Productivity: Uncovering Hidden Opportunities for Growth

In today’s dynamic economic environment, business owners constantly seek ways to enhance efficiency and drive growth. One of the most effective approaches to achieving these goals is through the strategic use of performance metrics. Among these, ‘Revenue Per Hour Paid’ is a potent tool. Originally from the realm of professional services, this simple yet profound metric reveals hidden productivity insights that are applicable across various industries. This blog explores how implementing this key metric can improve business productivity, providing owners with actionable insights into optimising their operations.

“What gets measured gets managed.”  Peter Drucker

The Metric: Revenue Per Hour Paid

‘Revenue Per Hour Paid’ calculates the revenue generated per paid working hour, offering a clear view of how effectively a company utilises its human resources in relation to its revenue generation. It’s a straightforward calculation: divide top-line revenue by the total hours paid to employees. This approach highlights the direct relationship between workforce efficiency and revenue output.

Broadening the Metric’s Horizons: A Recent Case Study

The metric ‘Revenue Per Hour Paid’ is highly adaptable across various industries and provides crucial insights into operational efficiency. One Advisory Board client experienced financial discrepancies where there was an increase in top-line revenue but a declining cash bank balance. Initially, this was attributed to the need for increased working capital to fund growth. However, further analysis of ‘Revenue Per Hour Paid’ revealed that there were deeper issues at play. The metric showed a significant drop in revenue per hour, from $350 to $270 over time, indicating that rising revenues were masking a decline in productivity. This insight was instrumental in addressing the inefficiencies that were inflating operational costs and depleting cash reserves. It highlighted the metric’s value beyond traditional productivity assessment.

How to Calculate Productivity

Consider “ConstructCo,” a hypothetical company, which reported an annual revenue of $27,600,000. The company employs 50 workers, each working 40 hours a week.

  1. Calculate Total Hours Worked Annually:
    • Total hours worked annually = 50 employees x 40 hours/week x 52 weeks = 104,000 hours
  2. Calculate Revenue Per Hour Paid:
    • Revenue per hour paid = $27,600,000 / 104,000 hours = approximately $265.38 per hour

This calculation shows that for every hour worked at ConstructCo, the company earns about $265.38, providing a clear measure of workforce productivity.

Expanding the Calculation to Capital Investments:

For industries reliant on heavy machinery or plant equipment, the same formula can be applied to assess the productivity of these investments. For example, if ConstructCo also wants to measure the productivity of a specific piece of machinery:

  1. Calculate Total Operating Hours for the Machinery:
    • Total operating hours annually = 30 hours/week x 52 weeks = 1,560 hours
  2. Attribute Revenue to this Machinery:
    • Revenue per operating hour = $5,500,000 / 1,560 hours = approximately $3,525.64 per hour

This helps ConstructCo determine how effectively their capital investments are contributing to the company’s revenue.


The ‘Revenue Per Hour Paid’ metric extends beyond traditional financial metrics by offering a clear, actionable indicator of how effectively revenue is being earned. It provides businesses not only with a method to measure success accurately but also drives them towards it more effectively. By integrating this metric into their strategic review, companies can diagnose the underlying issues, steering towards more sustainable profitability and operational efficiency.