Causes of Low Productivity at Work

Employee productivity is always a top goal for maintenance teams. But it’s not always clear how to measure it—and more importantly, how to improve it.

Here are three common reasons for poor performance at work, and what you need to do to improve work efficiency and increase employee motivation.

Reason 1: Employee productivity isn’t well defined.

Productivity will look different depending on the organization. So, the first step is defining what employee productivity means. It can be any number of things, such as…

  • Operating hours
  • Equipment uptime
  • Cost control
  • Time or cost savings
  • Asset life cycle
  • Quality
  • Reduction in risk, safety, or environmental impact

Be very specific about defining productivity. For example, one MPulse customer measures productivity as planned versus unplanned maintenance and number of “comebacks”—or work that needs to be redone because something wasn’t fixed completely the first time. Their CMMS software provides the data they need to keep track of those metrics.

Reason 2: Ways of measuring productivity are unclear.

Once you define productivity, you need to be able to measure it. Specific and quantitative tools are vital here.

For example, one MPulse customer serves external customers who pay for the services they use. Therefore, they use billable hours as their measurement to improve employee efficiency. Maintenance techs aim for an 80 percent billable rate—which means 80 percent of their time is directly billed to customers, while 20 percent is breaks, vacation, training, etc. They know exactly where they stand each week with a simple CMMS report.

Another way to increase employee efficiency is using benchmarks to measure your team’s productivity. Over time, you can see if the team is performing these tasks faster, indicating that employee productivity is improving.

Whatever you decide to measure, CMMS software gives you the tools you need to determine if your maintenance team is doing the right things to improve employee productivity issues.

Reason 3: Methods to improve productivity are unrealistic or unobtainable.

Next, and probably most importantly, your team needs to understand how they can improve their own productivity levels.

Using our previous example of billable rates, the 80/20 breakdown should be obtainable by technicians. If they can’t improve it because it’s unrealistic, they won’t have any motivation to try.

You also need to make sure your team has what they need to do their jobs. The right resources are essential when you want to help your employees become more productive. That includes the right training, the correct tools or equipment, the necessary time to complete their tasks, and the right materials to do the job.

How are you dealing with employee productivity issues? Leave a comment or contact us. We can help.