Ever heard the phrase “you don’t know until you know?” For such an obnoxiously redundant set of words, they hold immense truth, especially when it comes to tracking employee performance and productivity at your company.

Measuring how well your team is doing their job is more than just eye-opening: it’s vital to the success of your business. What’s the relationship between your employees’ training metrics and their work performance? How effective was their training? How long does it really take to fully onboard a new member? Are more seasoned employees pulling their weight and continually improving over time? These are all questions answered by effective employee performance tracking.

The use of technology makes employee performance tracking easier than it’s ever been, eliminating the excuse “but I don’t have time for that.”

Here are 7 surefire ways to concretely, easily and accurately track employee performance at your business:

#1 Set expectations and goals first.

First thing’s first: do your employees know exactly what’s expected of them? If not, overall productivity and performance will suffer. In addition to ensuring each employee thoroughly understands their high-level job description, make sure they also have a full comprehension of what’s expected of them within each specific project, including detailed deadlines.

Another way to make sure your employees know exactly what they’re supposed to be doing? Have them create goals for themselves, complete with a timeline for when each specific goal will be met. For the best (and most easily trackable) results, have them utilize the SMART goal-setting method (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely), and keep track of their goals with a task management software.

#2 Measure both short-term and long-term.

The most effective performance measurements encompass both short-term task completion and long-term performance, the latter of which paints a more striking picture of true impact. Find an online platform that lets you easily track short-term goals as well as long-term achievements, such as specific KPIs that can increase or improve over time.

vidREACH’s online training software lets you easily measure each employee’s impact, especially in relation to the training they’ve completed. The platform enables the ability to compare certain KPIs with key training stats to easily gauge the relationship between training and business performance.

#3 Go backwards.

One clever way to track employee performance is to go in reverse and start with the client. Figuring out what motivated them to use (and keep using) your product or service may be a key indicator of which employees were responsible for initiating (and keeping) the client. This information can also be supplemented with feedback from other employees themselves. But be wary! Personal or relational issues may result in skewed or subjective information, so always take employee feedback with a grain of salt.

#4 Check in often.

Whether it’s in person or through the use of an employee training or coaching software, it’s vital to have frequent check-ins with each of your team members. While the most ideal frequency is once a week, make sure to do this at least once a month. Ask them questions about the specific project they’re working on, if they need additional resources, if they’re having any problems or challenges, and have them provide a very clear, detailed and explicit answer as to their progress on the specific project. Another way to complete this is to have each employee send an end-of-week update on everything they accomplished that week.

#5 Measure in a way that encourages working smarter, not longer.

Many companies, especially young startups, are beginning to take the saying “work the job, not the clock” quite literally. Logging minutes and hours is becoming less common, and tracking task completion, accomplishments and deadlines is now the norm. The most important question to ask (and track) is: Is the work getting done?

Many successful businesses are finding that it doesn’t necessarily matter how, when or where tasks are being completed (from the office, from home, in a café), but rather that the tasks are being completed and results are being produced. Using an online task platform with mobility and flexibility enables this sense of freedom.

#6 Always keep an eye on the bottom line.

Performance metrics may show that your team seems to be performing their tasks well and at lightning speed, but do your profit margins reflect this productivity? It’s important to consistently compare your employees’ productivity to your overall profits, because at the end of the day, this is what matters the most. Keeping an eye on high-level business performance can help you resist the urge to constantly micromanage and try to control every minor detail occurring on a daily basis. Win, win.

DeepSky CEO W. Micheal Hsu suggests determining your team effectiveness ratio by measuring your gross profit not against the number of hours worked, but against the overall salary costs of your employees, because results and value are much more powerful metrics than the number of hours worked.

#7 Ask the employees themselves.

Don’t be so busy tracking your employees’ performance that you don’t give them a chance to evaluate you and your performance as a manager. Whether through an in-person meeting or an online survey, give each member of your team a chance to describe what they think of their roles, work environments, resources, training, etc. This data can then be compared to their own performance stats for an eye-opening and objective overview.

Now that you understand how to track employee performance in the smartest, most efficient and most realistic ways, find a task-tracking platform that will do most of the work for you. vidREACH’s training software makes employee performance tracking simple, user-friendly and effective, empowering you to help your team set, meet and even exceed their goals.