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You won’t increase productivity without changing the way you think about it

June 22, 2023

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Automation. Chatbots. Generative AI. What do all of these have in common? Besides monopolizing every business conversation for months, they are also all tools designed to increase productivity. While their capabilities and potential are very real, each of these tools failed to do the one thing executives are actually obsessed with: productivity. 

Productivity remains the single metric enterprises cannot master, despite obsessing over it since the beginning. The reasons that productivity strategies fail, despite all the best tools, can be boiled down to four main categories. 


To ensure that your organization gets the most value from your tools, as well as accomplishes the ultimate goal of improving productivity, we’ve outlined four important philosophy changes to make before implementing new strategies. Let’s start. 

Decide how your organization defines productivity

Productivity means something different at every organization, which is part of the reason everyone struggles to get it right. Strategies that may have helped at one organization may not make a difference at another. The huge operational changes made to improve efficiency come down to mostly a guess. 

To set the right foundation for increasing efficiency, leadership must define what productivity looks like for their organization, including what isn’t working currently. Only after there is consensus about what activities and metrics define productivity can a company start to improve their efforts. 

Ask yourself, do you want better customer engagement? Do you want less time spent in meetings? Do you want less time spent on documentation and knowledge sharing? How many hours are teams spending on those activities today? And where do you want to be with those metrics in 6 months? Without these answers, improvements to productivity will be trivial and difficult to scale. 

Identify someone responsible for productivity metrics

Calls for increased productivity are often broad and organization-wide. And everyone should have a part in improving workflow efficiency. However, much like ARR, each individual impacts productivity differently and should be managed differently. 

To achieve sustained productivity increases, one person needs to be responsible for collecting behavioral data and using it to optimize workflows. This person must be connected to all departments with a complete knowledge of how they work and why. 

In turn, departments should lean on this person to highlight inefficiencies, suggest new ideas, and propose solutions for obstacles in their workflow. Executives need to foster a trusting and collaborative relationship between departments and the person responsible for measuring productivity. Without it, improvements happen too slowly and often lead to more confusion and burnout at the individual level. 

Allow for flexibility in productivity strategies

The last mindset shift is also the one companies struggle with the most. Increasing productivity is a complex problem that likely can’t be solved with one big change. We’ve seen enterprises try. From huge layoffs to industry-wide technology adoptions, one sweeping change never solves the problem of productivity for very long. 

Instead, leadership needs to dedicate themselves to comprehensive, accurate workflow intelligence to dictate how they define and measure the behaviors of each employee. Only the highest quality data can reveal the necessary changes that will move the needle. Rather than one single change, the data will likely show smaller changes that evolve over time as your organization gets clearer on your goals and what is possible. 

Start building a real productivity strategy today

To see what’s possible for your enterprise and how you should define productivity, schedule a demo with Retain.ai. We deliver the gold-standard in workflow intelligence and help you increase productivity across your organization. Contact us today!