Productivity audits help you identify areas for improvement in your organization. But how to conduct them? Let’s take a look...
There are so many productivity tips and hacks out there. That being said, productivity is more than just implementing hacks. Productivity is a continuous process. It relies on you learning which systems work for your team, regularly evaluating their efficacy, and making adjustments as needed.
The unavoidable starting point for evaluating performance is knowing how to calculate productivity. Then how to optimize it using the findings you gather.
One of the most effective ways to consistently assess your productivity is via productivity audits. What is a productivity audit exactly? And what’s the best way to conduct them? Let’s dig in...
What Is a Productivity Audit?
Do you ever feel that the management systems and processes you have in place aren’t yielding the results that you expect? To determine where the main issues lie, a great place to start is a productivity audit.
A productivity audit is a thorough assessment of all the tools, systems, and processes you have in your business to identify problems in these areas. By making it a priority to engage in these audits regularly, you can establish solutions that boost productivity over time.
In remote and hybrid workforces, productivity audits have taken on even greater importance. That’s because the inherent nature of remote or split teams function can result in an increased prevalence of productivity leaks.
But how do you go about conducting a productivity audit? Let’s dive into some tips on how to conduct a successful productivity audit.
How to Conduct Productivity Audits for Your Organization
1. Make Sure You Have an Effective Productivity Monitoring System in Place
You can't measure your team's productivity if you don't have the proper tools to track it in the first place. The first step to take is to find an effective workforce productivity software for your organization.
Your workplace productivity software tool will provide the foundation of your productivity audit. It does this by yielding productivity data based on employee activity, time of tasks and projects, performance benchmarks, and more.
Having this foundational, data-focused system in place means your productivity audit will be built on objective, accurate data, which is vital to any audit. And that’s a must for its success.
2. Track Time Spent Online and Offline
For the most part, many consider time spent in front of a computer to be the only productivity they need to assess. The truth? Work done at the computer is not the only type of work that matters when measuring employee productivity.
Failing to track other tasks like meetings, organizational/planning tasks, and other work-based activities means missing out on productivity that absolutely contributes to your organization. In other words, any audit you undertake will be incomplete if offline time is overlooked.
Make sure that you have systems in place to track your employees’ productivity both online and offline. This way, you can be sure that the picture of productivity you have -- and that you are auditing -- is complete.
3. Assess Productivity Contextually
Tech is an integral part for all teams, but it’s especially crucial for hybrid workplaces as these tools are the connective tissue that hold remote workers and in-office workers together.
That being said, not all tools are productive for all roles.
Take the time to assess your current tools and understand whether or not they contribute to the productivity of certain teams. Doing so is critical to forming an accurate picture of productivity as part of your audit.
With a better understanding of how different tools or resources impact different team members’ productivity, you can produce a more accurate productivity audit with fewer variables that skew the outcomes.
4. Identify Task Duration and Repetition
When you put your mind into creating an employee productivity calculation for each team member, you’re typically going to find trends in how long it takes employees to complete specific tasks.
Once your systems are set up, begin separating tasks by employee and group and see how much each individual employee is spending on said tasks by producing productivity reports for employees.
The goal of a productivity audit here is to find rote tasks that may differ in the time they take to complete. Or, low ROI tasks that are consuming a disproportionate amount of time for your team.
Once you reveal trends that are curtailing your team’s productivity, you need to make a decision whether to outsource, automate or build standard operating procedures (SOPs) to improve efficiency. (Or, if they are deemed redundant, eliminate them entirely).
Over time, you can continue to leverage this employee productivity measurement data to enhance your organization’s productivity further.
With a better understanding of how long it takes employees to complete certain tasks, you can leverage your productivity audits to identify where certain employees are falling behind in their work.
5. Create Employee Productivity Benchmarks
When you first begin analyzing data from a productivity audit, you may feel inundated with data collected through your workforce productivity software. The good news is that the more data you have, the sooner you can create employee productivity benchmarks.
These will set the standards for how long you expect a certain task to take. Then, you can use your benchmarks to reward employees who are meeting them.
But what about employees who may be falling a bit behind? Data from a productivity audit can be used to identify where issues may exist. Then, with this knowledge in hand, you can provide additional support to employees to help them reach set benchmarks. You may also want to provide extra support via time management activities to improve employees’ productivity.
In the context of productivity audits, having benchmarks allows you to identify areas for improvement between individuals and teams. This helps you to create a culture of continuous improvement in your team.
6. Find Systemic Causes of Bottlenecks
Sometimes, performance that isn’t meeting benchmarks isn’t indicative of low employee productivity. Rather, it can be the result of issues with the system itself. A few examples that may reduce overall workplace productivity include a lack of training, a lack of resources, or unbalanced workloads.
When you’re looking into data, reach out to your employees to see where they may be facing resistance or obstacles. They will give you the insight you need to make sense of employee productivity calculation data and move forward more successfully.
With a better understanding of bottlenecks that are impacting productivity, you can remove the systemic causes of them.
7. Align Your Priorities With KPIs
Even when you have an established work plan, day-to-day tasks can sometimes get in the way and prevent us from hitting our milestones. And, often, it requires you to take a step back and conduct a productivity audit to take stock. That is, to realign daily activity with your KPIs.
Naturally, the first step is to t have KPIs in place to ensure that employees are hitting certain milestones daily, weekly, or monthly. Otherwise, taking the time to learn how to track productivity won’t yield the results you need.
With KPIs in place, you will have clear priorities for achieving them. And, by conducting regular productivity audits, you can determine whether these priorities are being respected. And, if they aren’t, the results of your audit will help you do something about it.
Productivity Audits Result in Productivity Gains
Conducting regular productivity audits allows you to see trends, slippages and shortcomings of your team’s productivity. Then, through the use of dedicated tools, improved systems, and employee productivity calculation, better productivity is on the horizon.
Use the guide above to establish all the systems you need to make productivity audits a fixture of your workplace and take your performance to the next level!