temporary worker happiness

Three ways to measure the productivity of temp staff

When measuring the productivity of your temporary staff, when you can expand your measurement index beyond labour productivity you can achieve a clearer understanding of how productivity can be improved across your entire workforce.

Yet organisations are often real, not ideal. Strategies are developed to guide the efforts of management and workers toward a set of objectives. However, the complexity of the relationship between the productivity of the individual temporary worker and the overall company performance extends far beyond that of simply time taken vs outputs produced.


Three ways to measure the productivity of your temporary staff

Method 1 - Efficiency model

This model looks at the financial return on output in relation to the cost of resources used. For example, the sale price of a product vs the cost of all the material elements that go into it.

Pros - Uses only quantifiable inputs and outputs making calculation and interpretation relatively straightforward. Additionally, as this model defines outputs and inputs in monetary terms, productivity is directly reconcilable with profitability - making it initially a more attractive method.

Cons - Focusing on the relationship between income and expenditure provides a narrow view of the business and its staff. This can lead to decisions based on financial return alone - jeopardising employee wellbeing, customer satisfaction and quality standards.

Method 2 - Effectiveness model This model looks at outputs in relation to individual and organisational targets. For example, warehouse operatives picking a minimum number of items ready for shipping.

Pros - Works best for departmental analysis because it helps to identify where smaller changes in productivity across units of the organisation can be made.

Cons - Focusing on the achievement of performance targets can put employee happiness, loyalty, performance, corporate culture, customer satisfaction and product or service quality at risk.

Measuring productivity based on one aspect alone, i.e. the efficiency model (producing more at the least financial cost) can place extreme burdens on your staff, increase presenteeism and have a disastrous effect on customer satisfaction, brand positioning, quality and overall success.

What is Presenteeism?

Presenteeism is the practice of coming to work despite illness, injury or anxiety often resulting in burnout and reduced productivity. Left unchecked this can be a major problem across workforces but can be extremely common in temporary staff, as they are concerned that they could risk their job, lose essential hours, or be overlooked for a permanent position if they are absent.

Measuring the productivity of temporary staff in terms of efficiency or effectiveness and adapting targets to maximise overall productivity can unintentionally lead to a culture of presenteeism amongst staff.

Demonstrating transparency in the decision-making process, providing clarity on expectations and goals, advocating the importance of employee wellness and leading by example can all help to minimise presenteeism across temporary workforces.

Method 3 - Efficient, effective and productive model

This is a multi-factor output vs input approach that measures many interrelated factors including staff performance, happiness and wellbeing as well as quality, customer satisfaction, turnover and demand.

Pros - Provides a detailed view of organisational and departmental productivity, efficiency and effectiveness. With so many data points we can begin to answer the what, why and how questions so well-informed decisions can be made.

Cons - Creating the measurement model and defining the baseline metrics can be labour intensive. Leaders and decision-makers need to clearly understand the relationship between the metrics set, the data gathered and the organisational and departmental goals to make maximum use of the data.

While no measurement index is without fault, this model combines both quantifiable and unquantifiable tasks with employee wellbeing and happiness, in addition to customer satisfaction and quality, to ensure essential improvements can be made in the right areas.

Making use of the data

Once captured, the data needs to be analysed so that actionable insights can be derived and plans for improvement can be defined.

  1. Identify a pattern.

    Identifying the pattern of productivity peaks and troughs can lead to simple but effective changes. Common factors include;

     Time of day

     Daylight and weather conditions

                Before or after performance reviews

                Before or after payday


  2. Find the root cause.

    Seeking to understand why and uncover areas of improvement that could have a dramatic impact on productivity across the entire organisation. Common causes include;

    Distractions and noise

                Workload distribution

     Stress and anxiety

                Financial concerns

                Insufficient tools

               Lack of knowledge or training


  3. Collaborative analysis and decision making.

Many small changes across several roles or departments can have a bigger impact on overall productivity than a few big changes.

Making the data analysis and decision-making process a collaborative effort can help to ensure that any decisions made do not overlook or negatively impact departments, groups or individuals.

In this series we are looking to unlock the secrets behind empowering, engaging and motivating your entire workforce with the power of happiness. Although they are often under-represented within existing productivity and business development guidance, Blue Arrow believes that temporary workers are an integral part of the wider workforce driving businesses - so to find out more about how you can use happiness to improve productivity throughout your entire organisation, click here.

measuring productivity
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