Employees who are not engaged in their jobs tend to slack off during working hours, leading to hampering performance and poor productivity. If left unaddressed, such a situation could shatter a team’s overall workflow and even impede organizational growth. To prevent this, employers are urged to monitor their workforce’s productivity. The advancement of technology has made it easier to track employees’ activities at work. But it also comes with a question, how to track employee productivity without being too intrusive? There is a fine line between monitoring employee productivity and micromanaging. To avoid becoming an office’s control freak, here are four do’s and don’ts you can do for tracking employee productivity.
Do: Track individual performance
How well a business performs comes down to how well its employees perform. With that in mind, tracking individual performance is essential. Consider meeting with employees in a casual, one-on-one setting to get a better idea of how they are performing and the progress they have made toward their work goals. There is a chance that an employee outperforms his or her division, just as how a division grows much faster than the people in it. Focusing on one person at a time will help the HR department understand individuals better than doing group or division assessments only.
Don’t: Track time
Tracking individual performance is one thing; tracking hours and days is another. Time-tracking tools measure the number of time employees spend on particular tasks and projects, not the quality of their work or the results of time spent. It is understandable that some employees use a time tracker for individual use, which means that the employer does not get to interfere with it. Performance should be measured in work done well and deadlines met, not how long it took to get the job done.
Do: Stay visible
What keeps employees from reaching peak performance? Distractions that slowly become inevitable. Texting, office gossip, scrolling social media, and streaming Netflix during working hours are among the top distractions thwarting employee productivity. Being more visible to employees, from spending more time on the office floor to friending employees on social media, can help deter time-wasting activities like these. As an HR manager, you also need to demonstrate how internet distractions should not impede your productivity. Employees will likely use HR leaders as their standard, so make sure you become a good example.
Don’t: Become Overly Observant
Do trust employees to get the job done. Hovering over their shoulders gives the impression of a lack of trust. As much as you can be frustrated with how some employees are not so productive, remember that they are all adults. They know that not performing well will put their career in danger, so becoming overly observant towards them almost all the time may only get them hating the HR department. Ask their direct supervisor first on how these slow-performing employees are doing at their job. If the supervisor thinks that these employees need HR interference, only then do you need to put a more direct approach for each individual.
Do: Make use of the Internet
When used right, technology can help both employers and employees keep track of individual performance. Adopting tools like 360-degree performance management software can give employers a full picture of employee performance without coming off as too controlling. You can also incorporate collaboration tools like Trello, Asana, and Slack to observe employee productivity, as this software will show their progress. If your company is remote-based, you can also make use of weekly team virtual meetings to ask employees about bottlenecks they encounter in a week to see if it impedes productivity. Communication plays a huge role, so make sure you remain friendly and not too pushy.
Don’t: Rely Solely on the Internet
Relying on the internet is good, but relying only on it is not very wise. Try not to use tech to monitor individual email, Internet, and social media use. These are more personal platforms that have less to do with how employees work. Monitoring these things can make the workplace feel a lot less safe and a lot more restricting. Sometimes, if you see them not updating their weekly logs or marking their Trello checklist, it does not necessarily mean they are not doing anything. Maybe they just forgot to fill it out because they were so caught up in actually working on it. To avoid unwanted impressions, you can give a gentle reminder like “Hey guys, don’t forget to keep your teammates updated by filling out your progress in the log, okay” instead of confronting them about the unfilled log.
Do: Encourage Positivity
To save you much time in tracking employee productivity, the key is creating a work environment and culture that motivates and engages employees. This makes HR managers, on behalf of the employers, not have to constantly track employee productivity. Empower employees by giving them ownership over their work. When employees understand how their work efforts contribute to the big picture, they will be more motivated to work toward their individual goals.
Don’t: Emphasize on Problems Instead of Solutions
It is a good move to make performance reviews less about employee performance and more about goal setting and employee development. However, avoid discouraging reviews that only focus on what an employee is doing wrong. Spend more time focusing on the solution, not the problem. Instead of asking “Why are you not very productive these days?”, you can ask “How can I help to make you stay on track again with your productivity?”.
Tracking employee productivity is not only about judging from deliverables, but also from how they are progressing. If you want your employees to know that the HR department is there for them, start to actually be there for them. Not only this will help them overcome any productivity issue that may arise, but this will also get employees to confide in the company more, as they know that their employer cares about the process, no matter how imperfect it may be.