3 employee metrics worth measuring in 2022

Uncertainty has abounded for businesses over the past 24 months. Whether they were adapting to operational transitions, supply chain disruptions or hiring challenges, unpredictability was in order.

Assessing this unpredictable business landscape, the New York Times notes, “Across businesses large and small, new and old, public and private, 2021 has been a year that has upended expectations. Through it all, CEOs have traded in some of their favorite tropes — timelines, confidence, strategic plans — for something new: saying, “I don’t know.” Or even: “I changed my mind”.

So it’s no surprise that business leaders are looking for some semblance of certainty. They consult with experts, read tea leaves and, most importantly, dig into data. This is especially true when it comes to measuring employee productivity.

The once rapid and now expansive transition to remote or hybrid working arrangements has left many companies hungry for new and better insights into their employee productivity. In other words, they seek certainty.

With nearly 80% of companies using employee monitoring software, there is no shortage of data to aggregate and analyze. This increasingly capable software can track everything from keystrokes to social media usage. However, when misapplied, this information offers misleading information about employee productivity and organizational well-being.

For leaders looking for certainty in the numbers, here are three employee metrics worth measuring in the coming year.

Commitment #1

Many leaders find it hard to believe that their teams are engaged and working hard when they’re out of the office. In many ways, this is not a new problem. An in-depth 1999 study of emerging trends in telecommuting revealed that management’s trust in employees was a major challenge for companies moving to decentralized work arrangements.

A 2020 Harvard Business Review survey identified similar sentiments as “thirty-eight percent of managers agreed that remote workers are generally less successful than those working in an office.”

This perception injects stress, fear and distrust into the workplace, erodes corporate culture and negatively impacts employees and managers.

Companies should consider measuring employee engagement rather than relying on assumptions or anecdotal evidence. They might even like what they find. Several workplace surveys and studies have found that employee productivity actually improves when their companies shift to remote working, undermining assumptions that remote workers are inherently less engaged than their on-site counterparts. .

Of course, leaders need to be transparent with their processes and up-front about their expectations. When everyone is working from the rulebook, leaders can be more confident than ever that their employees are engaged, regardless of location.

#2 Results

While tracking and measuring employee engagement provides critical insight into a company’s well-being, it also paints an incomplete picture. This is why leaders must refrain from using activity alone as a barometer of success.

For example, it’s easy to confuse activity with productivity, which writer John Herrman describes as “unprofessional work,” which can include everything from getting lost in a Slack thread to prioritizing non-essential tasks over main job functions.

In response, companies should link employee engagement metrics to results analysis, bringing clarity and comfort to companies going through this moment of transformation. Specifically, take the time to determine your key performance indicators (KPIs) and measure progress toward these limited but specific results.

#3 Well-being

Successful businesses are built and supported by successful people. After a pandemic period where fear, uncertainty and doubt were rampant, many people are struggling like never before.

Polls and studies consistently reveal disturbing rates of anxiety, depression and feelings of hopelessness. These mental health issues may or may not be caused by work, but they certainly have significant implications for leaders and their teams. That’s why companies should double down on their investments in employee wellbeing, including:

  • Restore or maintain work/life balance. Many people have dramatically extended their workdays during the pandemic, eroding any semblance of work-life balance. Companies need to know how long their employees are working, and they need to give them the technical tools, financial resources, and explicit approval to recoup their time.
  • Value employee time. It’s hard to prioritize physical, mental and emotional health when the demands of the job are constantly high. Employees consistently report that uninterrupted time is key to improving productivity and reducing stress. Some companies, including Microsoft, have analyzed worker data to identify and prioritize peak productivity times so employees have more time for what matters most.
  • Recognize good work regularly. According to a Gallup survey, less than a third of employees say they have received praise of recognition in the past week. This inexpensive and highly rewarding practice can boost employee morale, build trust and connectedness, and improve everyone’s well-being.

Employee wellbeing may not show up in revenue forecasts, but it’s a fundamental part of a successful business, making it a metric definitely worth measuring.

Measure for clarity

Measuring the right metrics can bring clarity during confusing times by helping companies make better decisions while empowering leaders to support their teams even on uncharted waters.

In 2022, companies will be able to measure employee engagement, results and well-being to make decisions with lasting impact. In this way, the popular online mantra “data has a better idea” can practically affect the organization. Of course, having the right data is as important as what you do with it at the end of the day.

That’s why, for leaders looking for certainty, it’s usually up to them to take the first step.

This article was originally published in Forbes and reproduced with permission.

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