The Most Cautious Way to Track Tech Employee Productivity

IT salaries have been rising steadily over the last several years, and many companies are using productivity trackers to look into the ways their teams are spending their time and to evaluate employee performance. However, tracking apps come with a host of challenges ranging from privacy infringement to tracking the right metrics to knowing how to respond to the data collected. When utilizing these applications, it’s important to proceed with caution in order to get the most from your investment.

Know What You Want To Achieve

Before you begin tracking employee productivity, you must know what it is you want to get out of the process. Leaders must have a clear understanding of what they want to gain from tracking and which metrics are the most important.  Once leadership has a clear set of goals, they should be communicated to the team. From there, the process should be applied equally to every employee, without deviating or making exceptions. Team members will find out if everyone has their own set of standards, and it could lead to tension and dissention among the group.

Track Employee Activity Without Acting As “Big Brother”

If you are going to track your tech team’s productivity, you must be transparent about the process. Employees should be told when they will be monitored and how they will be monitored.  Most organizations require their employees to sign an agreement stating that they understand how the monitoring process works.  Even though their online activities and email exchanges should always be professional, people have the right to know that someone is watching.

Employees also deserve to know the “why” behind the tracking process. If, for example, clients pay you by the hour, it is necessary to be able to “prove” the hours you’re billing for.  Explain how the metrics you’re following are tied to the employee’s goals, and ways in which the data will be used to improve processes over time. Failing to act transparently when tracking to productive can lead to feelings of betrayal, lowered morale and ultimately, increased turnover.

Remember, IT Work Is Not An Assembly Line

On an assembly line, each team member has one job to do. They take that same action all day, every day. It’s easy to track productivity in an apples-to-apples fashion in such an environment. IT work is very different. No two team members approach their work in the same way. Some people may need to get up and move around every hour, while others can get in the zone for long stretches before taking a break. Some people work better in the office, while others get more done at home. Judging everyone’s productivity by the same set standards isn’t necessarily going to give you a clear picture. The person who takes more frequent breaks may actually get more done than the person who likes to get in the zone.

The key to determining productivity isn’t necessarily tracking idle time vs non-idle time. Those metrics should be tracked, but ultimately, it’s the end result that matters the most. Any productivity tracking initiative should always consider output as part of the equation.

“When using metrics to gauge or improve performance, don’t use metrics for metrics sake…be sure that the things you measure can make a positive impact on both results and the processes used to achieve those results,” says Brendan Coghlan, CSS Tech Director.

If you are looking for tech talent and you want to improve your recruiting and hiring strategies, the IT experts at CSS can help.  Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve your technology hiring goals.