The first step to improving productivity and efficiency is to monitor it. Companies that effectively monitor their employees’ daily work tasks and responsibilities see marked improvements in productivity and efficiency.
But the exercise can prove useful for more than improving productivity: it can help companies to empower their people in career development and to reach their personal goals.
Kathy Gibson spent time with Saucecode CEO Graham Fry to find out how organistions can use productivity monitoring tools to improve company and individual performance.
Measuring employee productivity sounds like a great idea for organisations – but they need to ensure they are doing it for the right reasons.
“The reality is that measuring your employees could be a tool for empowering them or policing them – it all comes down to what the purpose and outcome is for monitoring staff tasks,” says Saucecode CEO Graham Fry.
“We’ve seen some products on the market that are just used as a policeman, which are quite invasive and designed to simply measure what people are doing without offering them anything else. Many of these have evolved from the old telephone monitoring systems that were are set up to limit people’s telephone use. These monitoring practices are for the exclusive sake of discovering malicious or policy contraventions – a Big Brother perspective.
“We think that if you are just monitoring people without any empowerment or higher purpose, then it’s always going to be a grudge purchase, and of limited effectiveness.
“To get a meaningful return on investment (ROI) from monitoring, you have to ensure that the product helps you to help your people to develop themselves.”
If the organisation plans to use monitoring as an enabler, it’s important for management to realise that employees generally want to do their best.
“On the whole, employees want to know they have been given fair KPIs that they understand and are able to be properly measured against.”
The problem is that KPIs have traditionally had little value for the worker, being concerned only with company outcomes. “But, to be of real value to the company, people need to be aligned with company goals,” Fry explains.
“For the individual, that value comes in when their own goals and the company goals are brought into line.
“If you are able to monitor and measure productivity and efficiency, you can make these individual KPIs fairly precise; you will be able to monitor people against real KPIs rather than making assumptions about what people are doing; and whether it is relevant.
“Using a productivity measuring tool like Tistro, you can now break things down to real activity by real individuals.”
Going a step further, the measurements can be used to do completely fair and unbiased performance reviews.
“You can actually do performance reviews quite scientifically – looking at actual work, from both sides.”
Fry explains that this would mean reviews or staff evaluations are no longer random or emotional.
“Because they can be based on real data, where there are no third parties involved, you can strip out any possibility of prejudices.”
Measuring tools can also be used as a personal development tool, where people can access their own information and use it to improve their skills or fix problems.
In addition, managers and individuals can check if training in any areas is required; and they can use actual data to justify a request for ongoing skills development.
“At the same time managers can use the tool to see if people need help in any areas; or if they are excelling at particular tasks,” Fry points out.
Of course, they can also be used to check if people are working to their ability.
“Some people spend too much time not doing their jobs,” Fry says. “Now managers can start seeing what people are or aren’t doing and start examining whether that means they are not productive or if they are busy doing other work – and what it is.
“You can start pinpointing when things are a real waste of time, and what they are.”
How organisations use monitoring tools comes down to the type or organisation they are, Fry says. “You can self-empower people or you can micro manage them.
“We think people prefer to work for companies that empower their employees; that let them measure themselves; and develop their own career paths.
“Tistro allows any company to do that.”
Fry believes any company can be a great place to work if it is a pleasant and reasoned environment, and the staff are empowered.
“Having the right data at hand means managers are better able to balance personal and company goals.
“The whole point of Tistro is to treat people as people and not just employees – they are more than just the number on the payslip.”
For the best results, Fry says organisations should strive to find a balance. “You don’t want to run a business where you don’t allow people to do human things: but you do have to have a balance.
“That balance is adjustable, because you can granularly set the analytics of what is monitored to align with the person and the job.”
With Tistro, reporting is very granular so it’s possible to look at performance on a number of levels: overall company, a division, or vertical structure.
“So when it comes to KPIs and people, you can put people into vertical structures so you are comparing people with like people,” Fry explains. “At the same time by looking at individual or group types you can identify behaviours and software that can improve productivity and efficiency.
“For instance, when looking at a sales team: if one person is doing really well, you can start analyzing what he does and how he works, what software and tools he uses. You can start seeing what works.”
Tistro allows managers to identify if employees are experiencing potential problems too – for instance if they are burning out, or really battling with a task.
“By measuring what people are doing, you can see problems before they happen; and you are able to intervene in time,” Fry explains.
“You can identify if there are external issues that need attention too, and do something about it.”
ROI for organisations could come in a number of forms. Fry cites one example where an employee was leaving and the company realised the work could effectively be spread among other employees.
“Because the company had the actual stats of the work the previous employee was doing; and the stats of what existing employees were doing they could do this without overburdening anyone.”
The tool can also be used to verify if a person or department has more work than can be efficiently handled; or if productivity in an area could be raised.
“The important thing at all times is to have the actual data that lets you make the right decisions,” Fry says.
Productivity is a product of many inputs, one of which is the applications of tools that employees use to do their jobs.
“You can look at what different people use, and how effective their software or tools are,” Fry explains, “And, by monitoring workers, you can accurately analyse what applications make workers more productive.
“And this relates back to the company KPIs because you need to make sure you are running good software that complements what people do.”
Watch the full interview here.
Saucecode is a software development and innovation company that employs cutting-edge technologies including robotics to create business applications and products that deploy into a variety of industries.
Software applications are based on Saucecode’s intellectual property (IP) and available under license for general market consumption.
The company addresses a number of areas of development: Internet of Things (IoT); Web development; web and native app development; e-commerce; distributed software and API development; user experience (UX); artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.
Tistro is a general business software application that delivers the ability to measure, monitor and manage time and productivity, helping business to truly understand the productivity and behavior within their user base in order to monitor, manage, enhance and even automate time and productivity outputs.
The application will improve user performance, aid in user appraisals and assist in optimising user work methods and training. It will also allow an organisation to manage employee’s wellbeing through identifying work life imbalances.
Tistro allows line management and human resources departments to review users work performance and work loading on an ongoing basis to establish any behavior anomalies that could affect productivity. The application’s main benefit to any business is that it saves thousands of man hours by optimizing the performance management process and having the full control of project time and budget utilization.