John, an employee at a software company, has been staying overtime for a whole week working on a required task. Alex, his colleague, was able to perform the same task in four days while still leaving the company on time.

For some employers, John is more of a hard worker than Alex. The only factor these managers consider when evaluating their employees is the time spent at work.  For them, employees who spend lots of time working are better than employees who leave on time.  However, a deeper look at things can tell us that Alex is more productive than John. He has accomplished the same task in less time.

Employers usually tend to evaluate the effort done by their employees while overlooking the results they are accomplishing. As a company owner, your main focus is on getting work done. So your key concern should be productivity! Productivity has nothing to do with the number of hours spent on a given task. A more experienced employee can accomplish tasks faster. Of course, completing a task in four days is more efficient than completing the same task in one week.

When dealing with your employees, remember to focus on results more than efforts. Do not get overwhelmed with workers who spend ten hours a day at your company! They might be taking more time than necessary to accomplish their tasks. Rather than asking employees how much time they have spent on a given task, ask them about what they have accomplished. Let them report back to you once they finish their current task. Make your deadlines clear, and let them know if they missed one. Follow up with them to help them prevent missing more deadlines.

So the next time you want to evaluate your employees, keep in mind that results matter more than effort!