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Employer beware: Your unproductive personnel may be costing you millions

Worker productivity is the amount of services an employee produces in a given amount of time. What is the bottom of the scalelike?

A typical office desk. Image by User:Mattes / Public Domain
A typical office desk. Image by User:Mattes / Public Domain

Newly compiled data shows low-productivity workers are active for a mere 90 minutes per day, wasting $48,000 of a typical $60,000 annual salary. For large organizations, these sums can add up to millions of dollars over a few years. While productivity is difficult to define, low activity signals low output and low workplace morale.

The figures also mean for businesses that, based on hours worked, the least productive employees are earning more per hour than the most productive employees.

The Least Productive Employees Earn More per Hour

Compensation for an employee working 90 minutes per day and earning $60,000 annually, converts to an average hourly rate of $121.50, with an adjusted annual salary of $252,653. For an employee with average rates of productivity, compensation drops to $53 per hour and an adjusted salary of $111,000. For the highest performers, it drops to $44 per hour and an annual adjusted salary of $91,254.

Furthermore, more than 80 percent of an eight-hour day is unaccounted for “gap time”for employees with low productivity, something that will inevitably have a direct impact on revenue to the business.

Developing the data

These data comes from the Prodoscore Research Council, which is made up of Human Resources, Future of Work and productivity experts. The survey evaluated over 21.7 million data points collected from close to 3,000 U.S.-based employees and 140 organizations.

The findings are significant given that the report suggests that low-productivity employees comprise approximately 12 percent of any organization. Hence, the insights into employee productivity will be essential to any company as they consider their return to work plans and look at assessing their employees’ productivity.

In contrast to the low productivity workers, employees with average productivity ratings represented 72.7 percent of the sample; and employees with high productivity ratings constituted 16.1 percent of the sample.

Gap Times Range Between 45%-80%

High- and average-productivity individuals are doing productive work for around four hours (240 minutes) with approximately 58.5% of their day registering as gap time. They tend to start their days earlier and end later than low-productivity individuals.

Gap time for the three productivity levels is highest at the beginning of the day. The low- productivity group takes approximately two hours to show a decrease in gap time, suggesting they are slower to start their day, compared to one hour for average- and high-productivity employees. Also, the low-productivity group shows more than 15 minutes of gap time per hour throughout the day, while average/high-productivity employees show less than 10 minutes.

Key measures

The study analyzed the three levels of productivity, looking at five business applications:

Email: Highly productive employees send almost 8 times more emails compared to employees with low productivity, while those with average productivity send just over 3 times more emails as employees with low productivity.

Calendar time: High- and average-productive employees schedule approximately 1.4 times more calendar time as employees with low productivity.

Messaging and chat: Highly productive employees send 4 times as many chat messages as employees with low productivity, while those with average productivity send 2.5 times as many chat messages as employees with low productivity.

Voice and video: Highly productive employees have 2 times as much voice and video activity as employees with low productivity, while those with average productivity have 1.6 times as much voice and video activity as employees with low productivity.

Customer relationship management (CRM): High- and average-productive employees have approximately 1.6 times more CRM activity as employees with low productivity.

Documents: Highly productive employees work on more than twice as many documents as employees with low productivity, while those with average productivity work on 1.7 times as many documents as employees with low productivity.

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Using such data, there may be opportunities to target organizational training and development opportunities to specific individuals (clustered around behaviour), as well as considering other means to boost productivity.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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