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How to Measure Employee Productivity in the Knowledge Economy

Old and New Input

Earlier input used to be the raw material. In the knowledge economy, the input is a mixture of a diverse set of tasks, like attending meetings, creating a campaign, giving a presentation, retraining the task force, and so on. They all look like work, but not everything is productive.

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How to Measure Employee Productivity in the Knowledge Economy

How to Measure Employee Productivity in the Knowledge Economy

https://doist.com/blog/measure-improve-employee-productivity/

doist.com

11

Key Ideas

Measuring Employee Productivity

Fixing employee productivity in the industrial age, when most workers were handling machinery and it’s parts, was a tedious but doable process. The managers had to fix the people who were making mistakes or were inefficient through systematic management.

Today, in the age of software and intellectual property, when half of the workforce is made up of knowledge workers, the old practices are of no use.

The Old Productivity Formula

The basic productivity formula(productivity= output divided by input) worked well in the industrial age as the output and input were clearly defined and measurable.

Today’s leaders need innovative solutions to measure and improve productivity in a knowledge-based workplace, as the measurement of output and input is not what it was.

Quality And Quantity

While assigning value to the output of knowledge workers, we cannot simply measure the output like before.

Coders and doctors cannot be measured by the hour, as their output is not uniform or consistent every hour.

Old and New Input

Earlier input used to be the raw material. In the knowledge economy, the input is a mixture of a diverse set of tasks, like attending meetings, creating a campaign, giving a presentation, retraining the task force, and so on. They all look like work, but not everything is productive.

The Human Element

Employees also have other concerns that hamper productivity and efficiency. It may be personal problems, a lack of will to work, or any other factor not in a manager's control.

The modern workforce enables employees to be the means of production themselves, using their knowledge, expertise and experience. The output is the quality of the results and the creative decisions made in a day.

Shiny Happy People

Apart from the performance measurement and appraisals, management now has to take care of employee satisfaction and building strong, bonded teams.

A single-minded focus on results and output isn’t the right strategy anymore and it is better to take the ‘happy workers’ approach.

Positive and Virtuous

Leaders now have to demonstrate positive and virtuous practices like:

  • Showing compassion and empathy
  • Providing support
  • Being like friends
  • Focusing on meaningful work
  • Forgiving mistakes
  • Not to blame or accuse the employees
  • Treating all respectfully
  • Showing gratitude and humility.

One Man Army

In the new economy, knowledge workers have to manage themselves and have autonomy. They are no longer cogs in a wheel, but nodes in a neural network and their individual productivity is now more important than ever.

How To Manage A Team

  • Ensure the team is working on the tasks that align with their core competency. Maximize the time for meaningful work, while minimizing other activities.
  • Set up the measurement yardsticks in the team for the output that you would require, like shipping of the product on a set deadline, or client scores.
  • Create a standardized yet flexible system of setting up the team goals. Take employees input so that they define what the team’s success would look like.

The Perfect Team

Human beings are complex creatures, and merely getting the best people together in a team does not make it successful or efficient. Optimization of a team requires it’s team members to work together by showing sensitivity and empathy towards everyone’s feelings and needs.

Focusing on Keystone Habits

Demonstrating that the company cares and values its employees makes them feel respected and creates reciprocating behaviour.

Focusing on a single measurable outcome (a keystone habit) that benefits the employees makes them work with utmost efficiency and enthusiasm. Focusing on key habits that enforce a positive, collaborative team culture sets of a chain reaction and seeps into the other habits.

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All Work And Some Play Too

  • Short breaks between learning or working, and working for brief periods with small breaks in-between can lead to a higher-quality output. This is known as the Pomodoro Technique.

  • Games at work make employees form a bond with their co-workers, establishing friendships that lead to better teamwork and improved communication among team members.

Playing Games At Work

It is a general notion at an office that gaming activities at work are counterproductive, however, games can be an amazing tool to create a better work environment, increasing employee satisfaction and productivity.

Gaming at work bridges the gap between work and relaxation, making work feel more enjoyable and fun, making employees see their working hours in a positive, joyful way.

Setting employee expectations

A recent study reveals that almost half of all U.S. employees are unsure of what's expected of them.

Setting clear employee expectations can benefit your business. Management must co...

Employer/Employee expectations

Employee expectations to maintain:

  • Displaying a positive and respectful attitude
  • Working with honesty and integrity
  • Performing their work to a reasonable standard 

Employees expectations;

  • Proper training, support and leadership from management and access to resources
  • Timely and accurate payment of wages
  • Safe working environments
  • Explanation of responsibilities, company policies and procedures
  • Regular feedback from supervisors or managers.

Team expectations

Team expectations refer to the behaviors that occur while working together on tasks. 

  • Respect and courtesy to everyone.
  • Be accountable for your work.
  • Be reasonably flexible about task assignments.
  • Be willing to lend a helping hand.
  • Ask for help when needed.
  • Work safely together.
  • Be open to constructive feedback.
  • Be self-motivated and reliable.
  • Share ideas for improvement.
  • Be cheerful, positive and encouraging to other team members.

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Rethinking the 8-hour workday

Rethinking the 8-hour workday

Knowledge workers aren't factory workers. There is no direct correlation between how much time they spend on the job and their output.

For knowledge workers, the 8-hour workday doesn’t make s...

Quality vs Quantity of Time

The structure of most working environments punishes people for efficiency and rewards them for looking busy. We need to shift our focus from the number of hours spent on something to the quality generated.

Build the Right Environment

To make a 3-hour workday feasible, design the right environment to make it possible.

  • Behavior is the result of environment. If you have many apps open, you’ll be more likely to be distracted.
  • Eliminate the need for willpower. Think of willpower like a bank balance. For every decision you make, you spend a unit. Design the right environment, so you avoid depleting all of your willpower.

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