Gauging the productivity of your staff

A reporter asked me, "What’s the best way to gauge employee productivity in a small business?"

A: 1) Focus on results. Give people specific goals and projects, and evaluate whether they achieve the objective on time and within budget.

2) As you grow, don’t oversee everyone yourself. Put other management levels in between you and workers.

3) Have employees submit a weekly activity report, so you can assess whether they have completed a reasonable amount of work that week.

4) Monitor their work. I had an employee who was supposedly working a 40-hour week, when I checked the phone company logs, it turned out he was working for another company on the side and only working 20 hours a week. Don’t be blind and assume even your "star" employee is giving you his/her best. I had another employee who was saying negative things about our company on myspace.com. Be tech savvy, know how to monitor what sites are visited, web postings, etc.

5) Keep a list of all passwords: phone, email, computer, etc. Let employees know they are company property, are not private, and will be monitored. Employees will be less likely to waste time.

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