In any workplace and on any given day you will probably hear the word ‘busy’ expressed way too many times. But does being busy really equate to good business and are your busy staff really as productive as they can be?
Productivity is often equated to two contributing factors – efficiency and output. There are four categories to measure productivity from your staff:
Low Efficiency – Low Output
Think Homer Simpson! This is the person that believes as long as they clock in at 9am and clock out at 5pm, doing the minimum and looking busy is the rest of their worries. They may get roped into projects but some of their time is spent just shuffling papers. They bring home the bacon and that’s enough.
High Efficiency – Low Output
These are the people who go the extra mile and take on a lot of projects. They take their work seriously but their efficiency is low because they could have done more with less time if they worked a little smarter. If you gave them a pocket knife to cut a log they wouldn’t second guess the logic. They finish everything you give them to do though and at times pick up the slack of the low efficiency, low outputs. Their dangers can be poor work life balance and sometimes burn out.
Low Efficiency – High Output
These are the status quo, hard workers who follow the rules or compliances they are given.. Efficiency is defined by the standards of efficiency set by the company. These are the letter of the law type workers. They are the people who know the employee handbook and follow its guidelines. They can be great to have in the company, if the company also has a lot of high efficiency but low output employees.
High Efficiency – High Output
These people are the innovators and don’t view efficiency like others do, believing efficiency is directly linked to output and not to corporate standards. They realize that you can do all the steps and still get worse results than are possible. These people look at the desired output and break down the steps to reach that output. These people “trim the fat” from processes and use the extra time created by the new efficiency to find other efficiencies or to increase production even more. They can change the way things are done in the company for the better and are sometimes a good fit for higher leadership roles in order to replicate the improved processes.
In higher performing companies, you will generally find more high efficiency, high output people. But a company with all high efficiency, high output employees may be a terrible place to work. Finding the right mix of employees is the best way to create a great company, although difficult as the company evolves.
We must be careful to never confuse how seemingly ‘busy’ an employee is with how productive, efficient and effective they may be.
Source: Huffington Post, 2013