Using Productivity Metrics

View the Productivity Metrics video here.

How do you measure productivity? Which are your most productive team members? In this article, we’ll discuss how to use productivity metrics to give you a way to measure team member’s productivity.

What Are Productivity Metrics #

Productivity metrics are just a way of being able to assign numbers or quantities so you can measure productivity. These are also called key performance indicators or KPIs.

Who Is More Productive? #

Let’s say Martin works long hours and goes home late every night. Susan goes home on time to be with her kids. So Martin is the harder worker and more productive, right?

What if both work in sales and Susan sells nearly twice as much as Martin while working half the time? Now, who is more productive?

This actually happened to me in real life. I worked in a bank and had to help people with loans, mortgages and investments. I would have a lot of client files on the go at any time – perhaps 25-40. My co-workers would stack these files on the side of their desk.

What You Measure Gets Focused On #

When you measure something for productivity and let your team know you are measuring it, they pay attention.

While working at one banking firm, we were trying to get our staff to promote more Visa cards, retirement savings plan referrals and some other products. No matter how many times we held meetings, nothing seemed to work.

So I made a huge board in the lunch room with the names of each staff member along with their sales that month for each product. Instantly, the sales jumped because they knew they were being tracked. It also created some friendly competition. One day, I caught one of my staff members looking at the board, muttering under her breath. I asked her what it was about and she was frustrated because she was in the #2 position and couldn’t catch the #1 person. I pointed out to her that she only worked 2 days a week and the other person worked 5 days. I showed her that when we took into account this difference, she was actually #1 and her performance review from me would reflect this.

So this board was even motivating part time staff.

Why Don’t More Offices Use Productivity Metrics? #

So, if measuring productivity is more effective than looking at who stays late, why don’t more offices use it?

Here are some common reasons for offices not using productivity metrics:

  • Managers don’t really know what staff do
  • No one has taken the time to determine clear outcomes for each job
  • No one has designed the activities for each job to attain the outcomes

How To Set A Productivity Metric #

Here are the steps to setting your first productivity metric:

  1. Determine the desired outcome or output
  2. Determine what activities should achieve the desired outcome
  3. Determine how to measure the outcome results
  4. Determine how to measure the activities that lead to the desired outcome

Productivity Metric Example: Sales #

Probably one of the most used metrics in many organization is sales. We are used to monitoring sales, so it is a natural one to start with. But we need to measure more than just the volume of sales, we also need to measure the activities that generate sales such as the number of client calls each week, prospecting emails, networking groups attended and more.

Example 2: Efficiency Metrics #

For non-sales staff, you can focus on their tasks. You can measure such things as:

  • # of tasks processed
  • Average time to complete tasks
  • Delivery on time

Example 3: Customer Satisfaction #

Customer satisfaction is a critical productivity metric because it has a huge impact on sales and your reputation.

Here are some metrics you can implement:

  • wait times
  • feedback

You can obtain customer feedback from customer surveys and from customer support software. If you have your entire team using support software, you should easily be able to track how fast customers are being helped by each support agent and how happy customers are with their support.

Training Metrics #

Employee training can be tracked by tracking such metrics as:

  • number of training modules completed
  • knowledge and skills testing

Individual Goals #

Each team member should have specific goals that their progress is measured on. Here are some tips on creating individual employee goals:

  • Goals must be specific for each employee
  • Must be measurable and controllable
  • Focus on a few key goals rather than many trivial ones
  • Must be communicated to the employee

Skewed Results #

Sometimes circumstances can skew results. Be aware of things like:

  • Changes in the local economy that affected sales
  • Single large projects that affected tracking

Be adaptable and look at other metrics as well.

An example of this is a woman I knew who worked in a company branch were sales were declining each year because of a change in the area. There was a large loss of jobs in the area and people were moving away. She was given aggressive sales targets but could never meet them.

Eventually she transferred to a branch in a subdivision in a high growth area and became a leader in sales, winning some sales awards. In both cases, her skills and efforts were the same, but she didn’t have the same opportunity in her old branch.

How to Track Productivity Metrics #

Now that you have set employee goals and know what activities and outcomes you want to track, how do you track them? Here are a few methods:

  1. Spreadsheets: Spreadsheets can track anything, but do take time to fill out. I use spreadsheets for tracking data I can’t get elsewhere or as a way of pulling together data from multiple sources.
  2. Task management systems: A good quality task management system really helps with activity tracking. The tool I use for this is Teamwork Projects.
  3. Sales tracking: Can be tracked in your regular accounting or sales tracking system. Make sure you have a way to track the source of each sale so you know which team member to credit.
  4. Support ticket systems: Can track wait times, satisfaction levels, which agents are more productive and more.

Make Metrics Part of Your Culture #

It is critical to make metrics part of your culture. Don’t just assume the person burning the midnight oil is your hardest worker.

New hires should be shown how their productivity will be measured on their first day of work. Productivity metrics should form the basis of your performance reviews, promotion and salary increase decisions. Rewards MUST be tied to REAL metrics.

Not sure how to implement  productivity metrics in your organization? Contact me for a free initial consultation. Please share this article and video with others.

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