Research by the Office for National Statistics reveals that output per hour of British workers has declined again in the second quarter of 2017, leaving it 0.3% lower than the previous year.
Furthermore, last year UK workers produced 15.1% less per hour than works in other G7 countries.
Since the 2008/2009 recession productivity has stagnated – the level of labour productivity in Q2 2017 was 0.5% below what is was back in Q4 2007 (pre-recession peak level).
Why does it matter?
Productivity is directly linked to living standards. Productivity growth, or lack of, impacts the ability for a country to improve its standard of living. It also determines long-term growth rates. So, stronger productivity figures should lead to stronger GDP growth, resulting in increased tax revenues and lowering budget deficits – or for low productivity figures the opposite.
What can businesses do about it?
After reading some useful information from business schools such as Harvard, Ashridge, London Business School, INSEAD and others there was one common answer – improve the culture.
Stanford University’s research on ‘Effects of Positive Practices on Organisational Effectiveness’ boiled this down to six essential characteristics:
- Caring for, being interested in, and maintaining responsibility for colleagues as friends
- Providing support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling
- Avoiding blame and forgive mistakes
- Inspiring one another at work
- Emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work
- Treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust, and integrity
We know that culture isn’t built overnight and requires constant reinforcing of values and seeing these carried out in action from employees and the senior team.
What can you do as an L&D professional to help influence a culture of productivity?
Firstly, boosting performance will have a positive impact on productivity. ‘Towards Maturity’s Unlocking Potential report’ shared five high-level tactics used by the L&D teams achieving their goals when it comes to boosting performance.
- Integrate learning and work
- Ensure stakeholders recognise L&D alignment with wider organisational goals
- Build performance support at the point of need
- Ensure digitally-enabled programme design supports learning transfer
- Evaluate progress and performance against business metrics
We’d recommend reversing the order when planning any learning solution – start with the end in mind and how you’ll evaluate the performance changes.
Remember, momentum builds motivation – in short, regardless of where you or your organisation is with the levels of productivity, without action nothing will improve.
Dare to stand out by grasping the responsibility of helping to improve employee productivity within your organisation.
If you would like to chat more about your organisation’s learning needs to help improve productivity levels give us a call for a free consultation on 0845 519 7408 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.