Most companies missing on metrics to boost employee performance

CFERF/ADP study points to struggle measuring output leading to productivity deficit.

May 9, 2017   by PLANT STAFF

TORONTO — Most companies are not meeting their productivity measurement needs with the tools they are using, according to research by Canadian Financial Executives Research Foundation (CFERF).

The non-profit research arm of the Financial Executives International Canada surveyed 126 senior financial executives across Canada, revealing the most common human resources reporting and analytics tools used are vacation tracking (86%), payroll management (74%) and attendance (71%).

The most common measurements are workforce turnover and financial (such as sales or revenue per full-time equivalent); however, 90% of respondents say these metrics are not fully meeting needs. This is contributing to a productivity deficit in the workforce seen in other recent research, where nearly half (49%) of Canadian workers are not feeling as productive as they could be.

CFERF’s study shows a lack of alignment between the HR and finance departments about which key performance indicators (KPIs) should be used, and how to glean actionable insights from this data to improve productivity and performance.


Payroll is handled by finance in 71% of cases, while one-third (35%) of respondents report finance is also responsible for culture, staffing and strategic planning. Yet even with more metric-savvy financial team involvement in HR, more than one-quarter (28%) of organizations are still not using the productivity data they have to improve their companies’ performance.

The report also showed that most businesses define workforce productivity according to the bottom line. Sales generated per full-time employee (46%), percentage of revenue allocated to compensation (23%), operating expenses per full-time employee and industry specific metrics such as units produced per employee in manufacturing (22%) were most frequently cited.

Two-thirds (64%) say they are using productivity data to inform employee budgeting decisions

Nearly three-in-five (59%) say they either have in place or are developing KPIs to measure productivity. Larger organizations more likely to develop these KPIs.

Respondents see upgrading employee training and skills (38%), increasing employee engagement (21%) and improving workflow design and expanding/recalibrating the workforce (16%) as the areas most likely to foster increased productivity over the next three years.

According to other recent research from ADP Canada, the survey’s sponsor, of the 49% of Canadians who feel they are not as productive as they could be, distractions such as multitasking and social media (43%), process red tape and bottlenecks (35%) and a lack of training or resources (27%) are the most common reasons cited.

Download the study here.

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