Employees are a business’s greatest resource. They are also one of its biggest expenses. Therefore, it is imperative to calculate the ROI on your human investments, particularly when their main contribution to your business comes in the form of ideas, creativity, and intuitiveness. Long gone are the days when you could simply measure productivity by the amount of product produced. The value is obviously still there, but our methods of measuring it have changed.
We should note that value, particularly in an idea economy, is largely relative. For instance, with the current trend towards social communication, how specifically do you place a dollar amount on a conversation? There are various tools that can help approximate that value, but again, they do not factor in the human element. Failure to do that means that insight will be inherently limited.
Value must be determined in a more direct way. Managers should be able to view their employees' time directly, because they are aware of the work that goes into each task completed. Similarly, employees must strive to track their time to individual tasks, and to do so with regularity and accuracy. This is of benefit to both the company and the employee. If managers see that the ROI of an individual is less when completing a certain activity, it makes no sense to allocate time to that task.
Managers should also note those tasks that certain employees perform better than others. By allowing each employee to work on the business items they are best suited to, inefficiency will decrease and employee satisfaction will likely increase. With the availability of advanced, automated time-tracking systems, such insight should not be difficult to come by.