How to Measure Employee Productivity

How to Measure Employee Productivity

Tracking Raw Output

For my first real job post-college dropout, I was copying and pasting blogs onto websites. I’d add an internal link, an image, and then publish it. Every time I did that, I clicked a little button in our internal dashboard, and my hourly productivity number would go up. This number was available for everyone in the company to see, and I could see everyone else’s. A sort of social accountability.

I was cruising along pretty well for quite a few months, then crashed and burned. I would claim that I posted more than I actually did, swamped with balancing my productivity number and client deadlines. I was burnt out and ended up resenting my job.

Employee Self-Reporting

After I quit my first job, I got a decent pay bump and started my first “real SEO job.” I was auditing sites based on a pre-set checklists we had, as well as implementing recommendations from those.

Every day I’d track how many I did, and then at the end of the week, I’d submit all of my numbers to my manager.

This one wasn’t too bad, especially compared to my previous job, my levels of stress were through the floor. However, I had a lot less respect for the company.

It was your typical corporate business trying to act like a cool startup. An executive team so focused on sales and removed from the day to day lives of those on the ground floor. Employee churn was normal, and a part of day to day business for them.

A full-company furlough later, and I’ve lost any ounce of respect for the company that I had. I started to fudge my numbers and lost any motivation I had left, counting down the minutes till I could leave.


This is where I am right now. It’s a pretty simple productivity tracking system we have set up. There isn’t one.

I have a great relationship with my boss, he’s there to help me out, and is always there to show up for me. So I return the favor.

Not every day is a high productivity day. When it isn’t, I don’t feel terrible about myself and need to dig myself out of a productivity hole. I just show up the next day refreshed and ready to work.

There are some weeks that are lighter, and some weeks that are busier, and I show up accordingly. If I’m not working on deliverables, then I’m thinking about higher-level optimizations and strategies.

I care about my output. Not because of productivity, but because I care about this company and I care about my boss. Needless to say, this is the happiest and most relaxed I’ve felt at a job. Not to mention, I’m performing better than ever before.

So what’s the punchline?

Decide who you want to be. Do you want to be a boss, a manager, or a leader? Do you want your employees to care about their productivity, or your business as a whole?

If you show up for your employees, then they’ll show up for you.

As always, discussion over here on Twitter.