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The Basics in Measuring Productivity

Employees expect fair judgment from management and this is how management should respond. Measuring productivity should be objective and not be based on common observation.

Every employer will be happy to see high employee utilization. This is an indication that the employees are providing work as they are paid, and that they are not indirectly stealing money away from the company by spending more hours at lunch or break times. However, there are also certain standards in measuring productivity. This is not an easy metric to measure and there has to be objectivity in doing this. Otherwise, employees will feel that they have become like robots and that they are being treated like machines, and not men.The goal of making this measurement is to objectively show to the management if the employees are over-utilized or if they are not working based on the specifications of their job description. A great amount of money is lost if employees are not maximized—or deployed to work accordingly. There are a lot of tools and basis to measure the effectiveness of work, such as input, output, processes, and tasks completed. However, there are also factors that can slow down the performance of employees, even if employees are not deliberately trying to stall production. These factors may be caused by machines, environment, other people, and the actual process itself.Normally, companies measure the effectiveness of productivity by the hour. In certain industries, like phone customer care hotlines, employees are measured through what is called Average Handle Time or AHT. This ideal AHT is based on what is normal for the product. For example, many credit card companies impose that calls be finished and issues be released in just five minutes. However, for technical applications, like computer support, management can impose greater lengths of time to resolve issues—say, 20 minutes for each call. Sometimes, this is not measured at all. In factories, what is commonly measured is the output. If one person is expected to pack 100 products in four hours, this will be checked accordingly. Anything lower than that may be questioned.Always ensure that the measurement system used is fair. It is not right to demand overwhelming output from an employee if it is not proven to be doable. It is also not right to demand so much work for very little compensation. The employees will get tired easily and they are likely to leave the company altogether. As a resultFree Reprint Articles, attrition will be a lot more costly since the company will need to hire new employees and these new employees will have to undergo training. They will not be able to work for operations yet and every second spent on training is billable and paid time.Perhaps the best way to establish a measurement framework in production is by asking employees. Employees should also be aware that they are being measured and their expectations should be set correctly. They should be able to receive correct feedback and coaching or they will not be able to understand where they are lacking. Employees will easily accept the concept of measuring productivity if they know what it is for and how they are being measured.

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