A generation or two ago, there was no email, no personal computers or smartphones in everyday work and life. But now we cannot imagine life and work without them. This has led to people being progressively more ‘busy’ and living in a ‘24/7′ world where everything is ‘on-demand’, and instant gratification is becoming the norm.

This is true for organizations as well – employees check & respond to emails round the clock and work from home.

But unfortunately, being ‘busy’ does not necessarily mean increased productivity or efficiency. In fact, it can actually be counterproductive. Earlier, if there was work to be done, it would have to be done during working hours, in the office – no laptops to take home or emails to check. This meant that employees had to be better at planning; get work done during the work-shift and not postpone things since you didn’t have the option to do it from a different location. So in a way – they got more done in less time.

Also, in many cases, being ‘busy’ has come to be equated with hard work and better performance. Because what is visible is easily measurable. But how can you truly establish if your employees are being productive or simply being ‘busy’?


Here is a simple question you could use to assess this:

Ask your employees – What is the single most important outcome they need to achieve in their Role – this month, this quarter, this year?

In evaluating the answers, separate the ‘Outcomes’ from the ‘Activities’.

For eg. Take the recruitment function and look at two possible responses below:

a. I will conduct 40 job interviews this month (Activity that needs to be done).

b. Month on month, I will ensure I meet at least 90% of the business requirements in terms of identifying and hiring the right candidates within the time-frame expected by business stakeholders (Outcome expected).

Analyzing the responses will also help the organization understand if they have been identifying, communicating and tracking the right metrics which in turn will have a powerful positive effect on employee performance.