Productivity matters. Does it measure up where you work?

Low productivity, the root cause of many organizational problems, saps business growth and performance. It’s a costly problem, too. It can lead not only to decreased profitability but low team morale, employee disengagement, wasted resources, lack of innovation, burnout, turnover and reduced customer satisfaction.


Top Workplaces excel at driving productivity. Energage survey data show when employees are asked whether they do things efficiently and well at their organization, 73 percent at aspiring organizations responded positively; that number jumps as high as 94 percent at Top Workplaces.

Productivity is a measure of economic performance that reflects output compared to input. Workplace productivity reflects the goods and services versus the labor and costs. Productivity can be best described as the amount of work executed over a specific period. 

Work productivity indicates how well employees work to support key business goals and overall performance. It reveals much about an organization, including how employee morale impacts profitability. 

Individual productivity and business performance rely on employee engagement and organizational efficiency. Businesses will only see improvements in their output when inputs are improved or increased.  

Efficiency and productivity are similar concepts but not the same. Work efficiency refers to how well a business uses its resources, while work productivity refers to the quantity of work completed — productivity increases when resources, including employees, are used efficiently.  

As mentioned earlier, productivity is measured by comparing business input to business output. Workplace efficiency measures the quality of input that goes into that equation, meaning that it has a significant impact on increasing productivity.  

So how can you best improve productivity in the workplace? Not every organization can use the same approach, depending on its culture, employees, goals, procedures, and structure. But these strategies for improving productivity can move the needle: 

  • Create a comfortable culture focused on a positive employee experience.
  • Develop productivity metrics and educate employees on their importance. 
  • Increase focus by eliminating unnecessary distractions.
  • Enable effective communications between individuals, teams, managers, and leaders.  
  • Encourage a balance between mental breaks and productivity. 
  • Focus on well-being to prevent burnout in employees. 
  • Remove unproductive or unnecessary meetings. 
  • Recognize and appreciate productive employees. 

Productivity is measured at many different levels, including the individual, the team, the company and the industry. When it comes to measuring, consider: 

  • Customer satisfaction 
  • Employee motivation 
  • Growth and development 
  • Labor utilization rate 
  • Overtime 
  • Project execution 
  • Revenue and profit 


Roadblocks to productivity include: 

  • Thinking the most efficient way is always the most productive
  • Failing to document efficient processes
  • Redundant processes and duplication
  • Bottlenecks and inefficient handoffs
  • Employee burnout  

Businesses often dismiss these as minor challenges when contributing significantly to productivity, performance, and profitability. Maximizing productivity means removing these roadblocks in the employee experience and making improvements.

Employee engagement directly impacts work productivity, whether good or bad. Top Workplaces defines employee engagement as “a positive psychological state where an employee feels an emotional commitment to the organization and its goals.” When companies have higher employee engagement, they have better performance, happier employees — and greater productivity. 

An essential advantage of improved productivity is increased profitability. With that comes competitiveness and improvements in recruitment. Productivity growth also boosts employee motivation, satisfaction, and overall career growth.

Bob Helbig is media partnerships director at Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Washington Post’s survey partner for Top Workplaces.

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