stay competitive, and one of those ways is looking to increase and improve productivity of employees.
And there’s the rub. As we started out saying, everyone says they want increased productivity. But the problem is two-fold. First, how do you even define “productivity”? Second, once defined, how do you quantifiably measure it?
The 30 Day Plan to Improving Employee Productivity
Here’s a common sense and realistic way for organizations to improve their productivity within one month, regardless if they have a human resources department or not.
Day 1 – Commit to create a plan and follow through on it. As the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Too many of the best laid plans fall to the wayside for lack of execution, and as the saying goes in business: “ideas are cheap, execution is everything”.
Day 7 – Create a proper communication protocol before rolling out the new initiative. Ensure that all stakeholders are properly informed about the goals of the plan and what the benefits will be for the company as a whole and for themselves as an individual.
Day 10 – Decide on what metrics to measure. This will likely depend on the job duties of the employee. For some it may be quite straightforward and obvious. For example, those in manufacturing would have an easier time deciding what items to measure than say a knowledge worker whose job duties are wide ranging and more vague. For the latter category, say those in programming or marketing, other indirect ways to measure “diligence” may include measuring things such as their active or inactive time on the computer, the time spent on different applications, which websites they are visiting or the number of keystrokes per minute.
MySammy’s cloud-based productivity measurement tool provides just this type of monitoring and analysis for your knowledge workers, whether they are working remotely or at the office.
Day 12 – Set milestones and rewards. If their active or inactive time is one of the metrics, set milestones and the associated rewards that come with hitting those goals. For instance, the MySammy case study outlines a real-world example of how an employee benefited with a greater number of days allowed to work from home as she met certain milestones of 80%, then 85% active computer time.
Day 15 – Select the appropriate tools for measurement. For employees whose job duties produce regular output, for example loan processing, this is much easier. But as the job duties become broader and more vague, or if the employee works remotely, the number of available tools start to shrink. MySammy can be a valuable tool as part of a holistic measurement of diligence and productivity.
Day 18 – Ensure compliance. For tools that require installation and activation by employees, make sure all are up and running. This may require manual installation and configuration for each workstation rather than leaving it up to the employees to self-install.
Day 20 – Measure a baseline. Once the tools have been installed, take a baseline measurement of the current situation to which future improvements or regressions can be measured against.
Day 23 – Monitor initial data. Closely monitor the data streaming in and make adjustments on the fly to optimize tracking efforts.
Day 30 – Compare the data to the initial baseline and create adjustments.
It is entirely possible to create a plan and system to improve productivity and performance within 30 days, as our outline above shows.
MySammy can provide invaluable data to help with your efforts. Click here to try MySammy for free today by choosing the plan that fits your business needs the closest.
Wikipedia has an in-depth piece on the concept of productivity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Productivity.
The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics has the “Government Productivity Archive”: http://www.bls.gov/lpc/iprpf1.htm.
A 2011 report by the GSA outlines the challenges of “Knowledge Worker Productivity”: http://www.gsa.gov/graphics/admin/KnowledgeWorkerProductivity_Final6811.pdf.
Article that summarizes the challenge of “Measuring Knowledge Worker Productivity”: http://cims.ncsu.edu/cims_newsletter/spring-2009/measuring-knowledge-worker-productivity/.