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Productivity and Efficiency

Productivity and Efficiency

Productivity and Efficiency in the digital landscape in 2024

The five top Tech and Business Themes for 2024 are:

  1. Productivity
  2. Future Computing
  3. Composite AI
  4. Human Capital in the Algorithmic Age
  5. Objective-Based Tech Decisions

(Source: Gartner Top of Mind episode 15)

Digital Innovation and its applications change the world. It changes the way we do business, the way we interact and communicate among humans and with machines, the way we make decisions, the way we use resources and our own energy, the way we use our brains, the way we live and work in general.

New technologies will determine what we do in life, our purpose and how nature and the planet develop. We live in an Anthropocene.

In the weeks ahead we will have a closer look at the topics for 2024 and how they may change our future.

The first ones are productivity - and efficiency. Productivity and efficiency are crucial and refer to both, company, and employee.

Productivity” is a measure of economic performance that compares the amount of goods and services produced (output) with the amount of input used to produce these goods and services. In ecology it determines the rate of production of new biomass by an individual, population, or community; the fertility or capacity of a given habitat or area.

The focus is on the quantity of output relative to the input. If a company produces more goods in an hour this year than last year, it´s considered to have improved productivity.

Efficiency”, on the other hand, is an assessment criterion that describes whether a measure is suitable to achieve a predetermined goal in a certain way, for example, an order should be carried out as timesaving, productively, or economically as possible. It is about how well resources are utilized in the production process. This includes factors like time, energy, materials, and money. Efficiency is the ratio of the actual output produced to the standard output, which should have been produced, at a given amount of time with fewer resources. For instance, if a company produces the same amount of goods as before but uses less material or time, it has increased efficiency.

If a company wants to increase efficiency, only an improvement in the ratio of result and effort will help. Either the result must improve, or the effort (cost) must be reduced.

In brief, productivity refers to quantity while efficiency refers to quality and the process. Productivity means how many output by one unit of input; efficiency means how well the resources are utilized.

A productive employee will produce more, an efficient employee contributes by optimizing resource use. For optimal performance, a balance between both is sought.

Productivity and efficiency are related, and form part of the base for success of a business.

Productive employees are the base for a company´s productivity.

Methods to improve the employee´s productivity:

  1. Manage energy

Focus on working during periods when you feel most energized.

 Pay attention to your natural energy highs and lows throughout the day.

  1. Effective To-Do lists

Create a manageable to-do list each day, focusing on a mix of big, medium, and small tasks. Prioritize tasks.

  1. Minimize distractions

Reduce both self-imposed and environmental distractions.

  1. One thing at a time

Avoid multitasking. Focus on one task at a time to improve concentration.

  1. Task Batching

Group similar tasks together and do them in dedicated time slots.

  1. Healthy habits

Maintain good health practices, regular breaks.

  1. Workplace optimization

Arrange workspace for comfort and efficiency to enhance focus and productivity.


Methods to improve efficiency:

  1. Streamlining processes

Simplify workflows and eliminate unnecessary steps.

  1. Time Management

Prioritize tasks and set realistic deadline.

  1. Use of technology

Implement appropriate technology and software tools for automation.

  1. Employee training

Regular training for skill development and efficient work methods.

  1. Effective communication

Streamline communication channels and practices.

  1. Feedback and adaptation

Regularly review processes and adapt based on feedback.

  1. Optimal resource allocation

Use manpower and materials effectively, optimize the operations process.

  1. Data analysis and reporting

Use data to improve processes and to inform about decisions. Transparency is crucial.

Digitalisation changes the nature of productivity and efficiency in products, services, and processes as well as the productivity and efficiency of the workforce in several ways.

It has an impact on the cost, on product development, on service lines especially in healthcare, on the production itself, on processes enhancing operational excellence and many more.

Digitalisation automates routine tasks, enables better data management, and facilitates improved communication and collaboration.

Digital tools allow for real-time data access and analytics which leads to more informed decision-making.

However, be aware that production and processes have to be well thought and functioning from the very beginning and before implementing digital tools. Inefficient processes will not improve and become efficient through digitalisation.


Include the following steps and methods to enhance productivity and efficiency:

1. Intend to redesign your processes, analyse and be agile, adapt to new market situations and clean up old structures that do not function anymore.
The columns of an agile company are purpose, to be customer centric, agile leadership and methods, culture, and mindset.

2. Become more efficient through optimization of processes, digitalisation, and input from all levels.
Daily routine processes can best be optimized by the collaboration of all involved managers and employees, in teamwork. External input may be helpful to uncover weak points. Determine a business process analyst guiding the optimization process. After analysing build workgroups to define and visualize processes. Understand the single steps of a process and adapt them. Digitalize where it contributes to efficiency and productivity.

3. Apply the principle of CIP, Continuous Improvement Process.
This principle is based on the Kaizen, the Japanese Business philosophy, the change for the better or continuous improvement embracing all processes and all employees. Kaizen´s idea of small changes can involve quality control, in-time delivery, standardized work, the use of efficient equipment, and the elimination of waste (see above). Another definition of Kaizen describes the five principles as follows: Know your customer, let it flow, go to Gemba (which means for a leader to understand what is happening at all levels), empower people and be transparent – sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain.

4. Recruitment is the first step of optimizing efficiency and productivity.
It is not only about the right skills but also about timing and the structure and planning of workforce. Who do we need for what and when within a team? Recruiters do not only need to know the processes and methods in a company, but they also need to have the sensibility to understand what kind of personality will empower and complete the team. A good recruiter, specialized and with deep knowledge in his practice, will have a holistic approach, carefully analyse the situation and team and find the perfect fit even in difficult times of missing skills and a war for talents. For insights from our top recruiters, check out their spotlights: Daniel, Marcel, Ismael, Jeanette, and Qais

Optimize the way of working of every single employee, the workplace and motivate and sustain your employees.
Develop CSR. Satisfied employees do work more efficiently and productively than unhappy employees. Apply the scrum method in teams, a management framework that teams use to self-organize and work towards a common goal. It describes a set of meetings, tools, and roles for efficient project delivery. Teams self-manage, learn from experiences, and adapt to change.


Productivity and efficiency will be a future challenge and chance due to the complexity of new tools, possibilities of AI. 
For an in-depth exploration of this topic, see our AI Whitepaper.​

Chance because processes can be analysed through data and optimized at its best. Challenge because every new tool and every process improvement requires change and adaptation of systems and workforce. Change processes have to be implemented and accompanied. Rejection is part of change.

Higher productivity and new processes lead to questions as the role of the employee in general, the relationship between human and machine and the call for more sustainability.

We need High Touch besides High Tech, human head-hunters, and talent consultants, in depth practice professionals with the perception and sensibility to navigate safely in constantly changing choppy waters.


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