Measuring Employee Productivity...with Data!

When you’re managing a lot of people across multiple shifts in multiple roles within your organization, it’s hard to nail down all that data, combine it, and analyze it in a way that makes sense. Maybe you don’t want to/don’t have the budget to hire a data guru—but you need to know important information to improve your day-to-day business processes.Monitoring every minute of your employees’ day can cross the line into Big Brother creepiness. In Europe, for example, supermarket chain Tesco has its warehouse employees wearing armbands ostensibly to scan stock, but Tesco is also using it to measure how fast employees walk. And how long it takes to use the bathroom. Evidently, they have an allotted amount of time for scheduled toilet breaks and unauthorized breaks mess with their metrics. The goal? To get workers to work twice as fast, of course, and to punish them when they don’t deliver.

Reducing The Creep Factor

The key to using metrics is to improve performance by figuring out what slows your workers down, not to intrude on their lives with constant scrutiny. UPS used data analysis to reorganize its routes for optimal fuel consumption, and the “right turn only” rule alone saved the company over a million gallons of fuel per year. By laying out guidelines for efficient routes, engine idling, and other cost-saving strategies, they managed to save a ton of money without timing bathroom breaks. (Yuck!) Smart use of metrics is one of the reasons UPS can offer competitive pricing, high pay and great benefits, and still rake in big profits.

Respecting Your Employees

The best way to not turn into the company nobody wants to work for is to make sure employees know what you’re monitoring and why. When put in terms of benefits – if we can raise production by figuring out what slows you down, we can afford to pay you more – employees will gladly participate.

You may also want to reduce anxiety by assuring them that checking their personal email or taking a mental break on Facebook for a few minutes during the day will not get them fired. Since they are going to surf the web, it’s better to set some ground rules than ban personal web access altogether. Remember, they can always circumvent a browsing ban by using personal devices you can’t monitor, and if they resent the company boot on their necks, they’ll goof off a lot more.

Data Collection

It’s a simple fact that every business collects data; from sales figures, customer service feedback, financial trend analysis, and other metrics that measure how the company is performing. You’re probably already keeping track of employee hours and productivity.

A few tips for collecting and analyzing relevant data:

  • Ask employees for input. They know what makes their jobs more difficult, why not ask? It will probably come as a surprise to no one that Google uses metrics to evaluate and improve management style.
  • Define goals for data collection. What do you want to achieve and what kind of data will get you there?
  • Allow employees access to the data. If they see how they stack up against co-workers, they may improve without any input. Humans are just naturally competitive like that.
  • Look for ways to reward results, not simply time spent.

Data Collection And Analysis Tools

In the past, you might have used your impressive Excel skills to gather data with tedious manual input. Aren’t you glad that’s over? Now you can mine your CRM for data, survey your employees, and use the information you collect to refine your procedures and protocols.

Once you’ve collected your data, you’ll need a tool to analyze the results. DataHero is affordable and a simple way to combine data from multiple sources to get the answers you need. Your results are presented in graphs and charts that anyone can interpret.

Understanding your data can help you raise your staff productivity level, identify potential issues with training or protocol, and boost your bottom line. When your staff is more efficient, better results naturally follow. And getting better results is what data analysis is all about.

Image via Shutterstock

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