How to Track Employee Productivity

by Linda Ray; Updated September 26, 2017

How to Track Employee Productivity

Tracking employee productivity involves both subjective and objective accounting. Measuring the numbers your sales team produces is relatively easy, but figuring out how well your administrative and non-sales support team is working requires a different set of tools and a combination of finesse and mathematics.

Identify Key Metrics

The first step in tracking employees’ productivity is to identify measurable tasks, goals or processes. Clearly defined goals allow your staff to understand what is expected of them and how their performance will be measured. Provide employees with goals and allow them to come up with suggestions for tasks that can be quantified and for which they can be accountable.

Metrics tracked through a dashboard or other monitoring device could include:

• Number of calls taken

• Number of leads generated

• Number of customers served

• Number of meetings attended

• Number of letters written

Warning:

If you cannot identify the tasks that can measure productivity, then you need to take a step back. Incomplete employee evaluation strategies end up being purely subjective when goals aren’t clearly defined. Additionally, employees don’t completely understand their roles in the big picture of reaching company goals when they can’t measure their progress, which ultimately can lead to disengagement.

Engage Employees to Measure Productivity

In its 2014 report, “State of the American Workplace” Gallup used surveys to measure employee productivity based on their level of engagement with their jobs.

“Workplaces that disengage their workers suffer from lower productivity, are less likely to create new jobs, and are more likely to be reducing their workforce,” states the report. “And if American companies do not find a way to engage more of their workers, they will struggle to create more jobs, making it difficult for the U.S. to achieve real, sustainable economic growth in the near future.”

To achieve the highest level of employee engagement, while monitoring productivity and measuring outcomes, include your staff in employee evaluation strategies. Track employee productivity with a combination of employee evaluation strategies.

Bring in operational dashboards like the devices reported in Inside Analysis. Give employees movement tracking sensors as mentioned by the Harvard Business Review to measure electronic information in real time. But rely heavily on self-evaluations, employee surveys and manager feedback to engage employees to participate in self-monitoring because they want to, not because you’re watching.

Recognize Company Culture

Measuring the amount of time someone spends on personal email or checking social media accounts actually may be counterproductive, according to time-management author Laura Vanderkam. That kind of scrutiny alienates employees and can lead to distrust and resentment.

Instead, consider the company culture and how it affects morale, tracking employees and productivity. Managers and small business owners who rely on results instead of micro-managing employees’ every move tend to receive greater buy-in and company loyalty. Extra time spent talking with co-workers and a few visits to personal websites actually may improve productivity.

Tip:

Monitor your own activities for a few weeks before tracking employees to get a feel for the electronic intrusion. Examine your own feelings about how your time is being watched. Determine if you actually can measure all productivity on a daily basis and figure out what kinds of interruptions may in fact be helping your overall productivity.

About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."