TMN: 10 Wrong Ways Your Company Is Measuring Productivity

Is your company measuring productivity? Below is a blog post from Time Management Ninja.

10 Wrong Ways Your Company Is Measuring Productivity

Does your company know who gets the work done?

I mean, really does the work.

Not talks about it. Brags about it. Or in some cases, even lies about it.

I am talking about actually delivering tangible results.

How does your company measure productivity?

Productivity: You’re Measuring It Wrong

In the hasty pursuit of goals, most companies don’t take time to look at how they are measuring results.

Instead, they rely on stories, anecdotes, and often plain lies about what is getting done and by whom.

“Most companies are ignorant of who is actually getting the work done.”

This leads to assumptions, guesses, or even silly ways to measure productivity.

Doubt this?

Here are 10 Wrong Ways That Your Company Is Measuring Productivity:

  1. The Most Hours – The most common mistake companies make is to reward the people who put in the most hours. The assumption is that these people must be doing the most work. Yet, often they are the biggest procrastinators, wasters of their own and other people’s time, and most responsible for rework.
  2. The Loudest – Many companies make the mistake of rewarding the loudest employees. By this, I mean the ones who are always telling others what they are doing and how important they are. I worked with one employee who closed every email by announcing what “important thing he was doing that day.” He had to make sure that people knew he was doing important work.
  3. No Measuring Scale – Does your company even know what success looks like? What is the measuring scale? Not knowing how to keep score not only keeps companies blind, but leads to employee dismay. One company rewards employees with an annual success trip. Yet, with no published criteria, every year employees are left scratching their heads as to why certain employees are rewarded.
  4. Sending the Most Emails – Somewhere along the line, the paper-pusher made the leap to the 21st century as the “email spammer.” I have seen individuals make entire careers out of mass emailing their co-workers. Of course, this only works if companies mistake email barrages as work, which unfortunately many do.
  5. Not Taking Status Updates Seriously – Status updates are only as good as the information in them. If you send out worthless updates, no one will read them. (True in most companies.) Bogus status updates are just as dangerous. I worked with one company whose weekly updates always showed all projects as Green. (As opposed to Yellow or Red.) They had one project that was 182 days past its deadline. When I inquired, they stated it was Green because, “People are still working on it.”
  6. The Most Things Done – This the Busy Bee Syndrome. It is closely related to #1. However, in this case, the company measures productivity by the sheer quantity of tasks completed. Never mind if they were the right tasks, or if any positive results were achieved. But, wow, they sure got a lot of tasks done.
  7. Over-dedicated – It our fast paced, job-hopping world, it is easy for companies to mistake over-dedication for effective work. Consider the company that gives a leadership award based on the employee working nights and weekends and canceling their vacation. Does this show dedication or an unrealistic work-life balance?
  8. Not Keeping Score – Many companies don’t have the discipline to track results. (For others, it’s a conscious choice.) When it comes to recognizing employee effectiveness, it comes down to gut-feelings or who that manager likes. Not a great measuring stick for potential success.
  9. No Priority or Direction – Speed without direction is just a quick way to get off course. If your company hasn’t set the direction or goals, then it does’t matter how productive employees are. They are just working for work’s sake.
  10. Not Meeting Deadlines or Goals – Many companies set deadlines or goals only to “explain them away” at a later time. Well, the deadline wasn’t reached but that’s OK. Or, we didn’t reach our sales goal, but we tried really hard. Results aren’t necessarily about tough love, but rather hard truth.

Measure Productivity by Measuring Results

Don’t let your company fall for these productivity measuring mistakes.

Productivity is seldom about getting the most things done, but rather getting the right things done.

It’s about results. Positive impact.

Good companies measure busyness.

Great companies measure results.

Question: How does your company measure productivity?

N2Growth: 10 Ways to Provide Quality Feedback

Are you giving feedback to your employees? Below is a blog post from N2Growth. Giving positive feedback helps drive performance, retain and attract new employees.

10 Ways to Provide Quality Feedback

By Joel Garfinkle

Chair, Executive Coaching, N2Growth

Employees want feedback. They want an honest assessment of their behavior to help them improve their work. They know that if they listen to, and take action on, clear and constructive feedback, their overall performance will improve. And so will their job satisfaction.

However, most managers feel uncomfortable delivering feedback, especially when it involves a problem or concern. So many managers take a passive approach or are guilty of knee-jerk, “drive by” feedback, which can be counterproductive. Providing feedback that gets results isn’t as difficult or painful as you think. Listed below are ten tips to make it a powerful, positive experience.

  1. Be positive. Focus on what the person is doing well when giving feedback (and not just what they can improve upon).
  2. Focus on the behavior, not the person. When discussing a problem with performance, keep your emotions in check. Focus on the actions of the individual, not the person.
  3. Be specific. Provide tangible examples of the behavior in question, not vague, “drive by” criticism like, “You’ve been arguing with customers a lot” or “I’ve been hearing complaints about your attitude”
  4. Be timely. Don’t wait until the employee’s annual performance appraisal to provide positive or negative feedback. The closer feedback is tied to the behavior in question (good or bad) the more powerful it will be.
  5. Make sure you are clear on why you are delivering the feedback. Often, feedback comes from judgment and we don’t want to pass it off as feedback. So, it’s important to pause and think about where the feedback is coming from and how can you deliver it in a way that will be received positively.
  6. Don’t use judgment as a means for feedback. Don’t use feedback as a cover for you to share an actual judgment or be critical of another person. Judgment is just your opinion of a person’s character and isn’t neutral.
  7. Provide feedback from a neutral place. Feedback is really a piece of information or observation you are sharing. Once a person receives the feedback from a neutral space, the person can decide to change or not.
  8. Make it a two-way conversation. Take time to engage the employee and check for understanding. Focus on “partnership,” not “this is what you’re doing wrong” or “this is what you need to change.”
  9. Follow up. If your feedback concerns a problem, look for opportunities to “catch them doing it right.” Reinforce positive behavior.
  10. Make sure you have these three qualities before delivering feedback. Feedback can best be received when you have the authority, credibility and trust already established in the relationship. Without these three things, it makes it more difficult to receive the

I’d love to hear your experiences when providing or receiving feedback. Good or bad, please comment.