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Productivity in limbo

Phil Sheridan

The latest ONS results on productivity show no  signs of improvement, with figures revealing that output per hour worked in the UK has shrunk by 0.5 percent. Comment from Phil Sheridan, senior management director at Robert Half.

With progress stagnating, more still needs to be done to increase UK productivity levels in line with other leading nations. However, for many businesses, that is easier said than done. Productivity is an abstract concept that is often looked at in a global context. However, in real terms, the productivity levels of each country largely boil down to the performance of individual employees and the workforce as a whole. Our recent research shows that UK employees have one of the lowest levels of satisfaction and interest in their jobs. Yet the ability to motivate employees to work efficiently is critical to organisational success.

So, the challenge that UK businesses are facing is how to increase their output and get employees to work better and more efficiently by building a strong organisation with solid procedures that maintains a focus on motivating staff. Part of the answer to improving productivity lies in the ability to constantly review teams and find new ways of working smarter. This could mean adding temporary headcount to reduce backlogs or support specific projects, helping staff to do more with existing resources or making improvements to processes and infrastructure using new technologies.

Productivity continues to head in the wrong direction so businesses cannot afford to be complacent. All organisations need to look at their internal policies and culture to identify the steps they can take to boost efficiency by building a workforce that is more engaged, motivated and working effectively to deliver results over the long-term.”

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