Productivity is the measurement of outputs generated per inputs utilized in the production of that output. Most of us consider productivity in relation to our goals or expectations. If we didn’t, it would essentially just be another number. In essence, it wouldn’t be relative to anything meaningful. Productivity measures can be applied to tangible assets such as machines or facilities to monitor output per machine, or per facility, etc. but this blog will focus on the productivity of employees. Why? Because the outputs our businesses generate and in the case of “Work from Home” the manner in which we manage employees has been significantly impacted. So the question is, “How do we best manage employee productivity in this environment?”
By measuring productivity, we gain perspectives on the effectiveness and efficiency associated with achieving our goals. Once we’ve established goals and expectations achieving productivity levels that reach or exceed goals is dependent upon the effective use of Monitoring, Accountability, and Coaching.
Remember the old adage, “What gets monitored gets done.” Well let’s think about that. Certainly, we’d want to monitor the end result that drives goal attainment, but do we need to monitor all the steps in the process to obtain that? The answer, generally is, probably not. Think about what steps or events provide an indication that everything is leading toward your intended result. In other words, if while monitoring a specific event or action you noticed a significant deviation from norm would you be able to intervene and correct or capitalize on that activity. If so, it may very well be an activity worth monitoring. So, if you have someone doing outbound calls to schedule appointments with prospects, do you need to know how many calls were made on a daily basis, or do you just need to know how many appointments were made.
The point here is that you should measure as close to the intended result as possible. How the employee achieves the result is less important in the monitoring phase.
The next key component of increasing productivity is “Accountability”. Clearly identify whose job it is to achieve the results. In our example above it’s likely the employee making the calls that is responsible for securing the intended number of appointments. This is a critical distinction. While the manager may have the overall responsibility for their performance, it’s not up to them to secure the appointments. Therefore, be sure this is clearly understood when asking someone to contribute to the achievement of the goals.
If the employee understands this, and is willing to accept this responsibility, then it’s incumbent upon the manager to provide the employee with a say in how it gets achieved. That’s not to say that the organization may not have a tried and true process, but to say that the employee should be able to offer, and deploy, potential adaptations to the process that would make them more efficient & effective. If you’re going to hold them accountable, they should be allowed a say in how to best achieve the result.
First, for more information on managerial coaching of employees read my previous blog, “Keys to Coaching for Performance.” Coaching employees to greater productivity starts with the Accountability discussion that includes having the employee define the practices or processes they will be utilizing to achieve the objective. Once this is established, the manager and employee should determine what is to be monitored as productivity measures. At this point everyone is in agreement, and both the manager and the employee have committed to a course of action. Then establish the frequency for update meetings. (i.e. coaching conversations) When these occur it is incumbent upon the manager to ask the employee for updates and when problems arise have the employee develop solutions and course corrections. The manager may offer suggestions, but it’s up to the employee to choose the direction and perform to the expectations.
With this approach employee engagement is very high, they feel supported by, not controlled by, their manager, and together they will achieve greater productivity.
One Last Point
When things falter, and the manager and employee begin to explore cause and solutions, managers should be wary of accepting “excuses”. Excuses are the psychological hurdles impacting the employee’s performance. Managers should have the employee devise a solution to eliminate the “excuses”. In this manner, the employee is responsible to address them and remains accountable for their performance. Typically, you’ll find that the challenges reside in Time, “How the employee is spending their time.”, Energy, “How much energy is the employee putting into the task.” and Attention, “Is the employee focused on the task at hand.” Help them identify any issues in Time, Energy, or Attention and you’ll give them a great start on identifying a more productive approach.
If your business needs to increase productivity or performance request a FREE Strategic Business Assessment by contacting me at https://strategicorientation.com/contact/. And, for more key tips on business success check out my other blogs at https://www.StrategicOrientation.com/Blog and connect with me on Linked In.