Almost everyone has worked at a job where a manager tells them to “be more productive” without any guidance or definition. They’ve been told to work harder and be efficient, but, in the absence of any concrete advice, implementing this feedback is next to impossible. As we all know, coaching employees with cliches is counterproductive.
That’s where employee productivity metrics come in. Metrics for frontline industries such as retail, manufacturing, and hospitality help managers provide practical, concrete solutions and give frontline workers real tools to improve. Not only can clear KPIs enhance output, but they also boost morale.
Clear guidance allows people to do their jobs better. That is good for the numbers and even better for the people behind those numbers.
Why Frontline Workers Need Employee Productivity Metrics
It would be easy to manage a business with one employee. You could always have a sense of what they are doing and would be able to offer specific and concrete advice about what they can be doing better.
Leaders of frontline workforces don’t have that luxury. Global enterprises might have hundreds or thousands of workers in various factories, warehouses, stores, and outposts around the world. There’s no way to understand what everyone is doing all at once.
Productivity metrics give you a more clear picture. They allow managers to make sense of employee behaviors and understand what their workforce needs. This clarity around goals is crucial for frontline workers. Having accurate, meaningful guidance helps them do their jobs better and more efficiently. It also helps them understand the value of their work and feel connected to the team.
Metrics are the input that creates better output. But for frontline workers, employee productivity metrics are not about control. They are all about support.
Top Employee Productivity Metrics to Improve Morale
A business can have metrics for everything. Every action can, in theory, generate data. But too much data is overwhelming and can muddle the broader picture. By separating the signal from the noise, you can find the data that gives you a clear picture at what’s happening with your frontline workers.
Retail Productivity Metrics
Retail operations have a pretty well-defined set of metrics. Some of the most helpful include:
- Sales per employee. Understanding this metric can help managers make better hiring and scheduling decisions and allow training programs to be tailored to improve sales.
- Transaction value. Not all sales are equal. Seeing how big-ticket items are moving and why can help employees know what to push and what not to.
- Product knowledge. Making a game out of product knowledge can challenge employees to learn the ins and outs of every product they sell so they can provide better customer service to shoppers.
- Returns. Are a lot of products being returned? This could be an indicator that employees are promoting incorrect products or services. Better product knowledge can help change this.
- Sales per visitor. Door counters are an easy way to understand how many people are coming through your door that day. Knowing how many of them actually convert into sales is a great indicator of whether or not employees are helping them find what they’re looking for and make a purchase.
Retail is all about improving sales. When you staff correctly, train smartly, and improve knowledge, you make the customer experience smoother. And happy customers mean happier employees.
Hospitality Productivity Metrics
Hospitality is an umbrella term for a number of businesses in the service industry, from restaurants to hotels to spas. While there is no one number that captures everything, there are a few important metrics available to assess productivity:
- Sales per employee. This metric can help restaurants and other hospitality services schedule for maximum productivity.
- Labor cost percentage. The lower the number, the more productive the labor force. Seeing where you’re at can help you improve staffing or training.
- Repeat visitors. People come back again and again when they’re happy. Setting up a loyalty or visitor tracking program is a great way to assess if your employees are giving visitors the best possible experience.
- Complaints. A centralized complaint system provides insight into which locations are underperforming and why. With this information, managers can give frontline workers any guidance they need to ensure customer expectations are met.
Hospitality is a people-centric business. How well people are treated can’t always be measured, but these metrics help reveal how your visitors feel about their experience.
Manufacturing Productivity Metrics
In some ways, manufacturing has the most straightforward productivity metrics. These include:
- Errors. How many items have to be binned? What is the error rate in any given process? Where do these occur? With this data, you can understand which processes need to be improved.
- Units produced. This measures how much product is being created. If the number is below your expectations, it’s a sign that employees need better support.
- Revenue per employee. Knowing how productive your business is in relation to labor cost can help you define your future staffing goals, whether that is getting leaner or building up your team.
- Adoption rate. Every manufacturing business rolls out new processes and products. Success largely depends on how quickly employees adopt them. Measuring the adoption rate in your team can not only help you improve adoption, it can also reveal communication and training gaps.
The best way to improve all metrics in manufacturing is to continue to build engagement.
Universal Employee Productivity Metrics
Some metrics span across industries.
- Employee net promoter score. How much do employees promote their work? Would they recommend a job at your company to friends and family? Being able to gauge this (anonymously) can tell you a lot about employee engagement and morale.
- Employee turnover rate. How often are people leaving? Do they stay for years, or do they quickly jump ship? The answers give you a window into team morale and happiness.
- Absenteeism. Are employees missing shifts? This could be an indicator that they’re unhappy and don’t feel like their participation really matters.
- Onboarding success. While it can be hard to quantify successful onboarding, it’s easy to identify one that doesn’t work. If an employee leaves after three or six months, chances are that onboarding was lacking.
- Interaction with internal communications. New processes, company news, celebrations, praise for good work—internal communications are how frontline workers stay connected. If they aren’t interacting with internal communication tools, it’s usually for one of two reasons: lack of easy access to communications and a lack of involvement. If workers feel left out, they don’t reach out to the team, and they get even more distant.
Improving all of these metrics boils down to one thing: communication.
Transform Communication for Your Frontline Workforce
Lack of product knowledge. Not knowing how to help customers. Errors due to inadequate training. Feeling left out. Feeling underappreciated. These all lead to unhappy employees, low morale, and poor performance. It shows up in the metrics.
A centralized communication platform that’s easy to use and mobile-friendly connects frontline workers to the information, support, and colleagues they need to succeed. They can receive internal communications, talk to each other, receive the recognition they deserve, and celebrate others being recognized. They are able to participate in clear, streamlined onboarding and training processes that set them up for success at every stage of their career.
With the right communication and collaboration tools, frontline workers are more engaged and empowered to do their best work — which will ultimately be reflected in your employee productivity metrics.
- Access to schedules from anywhere
- Easy communication with colleagues to switch shifts
- A simple approval process for shift changes