noun: productivity

efficiency, production, productiveness, work rate, output, yield, capacity,

According to recent research, in terms of productivity the UK is “at the bottom of the G7 league table, 20 percent lower than average, and falls behind many other Western countries.”

If this is true, how does this affect the majority of employers in the UK ; is your business one of them and if so, what can you do about it?

Some of the warning signals include lateness, absence, using social media, on the phone, huffing and puffing, gossiping, errors, slowing down on getting tasks done, not meeting deadlines etc.

Ultimately, it is about how happy, valued and involved your team feel at work. The less valued they feel , the more unwilling they will be to achieve the goals for your business. So they make noises about being “under stress”, they get signed off work, or they take longer “fag” breaks anything to prolong having to get back to boring old work.

High levels of engagement equal high levels of productivity and when employees fees motivated, listened to and respected, they will be more cooperative, innovative and find ways around problems. Autonomy and empowerment are key.

This is not a lot of HR hype or soft-soap, this makes sound commercial sense.  By taking a few key actions you can achieve a measurable increase in levels of engagement and productivity.

Here are just a few ideas to consider:

How you recruit:

What do you look for when you are recruiting? Anyone who is available? Someone you like? Someone who said they could do everything you said you wanted, in other words you told them what you wanted and they said “yep” I’ve done that, I can do that.

  • Did you find out why they wanted to work for your business, how did you test their skills, did you challenge their experience?

 

  • Did you really sit down and ask yourself “why am I looking for someone to employ?”, “what is it I really want them to do?” “what will happen if they don’t it?” “How will all this affect me, my business and my bottom line?”

If you are going to go to the trouble of recruiting at all you may as well take a few simple steps to recruit the right person in the first place.  That person will be the one with the right attitude, skills, knowledge and experience and who understands what “output” you expect of them and what that “output” looks like.

The tools to help you with this are Job Descriptions, Person Specifications and Competence based selection methods to assess if they share your passion for your business. That they share your values and they will fit in with the rest of the team.

Your Leadership Style

Sometimes referred to as Management style. It’s not necessarily what you do, but, the way that you do it!

Within reason you can ask your people to do whatever they want them to do.  But, it’s the way that you go about this – your management style that will affect the response you receive.

But, don’t just take our word for it ….an expert in organisational psychology and health from a leading university recently advised that we need to look at how people are managed. “Do we have socially and inter-personally skilled managers from shop floor to top floor?” Evidence would suggest not and a spokesman for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development states that  “The quality of management and leadership in the UK falls below our global competitors.

In fact the research found that as leaders we are about 30 percentage points behind France, Germany and the US.  We know that the productivity of our people –  right down to output per hour worked – is critical to the economic success of our businesses . The government estimates if the UK could match the US’s productivity it would raise GDP by 31 per cent. But the UK’s  productivity puzzle appears to remain stubbornly unsolvable.

To what extent does this apply to you as a leader in your business?

How self-aware are you about your personal style(s) of managing and the impact this has on others?  When was the last time that you received training or coaching in how to improve your own performance as a leader?

If the answer is not recently or never, you should give consideration to some self- assessment which, if required, can lead to improvement in your own effectiveness and most importantly, the effect on your ability to get the best from your people.

 

Developing  your staff the same as you would your customers

This last factor is the most simple and at the same time, the most difficult to achieve because it takes commitment and effort and it requires a huge shift in mind set by you and your managers to realise that actually, your staff are your customers.

Without their cooperation, motivation, enthusiasm and engagement,  you will never achieve the levels of productivity and quality you need in order to provide the quality and consistency of goods and/or services to your external customers.

Some of the things that make for an engaged and productive workforce include asking employees what it’s like to work in your business – including what it is like to be led by you (and your co-managers).  A staff survey will give you an invaluable insight to what really matters to staff – in exactly the same way you would find out about what matters to your customers.

The key is to act on the results – however much this may go against the grain.

Think about how you appraise your people, do they have career plans, what about reward how often do you recognise them for their effort and achievements?

None of these items simply happen by chance – like any business plan, they need to be set down in a structured and strategic way if they are going to be made to happen.  This may seem like overkill or it may just go on to the “too difficult – tackle it tomorrow” pile.  But, the next time you review your sales figures or have to break off finding new work because you need to recruit – again, give some thought to the above and take a moment to reflect and assess where you could make some small changes that will result in big improvements in the productivity and profitability of your business.

How do we know this –because it’s all we do – and what we’ve been helping our clients to do for over 16 years! So, if you need help or assistance with any of the above, or simply want to have a short chat around this, don’t hesitate to get in touch… Farida Braza 03333 218 761, fbraza@sagegreen.com

 

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