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Employee Utilization: Guide and How to Calculate it?

13 min read

employee utilization rate

A company’s profitability depends on the effectiveness of its employees within the company. Any business can’t progress at the rate they do without the talents and skills of their employees.

Considering that, employee utilization plays a key role in measuring the effectiveness of success and growth. It acts as a clear indicator of positive change and efficiency strategy.

What is Employee Utilization Rate?

Employee utilization rate is tracking an organization’s actual and budget staffing information. It refers to the amount of an employee’s work time used for billable work. Usually, companies generate their revenues by billing clients hourly for their work, but tracking how they spend their time is critical. Therefore, they focus on the chargeability of employees and the amount of revenue generated to focus on employee utilization.

Employee utilization is a meaningful KPI to measure employees’ potential contributions. Only once, after having a clear idea of the rate you’re looking for in different departments, you can measure it.

The measurement highlights both performance strengths and weaknesses. While helping the organizations close the gaps and double down on what’s working.

Why you need to track employee utilization?

Tracking employee utilization rates is critical for producing high-quality products on schedule. Businesses may discover inefficiencies, optimize procedures, and guarantee tasks are completed on time and to a high standard by analyzing how people utilize their time.

Optimization improves not only overall production but also the physical and mental well-being of the employees. Maintaining a balanced workload decreases stress, creates a healthier work-life balance, and fosters a good environment where people can thrive.

Also, reliable utilization data facilitates unbiased performance assessments and appraisals. Objective employee productivity indicators provide a reasonable basis for evaluating individual and team performance. 

As a result, this promotes morale, motivates people to contribute meaningfully, and fosters a transparent and equitable working culture. By resolving these issues, organizations create an atmosphere where workers are inspired, engaged, and empowered to do their best, resulting in long-term growth and success.

How to calculate employee utilization?

The employee utilization rate is a fundamental metric quantifying an organization’s workforce efficiency. It is computed by dividing an employee’s total billable hours by their eligible working hours within a given time frame. The following formula is used to calculate the average staff utilization rate:

Average Employee Utilization Rate = (Total Billable Hours) / (Eligible Working Hours)

Consider the scenario of Ravi, an employee whose contractual commitment is to work 30 hours per week or 1440 hours per year. After accounting for two weeks of yearly leave, the adjusted working hours for the year total 1380. If Ravi devotes 1000 hours to billable work during this period, his utilization rate is calculated as follows:

Utilization Rate = (Billable Hours) / (Eligible Working Hours)

Utilization Rate = 1000 hours / 1380 hours

Utilization Rate = 0.72 or 72%

Ravi’s utilization rate in this instance is 72%, showing that he effectively used 72% of his available working hours for billable projects. Monitoring and optimizing staff utilization rates can provide essential insights into workforce productivity, assisting organizations in improving operational efficiency and resource allocation.

How can employee utilization rate help HR?

The employee utilization rate is a crucial HR indicator that provides information on the workforce’s productivity. In order to make strategic decisions and achieve organizational success, HR can analyze this rate to optimize resource allocation, identify skill gaps, and improve operational efficiency.

1. Make your workplace a collaborative one

Assessing and improving employee utilization rates promotes a collaborative work environment. HR professionals may foster teamwork, information sharing, and employee synergy by aligning skills with tasks and maintaining balanced workloads, developing a collaborative organizational culture.

2. Enhance the overall health and culture of the organization

Monitoring staff utilization rates assists human resource professionals in assessing workload stresses. HR can improve the general health and culture of the organization by encouraging a balanced workload. Employees who are not overworked are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and to contribute positively to the workplace environment.

3. Protect employees from burnout

A well-managed utilization rate protects staff from burnout. HR can ensure that duties are distributed equitably, reducing stress and exhaustion. This proactive strategy protects employees’ well-being while increasing productivity and engagement.

4. Promote fair compensation

Utilization rates provide information on employee productivity, allowing HR to ensure equitable compensation. HR experts may create a clear and equitable reward system that promotes employee happiness and organizational loyalty by aligning workload and compensation.

5. Enable employees to reach their full potential

Individuals can excel when employee utilization is optimized. By efficiently matching abilities to tasks, HR enables employees to work on projects that align with their knowledge, allowing them to attain their maximum potential. This strategic alignment promotes overall performance and job happiness.

6.  Improve recruitment decisions

Historical utilization data analysis assists HR in making informed recruitment decisions. HR professionals can employ individuals with the proper competence by assessing workload patterns and skill requirements, ensuring seamless integration into the workforce and minimizing skill gaps within the organization.

Strategic management of staff utilization rates thus has an impact not only on day-to-day operations but also on establishing a happy and productive workplace environment under HR’s guidance.

What is a good employee utilization rate?

Good utilization varies from industry to industry, which is around 80%. 

Mainly depending on the specialized sector, according to professional services utilization benchmarks. Identifying a favorable utilization rate requires considering industry-specific benchmarks and best practices.

Companies should determine their optimal utilization rate based on factors such as project complexity, team capacity, employee well-being, and industry standards. If the utilization rate target is too low, the team members may earn less revenue for the business and lack the incentive to be productive. 

Why do most organizations fail to maximize the utilization of their workforce?

Optimizing staff utilization remains a recurrent challenge in the field of organizational operations. The ability to successfully utilize people is influenced by various elements, a complexity exacerbated by the diversity of project landscapes across industries and firm sizes. 

Factors Affecting Workforce Utilization: A Comprehensive Overview: 

  • Project Allocation and Management

Project allocation and management refers to the number of projects at hand. An organization with many projects will have to divide employees’ roles based on that and may require some people to work on multiple projects. 

  • Resource Allocation and Tracking

To allocate resources, one needs client-wise and project-wise insights. If there is a clear picture of how many people are involved and what resources they’ll need, it’s easier to allocate resources. It even helps in planning for future projects. 

Once resources are allocated, they also need to be utilized and tracked. Tracking actual billable and non-billable hours and how many resources were spent on productive work helps make the project successful. Depending upon which areas need more resources, the allocation strategy can be changed accordingly. Also, resources are allocated depending on the capabilities of the workforce.  

  • Skill Proficiency and Match  

Each project comes with a set of deliverables. Sometimes, a skilled workforce needs to perform special tasks. If your workforce doesn’t have the skill, you’ll be in trouble and might lose the project.   

  • Billing Hour Management

Tracking the billing hours helps measure your professional staff’s utilization rate to allocate resources effectively. 

  • Effective Distribution Strategies

Distribution is an integral step for the success of any project. It refers to both human resources and other resources. If the distribution is good, something works.  

Most organizations ignore employee utilization and only focus on churning out project after project. However, things don’t always go as planned. Hurdles are plenty.  

For companies, a lot of employees don’t regularly update their skills. Mapping people to projects and expecting them to learn on the job won’t work when you need timely deliverables on specialized services.   

  • The Skill Gap Dilemma

The skill gap dilemma extends beyond the service sector; manufacturing firms must also deal with changing project needs. Skill shortages, compounded by a heavy reliance on temporary or contractual labor, considerably contribute to lower utilization rates. 

Addressing these difficulties necessitates strategic leadership and excellent management, particularly regarding temporary worker utilization. A thorough approach is required to overcome these obstacles and ensure project completion rates and overall corporate performance.

Best Practices to Optimize Employee Utilization

Optimizing workforce utilization is a cornerstone of organizational success in human resource management. HR executives may significantly increase employee productivity by carefully aligning projects with individual capabilities, promoting open communication, and harnessing data-driven insights.

Skill evaluations, effective workload management, and flexible work arrangements help create a well-balanced, motivated, high-performing team. These HR-based practices drive project success and overall organizational excellence.


Giving your staff the freedom and trust to collaborate on various projects while sharing ideas and knowledge is crucial to boosting productivity and utilization rates.  

The tracking component we discussed in the text is the other component. Nobody has the time to manually log their actions on paper, including billable hours, invoicing, resource allocation, and other tasks. The best aspect is that no company is required to still use that procedure.  

You will get a specific staff utilization report and more with Keka’s timesheet software, thanks to 100% automation.


1. What is the difference between employee utilization and employee productivity?

Employee utilization measures time spent on billable work, while productivity gauges output and efficiency. To raise rates, optimize workflows, enhance skills, and manage workloads efficiently.

2. How to Raise Utilization Rates?

To raise utilization rates optimize workflows, enhance skills, and efficiently manage workloads to raise utilization rates.

3. What is an ideal utilization rate?

The ideal utilization rate varies by industry but generally falls between 60-80%.


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    Meet the author

    Parismita Goswami

    Content Writer

    A writer, poet and cinephile by passion. Parismita is Content Writer at Keka. She shares her interest in having good conversations over tea, traveling, exploring and reading. When she is not experimenting with her culinary art, you can typically find her introspecting or taking a cozy corner.


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