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8 September, 2015

How to Increase Employee Productivity at Work – What Measures You Need to Focus on

This week we’re going to start a mini series on the easiest way for you to increase employee productivity in your business.

I call this the Productivity Lever.

A long time ago, Archimedes said “Give me a lever long enough, and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”

All you want to do is ‘move your business forward’. So, a lever should do it for you.

Let’s consider a lever. It has three parts. A central part – the fulcrum – on which it pivots, and a lever on top with two arms – the load arm and the effort arm.

For your business, the load arm represents the results, Key Performance Indicators or productivity measures that you want to increase.

The fulcrum is the on-job leadership performance of your managers.

Today we’re going to focus on the load arm – the results you want from your team. The key issue here I want to discuss, is that whatever productivity measures you’re getting your people to focus on, they must have control over.

Let me give you an example of what I mean by that.

A few years ago I did some work with the customer services team of an inbound contact centre for an energy company. They wanted to improve their service delivery. This was measured as ‘the percentage of calls answered within 20 seconds’.

Of course, no ONE individual in the contact centre team had full control over that measure.

What they did have control over were a couple of things:

  • Their availability to take calls i.e. were they logged-in on time and available to talk to customers while they were at their desk, in front of their computer and phone.
  • Call length i.e. the way they structured their conversations with customers affected how long the calls took.

So, availability and call length were two important measures those individuals had control over.

As we improved those measures, the ‘service delivery’ KPI increased as well.

The key tip from today, in terms of the Productivity Lever, is to make sure that your people have control over the productivity measures you want them to improve.

Next week we’re going to take a look at the effort arm of the Productivity Lever – the critical work behaviours you need to focus on to get the increases you’re wanting in the productivity measures you’ve selected.

Until then, have a superb week!


To get our report “The Secret to Leadership Effectiveness”, which shows how YOU can help your organisation improve leadership quality, employee engagement, and financial success, click here.


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