Distinguishing Employee Performance and Productivity: A Modern Perspective - EmployeeConnect HRIS
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Distinguishing Employee Performance and Productivity: A Modern Perspective



In our contemporary workplace, there’s often a haze of confusion when it comes to differentiating between employee performance and productivity. The subtleties between these two concepts frequently elude us, and it’s essential to unravel these distinctions. Productivity management typically falls within the purview of Human Resources (HR) systems, while performance management stands as a potent instrument to deploy the overarching corporate strategy.

The past decade has witnessed a significant shift in organisations that now connect performance closely with their strategic business objectives. This innovative approach allocates responsibility equitably between employees and employers, promoting alignment between individual goals and broader corporate ambitions. This evolved performance management model encourages employee engagement, coaxing them to give their utmost. In summary, this paradigm integrates individual performance seamlessly into an organisations business blueprint.

Regrettably, the prevailing notion often casts performance management as a looming “Big Brother” presence imposed by HR on employees. Consequently, many believe it to be incompatible with personal development and the cultivation of a positive workplace culture.

Understanding Performance and Productivity


Performance can be distilled as “an employee’s ability to fulfil their mission aligned with an organisations expectations.” To illustrate, envision a performer on a stage. Both the theatre company and the audience hold their unique expectations. Notably, a stellar performance is anticipated to translate into increased ticket sales. Likewise, when we discuss enhanced performance for a vehicle, it involves traveling longer distances while consuming less fuel.

However, if we wish to quantify an individual’s performance (i.e., their output), we should invoke the term “efficiency.” Depending on the nature of the work, an employee’s productivity can be assessed in various ways. For instance, in a call centre, the number of calls managed in a week serves as a productivity indicator for a customer service agent. Nevertheless, their performance will be evaluated based on the quality of these calls in adherence to the organisations customer service standards and procedures.

For a comprehensive view, it is imperative to interconnect productivity with efficiency, essentially doing the “right” things. For instance, a salesperson may set objectives to meet with five prospects weekly and secure at least a second meeting with one of them.

Why the Distinction Matters


Comprehending the differences between performance and productivity is paramount because modern performance management is inextricably linked to an organisations performance and success. It fosters accountability, shedding light on what works and what doesn’t within a business.

To successfully implement this model, performance management is synced with the five phases of the performance cycle: planning, monitoring, implementation, evaluation, and recognition. These phases align with a continuous improvement cycle rooted in the Plan-Do-Check-Act framework, also known as the Deming cycle.

For this model to excel, periodic management and review of employee performance are essential. After setting significant goals, employees collaborate with their managers to establish personalised Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in line with corporate objectives. Depending on the organisations dynamics, employees will self-manage, assess, and update their performance regularly.


How Employee Performance and Productivity Impact Organisational Culture:


  • Cultural Expectations: Employee performance reflects and reinforces the cultural expectations within an organisation. A culture that values high-performance may foster a climate of innovation, excellence, and accountability, while a more relaxed culture might prioritise adaptability and work-life balance.
  • Values Alignment: Employee performance that aligns with an organisations core values can strengthen the organisational culture, creating a shared sense of purpose. Values-driven cultures tend to be more cohesive and employee-focused.
  • Recognition and Feedback: Performance evaluations and recognition programs can significantly affect the culture. Frequent, constructive feedback fosters a culture of continuous improvement and learning. On the other hand, neglecting feedback can lead to frustration and disengagement, affecting the overall culture.


Key Takeaways


Increasingly, organisations communicate their executive management’s objectives, enabling employees, who are directly affected by these objectives, to tailor their own accordingly.

Integrated performance management tools, such as EmployeeConnect, offer performance dashboards that facilitate performance monitoring. These tools are gaining prominence for their capacity to make all employees cognisant of the various elements within the performance management process. Each employee takes responsibility for their performance plan and objectives, directly connected to the enterprise’s overarching goals.

This approach aligns seamlessly with the concept of empowering employees with more autonomy while nurturing their well-being in a positive work environment. While it might entail more upfront work, it streamlines the administration of rewards and benefits, positively impacting HR’s efficiency.

In the fiercely competitive corporate landscape, performance is paramount. Embracing the concept of performance and leveraging tailored tools becomes indispensable.


For more relevant posts:

  1. How HR Automation Transforms the Employee Lifecycle
  2. Cultivating Empathy: A Pathway to Sustainable Success
  3. 5 Ways to Maximise Productivity for Remote Jobs


Matthew Dedes