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5 Ways Managers Can Gauge an Employee's Productivity

One of the keys to good management is being able to measure your team’s productivity.

Are your employees working hard or are they hardly working? Old jokes aside, productivity is directly tied to a company’s performance,1 so measuring how much your employees are achieving is an important part of being a successful business manager.


Different organizations in different industries have different metrics for measuring productivity, but there are a number of tactics that are universal. These include:

Set Deadlines and Require Updates

You can’t measure productivity unless you know how much you need to achieve in a given time. Deadlines set achievement goals, giving you a clear “hit or miss” metric by which to measure employee performance. To avoid penalizing an employee who encounters unforeseen complications, you should also require regular progress updates so you can fully understand how much effort is going into meeting any particular deadline.

Measure Tasks Completed

“How much did you achieve today?” is a far better way to measure productivity than “How many hours did you work today?” Even when you’re managing wage employees, your first concern should be how many tasks any given employee is able to complete in a given day or week. Are they completing more or less than their peers? Are their tasks getting done quickly enough for the company to turn a profit on their work? By answering these questions, you can get a good sense of an employee’s productivity.

Pay Attention to Results

Of course, completing a lot of tasks means little if the work isn’t any good. That’s why you have to consider results when measuring productivity. A grocery store employee who shelves 1,000 items an hour but shelves most of them incorrectly is working quickly but not productively. Similarly, a sales associate who spends all day on one sales call but delivers a large sale may not be working quickly but is being productive.

Observe Working Habits

One of the easiest ways to determine whether an employee is being productive is to observe how he or she works. Just keep in mind that you aren’t measuring how many breaks an employee takes—you’re measuring whether that employee’s habits are helping or limiting overall productivity.

Measure Profit Per Salary/Wage Dollar

Ultimately, productivity is about getting the most out of your resources, including your human resources. As such, one way to measure employee productivity is to determine how much gross profit you’re making per wage/salary dollar spent. With strong data collection and accounting, you can even measure each employee’s profit contribution, which can help you determine if their productivity is where you need it to be in order to meet your profit goals or whether they need to step up their game.

How Can You Start or Advance a Successful Career in Management?

Being able to effectively measure employee productivity is one of the keys to succeeding in management. But it’s hardly the only key. If you want to gain the full breadth of knowledge you need to be a great business manager, consider earning an advanced business degree or an advanced management degree. Specifically, consider a Master of Business Administration (MBA degree) program.

When you earn a master’s in business administration from one of the best business schools, you can gain top-level business knowledge that you can apply to your own business or to starting or advancing a management career. But enrolling in a top MBA program doesn’t have to mean leaving your current job. Thanks to online education, you can earn your business administration master’s while continuing to work full time. That’s because online MBA programs give you the power to complete your coursework from anywhere you have internet access, including your home. Plus, when you earn an MBA online, you can attend classes at whatever time of day works best for your schedule.

Online learning has made earning an MBA more feasible than ever. And with an online MBA, you can gain the skills and credentials you need to succeed in business.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,