Data and news outlets reported a significant dip in productivity over the last half of 2021. Even though people were clocking in the same number of hours as before the pandemic, they were not actually getting as much done. Companies with some or all remote workers were especially hard-hit last year. But the outlook for 2022 is improving with U.S. productivity up 6.6% in the first quarter. One thing is clear, companies that examine productivity, both what it really looks like and what it takes to meet productivity goals, will be better positioned to compete in the post-COVID era.
Productivity can be hard to assess on a daily basis because it’s hard to determine minute-by-minute if people are busy, efficient, and using their time well. Sometimes, it can look as if teams are cutting up and having fun, and they are. But they are also discussing a lot of ideas and completing real conceptual work. In the same way, just because people are quiet, pounding away at their computers doesn’t necessarily mean they are getting a lot done. So how does a manager make sure to drive true productivity forward as well as understand if their team is stalled and needs their help?
The Right KPIs
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is a term for the quantifiable metrics that managers can use to track the quantity and quality of meaningful work. The problem is, sometimes they’re paying attention to the wrong things. Managers could benefit from revamping the way they assess productivity to include more high-level indicators and fewer micro activities. They measure, for example, the number of proposals provided and contracts won, but leave the number of calls and mouse clicks alone. Each team has a specific set of authentic indicators that will accurately tell a manager if their team is moving the most significant things forward.
It’s a manager’s job to find out what those indicators are because they risk losing their best employees if they track the wrong things. Star performers don’t appreciate it when senior leaders govern the small actions in their work process. It’s demeaning, irritating, and distracting, and they’ll end up finding a place that respects their autonomy. At the same time, if under-committed, underperforming co-workers are allowed to continue, morale suffers. This will push the higher-performing people to work somewhere else, for a firm with higher standards.
The Joy Factor
At a deeper level, and less quantifiable, there are attitudes within a team that greatly influence productivity. Managers can find out if their team members have a level of joy when they’re at work. Joy isn’t the result of employees goofing off, having no expectations, and leaving early every day. On the contrary, joy happens when a person feels a sense of dignity and fulfillment in their work and the time they spend on the clock. Managers don’t have to wait for their KPIs to alert them of a problem. They can often ward off a dip in productivity if they ask the joy question first.
As it is, both the joy index and KPIs are pointing to low productivity in companies all over the United States. If any of these indicators are off in your team, it could mean your productivity level is down as well. If you address it now, that one action could set your company apart with a competitive advantage. TaskHuman is helping companies address their problems with lower productivity by supporting all the individuals on board where they need it. At a high level, TaskHuman’s management and leadership coaches can help leaders to identify the type of KPIs that accurately summarize workplace productivity. They can coach them through some of the most effective and proven processes for evaluating workplace activities. Managers can avoid pushing out their best people while gathering the data they need to address low-performing personnel. When managers are clear on what’s causing slower productivity, they can then communicate to their teams what they expect to see in a course correction.
TaskHuman for Productivity
TaskHuman’s coaching platform can also help managers support individual employees in multiple areas that can improve their productivity. TaskHuman’s coaches include experts on time management, stress and anxiety, family and workplace relationships, and various skills that employees might need to be successful in their roles. They can help individuals overcome one or many barriers to their individual ability to do productive work. They can help employees discover their reason for working and up their motivation, thereby increasing their joy at work. Where remote teams may have lost the in-person collaboration that happened as a result of being close to one another for eight hours a day, TaskHuman can offer a way to reignite the synergy. Our specialist coaches are available to conduct group sessions that can shore up the collaboration among team members and inspire outcomes that represent their best possible work.
We don’t have to accept lower productivity as the new normal. TaskHuman is helping companies to recognize where the bottlenecks exist and elevate their productivity, especially in remote teams. One-to-one coaching encourages creativity, addresses barriers to focus, and aligns employee motivation so that people want to make an impact in their work environment. Coaches keep employees engaged in online group sessions for synergy that replaces in-person interaction. When productivity goes up, morale goes up too. Let’s get back to top speed!
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