Outcomes Over Outputs: Why Productivity is No Longer the Metric That Matters Most | Deloitte Insights

Talent Management

Organizations employ various measures to gauge performance, with productivity being a traditional measure. While definitions and measurements of productivity differ among organizations, one assumption is that higher productivity involves reducing inputs while increasing output. However, this new article highlights the shortcomings of relying solely on input-output or “do more with less” productivity metrics. The authors, including Talent Edge Weekly subscriber Sue Cantrell, advocate for organizations to rethink their productivity measures beyond output and efficiency. The article outlines several limitations of traditional productivity metrics, such as 1) Ignoring Knowledge and Invisible Work: With technology enabling more knowledge work and open-ended job models, many workers perform tasks beyond their formal job scope, which may not be adequately captured in productivity measures. 2) Exclusion of Important Contributors: As the number of external contributors (e.g., contractors, freelancers, etc.) continues to expand in many organizations, traditional productivity metrics may fail to capture the contributions of these external workers, leading to an inaccurate view of organizational performance. Considering these limitations, the authors propose a shift from productivity-focused metrics to focusing on both business outcomes (e.g., web traffic increase) and human outcomes (e.g., well-being and personal growth). Several other ideas are discussed on how organizations can rethink their measures of performance.