Workplace & Employee Productivity: 13 Productivity Improvement Measures

one employee showing another an easy productivity improvement

What is employee productivity? How does it relate to overall workplace productivity? And, ultimately, how do you improve both? These are all questions on the minds of organizations, and we're here to help provide a little more clarity while offering some action steps.

This article will help detail the concepts of employee and workplace productivity while offering 13 initiatives your organization can try today that result in productivity improvements. Interested in joining us on this journey? Scroll down to read on.

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What Is Employee Productivity?

Employee productivity is generally understood as the ability of an employee to take input (instructions, direct, requirements, etc.) and turn them into output. Effectively, it’s the measure of how employees produce input and turn it into output, in a given period of time.

Let’s ground the concept with some common productivity questions:

  • How long does it take someone to do a piece of work?

  • Do they get it right?

  • Do they need intervention, or advice often during the process?

Add up the answers to all of these questions, and you’ll get an idea of an employee’s productivity. Add up the productivity of all your employees across the workforce, and you’ll get an idea of workplace productivity.

How Do You Measure Workplace Productivity?

Most managers have a gut feeling for how much work their employees can do, relative to others. Some are faster but more slapdash. Others are slower but more thorough. Still, others manage to achieve the pinnacle of employee productivity: Fast, good quality work.

To effectively manage employee productivity, you need to balance two things:

  • Quantitative Factors

  • Qualitative Factors

You can’t have one without the other. You could formulate productivity in terms of overall output divided by overall input, but you’d miss a lot of things along the way.

For example, an employee can be highly productive, yet extremely difficult to work with – which isn’t necessarily a benefit to the company. There’s also room for roles that are less productive, but which perform essential functions, like long-term planning (for example).

People Workflow Automation: Putting Productivity In Focus

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How Are Productivity Improvements Defined?

An improvement in productivity can be thought of in two days: Helping employees do their work faster or more efficiently or making it more enjoyable for them to do that work (leading to a higher-quality end product).

So, any improvement that your team seeks to achieve should try to fulfill one of these key requirements. Without it, you may be losing the point entirely.

An example of this is bringing work where it happens. For instance, with something like People Workflow Automation with Personio, integrating absence requests with your team’s preferred communication tools (Slack of MS Teams, for instance).

That way, employees don’t need to switch between tools to complete simple requests. They aren’t delayed, your business doesn’t miss out on opportunities to improve, and everyone is better for it. In this case, a productivity improvement can have a massive effect.

HR software, as a whole, can also help. Learn more about it today.

How Can You Boost Workplace Productivity?

Perhaps corporate thinking has changed or, perhaps, as the benefits of using appropriate motivation theories have found their way into modern working life, the understanding of how to improve employee productivity has changed.

Back in the day, employers thought that productivity could be improved by using efficiency-improving tools. Today, we’ve come to realize that employee productivity improves more when workers are in alignment with their corporate culture; when they feel safe, rewarded, and appreciated.

Now, more than ever, the answer to making your workplace more productive lies in helping people be more human and enabling your people to do better work.

HR Software: One Place For All Your People Processes

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13 Key Productivity Improvement Measures To Try

People work better when they know what they need to do, how to do it, and why it matters. So if your employees are struggling with productivity, here are a few things you can try:

  1. Help them understand why their work matters (give them a sense of purpose).

  2. Give your employees autonomy – whether that’s by providing flexible working, or letting them set meaningful goals for themselves in alignment with your company’s objectives.

  3. Stop micromanaging employees, and start trusting them.

  4. Create a positive work environment. Forward-looking HR leaders know that providing free meals isn’t enough. Today, it’s important to employee engagement, and listening tools effectively, and focus on the overall employee experience.

  5. Give them an opportunity to grow. This might be by showing them how they could take on a new, or challenging role or task, by learning new skills, or by working towards a promotion.

  6. Let employees become better at what they do (let them develop mastery of their tasks) by providing access to training.

  7. Challenge employees appropriately by increasing accountability, and responsibility – within reason, when the time is right. (An already overwhelmed employee won’t thank you for doing this!)

  8. Encourage self-care, and employee wellbeing. Sometimes having a duvet day is far more important, and beneficial than sitting at a desk.

  9. Acknowledge their efforts, say thank you, and congratulate them.

  10. Offer appropriate incentives so employees will put a bit more effort in.

  11. Communicate clearly, frequently, and meaningfully with employees.

  12. Provide constructive feedback, and support when they aren’t performing as well as you’d like.

  13. Use the appropriate technology (ideally one that simplifies workloads, rather than complicating them!) to help employees do more of what they enjoy.

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Should You Have An Employee Productivity Strategy?

While we are great believers in the importance of having a solid HR strategy, a people strategy, and (if appropriate) even an employee retention strategy, sometimes putting a whole strategy in place for things that are just common sense is taking it a bit far.

Rather, make sure that your people strategy is built in a way that fosters employee productivity, is focused on core company values, and makes people feel appreciated but appropriately challenged.

Oh and, of course, make sure that the tools you ask people to use are genuinely helping, not hindering, them.


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