Mary Lou Joseph
2 minute read
By Mary Lou Joseph
Posted in Customer Engagement
Oh, how times (and expectations) have changed. It used to be that to measure productivity an operations manager just needed to be able to track throughput at a department level (and possibly at an individual employee level). Not anymore.
In today’s operations environments, advances in technology such as work flow engines that accurately capture true processing results and desktop analytics tools like Desktop and Process Analytics (DPA) enable us to understand true employee performance. Real productivity is no longer a macro measurement of output across an employee’s day, but rather can be quantified down to the level of what type of work and quantity was completed, how long it took, and how well it was executed.
Hence the evolving concepts of productivity and effectiveness – or, as one of my colleagues in professional services used to call it – “will” versus “skill.”
Let’s start with “skill” or productivity. With our tools today, we can know how much time was spent in production, how many transactions were processed of each processing type, combine it with a validated processing standard and come up with a true measure of productivity that can be compared across employees no matter what part of the organization in which they work.
Now, you may have noticed the last paragraph, I referenced “how much time was spent in production.” This is where “will” or effectiveness comes into play. Say you have built your organizational capacity based on an expectation that everyone is spending 7 out of every 8 hours actually processing production work. With DPA, we can now see if that is really a valid assumption and better understand differences in how employees spend their time. For example, in our old world, if two employees had the same daily throughput results, we would have assumed they were equally productive. Now, we may find completely different results as we break apart skill and will.
If the first employee gets her production work done in 5 hours, she has a high productivity score, but not necessarily a high effectiveness score, because she only spent 5 hours actually performing production work –high skill but low will. The second employee may have taken 7 hours to get the same about of work completed, so has a lower pure productivity score than the first employee, but is more highly effective, spending all of her available time in production – low skill but high will. Clearly, these two are no longer “equal,” and each one requires a different type of management support in order to increase their overall performance.
Today’s operations managers are tasked with doing more with less. Improving employee productivity and effectiveness is one way to do so. For example, a mutual life insurer was struggling with a backlog, excessive overtime, and missed service goals. By utilizing Impact 360 for Back-office Operations, they were able to align resources with work volumes, refocus employees on the high-value production work, and understand where opportunities existed to improve the will and the skill of their resources.
How do you measure productivity? What other factors do you take into consideration when assessing the performance of your employees? Share your story below.
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