This week is Local Business Week (16 – 22 May 2016). This yearly awareness campaign celebrates the fact that small and medium-sized companies account for 99.9 per cent of the UK’s businesses, generating a combined annual turnover of over £3,000 billion. SMEs are, therefore, crucial to the UK economy and the success and survival of these establishments depends on the current and future generation of entrepreneurial leaders.
To mark 2016’s Local Business Week, the change management workplace consultants at Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) are giving local business owners access to advice and resources that they can use to compete with the larger corporate giants when it comes to increasing productivity and organisational performance. Over the last thirty years, Britain has seen a gradual shift from manufacturing to service, and now to knowledge based industries.
Broadly speaking, knowledge workers are ‘people who think for a living’. Whilst the concept of ‘productivity’ in the manufacturing and service industries is well understood, there is not the same level of focus for the knowledge-based sectors. In line with this lack of understanding, the research group within AWA’s Workplace Performance Innovation Network (PIN), in partnership with a global network of academics from The Centre for Evidence Based Management (CEBMa), undertook an extensive study involving a review of over 800 research papers in order to discover the factors that have been proven to enhance the productivity of knowledge workers.
‘We believe that when the leaders of businesses, both local and large, understand these factors, they will be able to reap the awards,’ said Andrew Mawson, MD of AWA. ‘We have filtered the factors that have a direct link to knowledge worker productivity into six tips for senior management and workplace teams. Our hope is that this bulletproof research will help boost the UK’s SME business performance’.
Six ways of increasing staff performance:
1) Social Cohesion:
Create a work environment that encourages a shared liking or team attraction. If people get on with each other, they will be more comfortable sharing their ideas and knowledge. Make people feel safe in saying their piece regardless of the seniority or importance of others.
2) Perceived Supervisory Support:
People need to feel that the person they report to is positively supporting them in helping them achieve their personal and professional objectives. Consider whether the supervisors in your company need any further training when it comes to proactively developing professional relationships with team members, providing coaching and support to help people become the best that they can be.
3) Information Sharing:
Ensure teams are able to pool and access company-wide expertise by establishing and driving a culture and internal infrastructure that will allow for the sharing of knowledge. Allow people to find out who has what experience, capture this knowledge in a system or a ‘knowledge register’, and re-enforce sharing by rewarding productive behaviours, regardless of seniority, power or personality.
4) Vision and goal clarity:
For people to be emotionally engaged with the work they do, they need to possess common understanding of personal, team and enterprise objectives and display high commitment to these goals. In short, managers need to create meaning and purpose for each and every member of staff, as a company is only as good as the people it employs.
5) External Communication:
Too often people spend their time at work cocooned in their owl little bubbles. Encourage people to expose themselves to the views and experiences of diverse groups of people outside their team and organisation in order to shape their ideas, fuel innovation and to maintain vigour.
People need to feel that those around them will act in their interest, that the knowledge they contribute will be used responsibly and in their interests, and that they can depend on the knowledge, advice, skills and abilities of their colleagues. In order to encourage a companywide belief in the reliability, truth or ability of others, it’s important to foster social and professional collaboration.
All these things can be implemented in a way that will allow the workplace to enhance the performance of the business.