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Employee Productivity: Here’s What Really Matters

Employee Productivity: Here’s What Really Matters

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Employee Productivity: Here’s What Really Matters

Today’s business leaders are dealing with a lot.

Along with the technology-shaped elephant in the room, the increase in internal business collaboration (50 percent in the past two decades), the change in performance management and the influx of millennials have left many companies scrambling.

Despite these changes, the goals of businesses have remained constant: Generate revenue in the most efficient way possible, and no matter what industry you’re in, the productivity of your employees matters.

The Productivity Constant

However, many businesses struggle to quantify their employee productivity, and for good reason: The shift from a manufacturing to a knowledge-based economy has forced many leaders to reconsider how they measure and inspire productivity.

However, productivity is still a metric worth considering. As with any difficult task, a step-by-step methodology is typically the best place to start.

  1. Define what employee productivity means to your business, and determine the metrics you want to use to measure it.
  2. Test and retest productivity efforts on your workforce until you figure out what works.
  3. Learn from your failures, and repeat your successes.

 

Let’s take a deeper dive into these steps.

Defining and Measuring Productivity

Every business is different; therefore, how businesses measure productivity should vary. Working with team leaders to identify what it actually looks like in your business is the first step to increasing it.

Keep in mind, definitions can be deceivingly thorny, so much so that HR and business leaders have had to endure a myriad of recommendations, from the vague (“be more strategic”) to the vapid (“paint your walls yellow, make more money”). Thought leaders constantly drop words like “culture” and “engagement,” and sometimes tie them holistically to an employee’s output, placing pressure on many businesses to either adapt or disappear.

One example of this difficulty lies in the connection between productivity and employee engagement.

In the past, if employees agreed with statements like “Company X is a great place to work,” they were considered “engaged,” while those who answered no were “disengaged.” However, a recent Harvard Business Review study reported that a “yes” to the question simply could mean that particular employee matched well with the corporate culture, while employees who answered “no” just could be dissatisfied with the status quo and looking to make big improvements. In that case, “engaged” employees were no more productive than their “disengaged” counterparts were.

Both engagement and productivity are worthy business objectives, but leaders must clearly outline their goals and then understand the metrics they are using to quantify said goals. Moreover, companies ought to utilize both behavioral and survey data to measure their workforce and then inspire management to take the findings to heart.

Increasing Productivity

Because of such studies, today’s HR and business leaders should make observing and learning from their workforce a top priority. This notion aligns with practices of such successful companies as Google and Southwest, which employ “design thinking.”

According to a recent Deloitte University Press article, “Design thinking moves HR’s focus beyond building programs and processes to a new goal: designing a productive and meaningful employee experience through solutions that are compelling, enjoyable and simple.”

Design thinking begins at the base — the employee — and works from there in order to improve output.

It doesn’t take a psychologist to know that different personalities, backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses exist within a single department; therefore, the ways in which businesses inspire those individuals to work harder and better inherently will vary.

Design thinking helps HR leaders classify people into different groups or “personas,” and once businesses form an understanding of their workforce, they then begin testing measures to inspire those different “personas” to produce. Design thinking is flexible; it tests each finding to its end. If the technique does not work, practitioners view it as a learning experience rather than a failure, and then continue trying different techniques until they figure out the best way to stimulate production from their different groups of workers.

But does design thinking actually work?

According to Deloitte, “The data from our survey this year suggest that the more importance an organization places on design thinking […] the faster the organization grows.”

Business leaders should remain vigilant about the experience of their employees without losing sight of their company’s overarching goals. This precarious balancing act requires constant observation, assessment and the occasional serving of humble pie. However, the result of an empathetic and nimble business is a churning, successful workforce.

Be sure to check out our article about personal productivity and how you are truly only two steps away from inciting increased productivity in your daily life.


Katy Fabrie

by Katy Fabrie


Author Bio: Katy Fabrie is a Marketing Specialist at Paycom where she assists with executing integrated marketing campaigns. With extensive experience in both writing and research, Katy enjoys crafting content that helps HR professionals develop strategies to reach their goals. Katy has created both digital and printed content for a myriad of local and national companies, and she enjoys continually expanding her HR knowledge base. Outside of work, Katy enjoys reading, running and spending time with her husband, Colby, and dog, Fox.

Employee Experience

What the Employee Experience Is … and Is Not

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HR departments and C-suites nationwide are abuzz with talk of the “employee experience,” often abbreviated as “EX.” It is the sum of all interactions, good or bad, that an employee has during his or her term of employment with a company.

As defined by author and futurist Jacob Morgan in his new book on the topic, The Employee Experience Advantage, those EX interactions can be divided among three environments that surround the worker:

  • technology
  • workspace
  • culture

The EX concept posits that all three bear equal importance, and that focusing on their long-term design results in an engaged workforce. In turn, productive and happy workers yield loyal customers.

What would improving the employee experience do for your organization? Check out this on-demand HRCI- and SHRM -certified webinar as we break down specifics. 

In addition, Morgan’s research shows that companies that invest in the EX reap rewards over companies that do not, to the tune of:

  • four times higher profits
  • three times higher revenue per employee
  • 40% lower turnover

Sounds like to build a positive employee experience all you have to do is create a utopia of benefits and perks, right?

Wrong.

What the EX Isn’t

Remember, experts define the EX as a totality of experiences that an employee has at his or her place of work, from Day 1 to either resignation, termination or retirement. Providing a positive employee experience doesn’t require satisfying employees’ every whim along the way, or ensuring that every interaction leaves employees feeling euphoric. It just means that the positives in the sum have to outweigh the negatives; you’re simply aiming to become a place where people want to work and want to come to work. After all, everyone has his or her share of negatives while on the clock, and it is unrealistic to think any office to be all unicorns and lollipops, no matter how many nap pods may be on the premises.

The Millennial Factor

With millennials projected to make up at least 50% of the workforce by 2020, employers face a tech-dependent majority that not only is comfortable with using technology in the workplace, but expects to use it (per research conducted by Adobe). Therefore, millennials are primed to be more open to embracing an EX, which relies upon technology as one of its three legs of support.

One way to support this desire for technology companywide is through implementation of an employee self-service platform. Whereas earlier generations may be used to paper-based processes — from tracking hours worked to completing benefits forms — and, therefore, may be hesitant or resistant toward cloud-based, self-service software that accomplishes the same tasks, millennials overwhelming prefer to forego the manual in favor of the technical.

In a recent millennial survey by Price Waterhouse Cooper, 60% of the millennials surveyed said that an employer’s investment into workplace technology was important when considering a job. Self-service software fits in to that category, reducing the burden placed on HR while empowering these young talented workers to take charge of entering and managing their own information.​

But again, let us caution that technology is just one of three critical components organizations must address to build a strong EX. For more information on all three pillars of the EX, download our free infographic, “Building a Strong Employee Experience: What It Is and Why It Matters.

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Posted in Blog, Employee Engagement, Featured, HR Management, Talent Management

Rod Lott

by Rod Lott


Author Bio: As Paycom’s Creative Services Manager, Rod Lott brings more than two decades of experience in marketing, advertising, branding and journalism. A published author and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, he has worked with such brands as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Sonic Drive-In and OU.

Improve Employee Engagement

3 Ways to Immediately Improve Employee Engagement

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For some employers, having happy employees is a want-to, not a have-to – it isn’t a priority. Making payroll, launching new campaigns and pleasing shareholders seems a more necessary than trying to create engaged, fulfilled employees. But happy, engaged employees are far more important to the success of a company than one might think.

What would improving the employee experience do for your organization? Check out this on-demand HRCI- and SHRM -certified webinar as we break down specifics. 

A Gallup study reported a measurable link between employee engagement and eight common metrics used to measure a business’ success:

  1. Customer Ratings
  2. Profitability
  3. Productivity
  4. Turnover
  5. Safety
  6. Theft Prevention
  7. Attendance
  8. Quality of the final product

 

In fact, companies with engaged employees show 22 % higher profitability and 147 % higher earnings per share than companies without them.

Let’s agree that happy employees are an integral part of your company’s success — so how do we cultivate them?

How to Engage Your Team

While creating an engaged team won’t happen overnight, here are three ways to begin:

1.Equip your employees

Equip your team with tools like engagement surveys to find and improve weak points. Use goal-setting tools that empower employees to reach new heights in their careers.

2. Educate your employees

People love to learn, so host a brown-bag lunch once a week and offer industry-related classes in the office. Give them tools like the Myers-Briggs personality assessment so they can learn how they work best and how to work better with others. Teach corporate culture with high-quality online learning tools that employees can work through at their own pace.

3. Empower your employees

The days of people being cogs in a machine are over—happy, creative individuals make your business better. According to Seth Godin’s Linchpin, today’s employees crave responsibility, opportunity and the authority to make decisions. Create a culture that tells every employee he or she matters. Offer chances for everyone to pitch their big ideas. Give employees control over their own career decisions with employee self-service tools.

Look at your employees as individuals — individuals who want to learn, share their talents, know they’re making a difference and be part of a business they believe in. When your employees are happy, you, your investors and your customers will be, too.

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Posted in Blog, Employee Engagement, Featured, HR Management, What Employees Want

Braeden Fair

by Braeden Fair


Author Bio: Braeden Fair produces webinars and podcasts for Paycom, in addition to writing content for the company’s blog and its employee culture magazine, Paycom Pulse. A graduate of Oklahoma Christian University, he managed social media for the college’s student life division and worked in the broadcasting departments of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas-based sports-talk radio station The Ticket.

Millennial Workplace

4 Truths About the Ideal Millennial Workplace

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In today’s increasingly technology-heavy workplace, the millennial workforce continues to grow and thrive.

According to the Pew Research Center, the millennial labor force surpassed Generation X as the largest in the workforce in 2015. In fact, Pricewaterhouse Coopers estimates that millennials will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020.

Listen now to our HR Break Room podcast episode, A Hire Purpose: Build a Thriving Culture for Millennials

As they continue to grow and baby boomers increasingly retire, more millennials will assume management positions. In the recent two-part episode of Paycom’s HR Break Room podcast, guest Adam Smiley Poswolsky, author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough, spoke about what businesses must do in order to make that transition as seamlessly as possible.

Here are four key takeaways from that conversation.

1. Purpose-driven workplaces draw millennials.

With 90% of millennials wanting to use their skills for good, they are demanding that companies provide purpose and meaning, so that their day-to-day work is not just an 8-to-5 job, but also something that defines them. They want to feel valued in their work and that their work is making a difference, so much so that half of them will take a pay cut to find work that matches their values!

In order to attract and retain top talent from this generation, creating a culture of purpose and meaning is essential to organizational success.

2. A transparent workplace is critical.

 In order to meet the needs of today’s workforce, employers should strive to be clear about what working there is like. The most forward-thinking organizations realize that millennials are going to research company culture, whether through Glassdoor or the grapevine, so recruitment efforts should clearly communicate the benefits and mission. Training and technology are especially popular among millennials, who are seeking purpose-driven opportunities that offer the opportunity to leave an impact.

With so many young people in the workforce, the workplace has become an extension of the classroom. Unlike baby boomers and earlier generations, millennials have to do more than to be good at just one thing and ride that skill for the next 40 years, thanks to the nature of technology and the state of the economy. In order to retain the most ambitious employees, you have to keep teaching them new desirable skills.

3. Millennials operate by a management style all their own.

A Global Workforce report states that 25% of millennials in the workforce will take on management positions. With the same report indicating that 3.6 million baby boomers will retire by the end of this year, it is essential for organizations nationwide to begin adjusting to the needs of the millennial management style.

Millennials are huge fans of collaboration and always looking for new ideas to get things done faster and more efficiently. They prefer co-leadership to more traditional hierarchical structures and are not as interested in doing things because “that’s how it’s always been done.” Even if not every idea is accepted, millennial managers like to give their talent room to try new things … and even room to fail.

This emerging style is going to prove especially important as the next generation of employees, Generation Z (born between 1994 and 2010), begin to enter the workforce. They value authenticity and want to work in an organization where their ideas are heard, regardless of job title. This interest in transparency and innovation makes them a more natural fit to be led by millennial managers.

Under New Management: The Rise of Millennial Managers and Generation Z

4. Millennials and Generation Z embrace learning through technology.

Collaboration and transparency are easier to achieve through technology, a key building block to any successful employee experience. Today’s top talent find and apply jobs through the internet, and then learn more about prospective employers the same way. Once they set themselves on a career path, they have become accustomed to learning new skills through YouTube videos or listening to podcasts.

 

Both Millennials and Generation Z have grown up having instant messaging tools, video streams and high-speed internet connections at their fingertips at all times. To create a seamless and attractive employee experience, employers should ensure such tools be incorporated into the workplace, at every stage from onboarding to retirement. Companies that truly understand how to use such tech tools as online learning platforms and surveys will be able to create an organization that is transparent and collaborative, and a culture that is efficient and goal-driven.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, Millennials

Caleb Masters

by Caleb Masters


Author Bio: Caleb is the host of The HR Break Room and a Webinar and Podcast Producer at Paycom. With more than 5 years of experience as a published online writer and content producer, Caleb has produced dozens of podcasts and videos for multiple industries both local and online. Caleb continues to assist organizations creatively communicate their ideas and messages through researched talks, blog posts and new media. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys running, discussing movies and trying new local restaurants.

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