Management’s Productivity Crisis: Your Staff can help you solve it.

I guess you are fed up hearing about the productivity crisis. Perhaps you are tired of wondering how to increase your staff’s performance.

The arguments around productivity go on, and on, and on. Politicians and economists argue you need to continually increase productivity in order to survive and grow your business.

Productivity experts give you lists of the 3,5,9,or 10 things you can do to make the workplace more productive.

No doubt you have heard of all the management techniques to improve productivity.( Forbes) Feedback, respect, training etc., but there comes a point where people cannot work any harder. We may be at that point now as stress is still a major issue that impacts on productivity and absenteeism (HR News, UK)

Alternative Approaches

The Cooperative News argued for a more “cooperative” approach to business by our political leaders including a “new generation of mutually-owned building societies and savings banks that are focused on driving long-term investment.” They also discussed some interesting research that showed if employees have an involvement in the ownership it can boost productivity by as much as 2.5%. (Alex Bryson and Richard B. Freeman, London School of Economics and Political Science: LSE)

Another article by the Australian Financial Industry reinforced the approach that productivity is about working smarter not harder. They make the point that

Productivity is the ratio of outputs to inputs. You can work harder to improve productivity, but it’s much more satisfying (and much less effort) to improve inputs by working smarter.

Along these lines, some UK research from 2010 seems to be growing in popularity. It suggested that a 21 hour week would be the norm in the 21st Century. In 2014, the Swedish Government (The Guardian) did a 2 year experiment in a Car Home and found:

preliminary results found the benefits of the trial were considerable. Reduced working hours led to a 10% drop in sick leave, meaning the employer had to spend less to hire cover.

A way forward

On a day-to-day basis these ideas are some way off and may, in some organisations, be inappropriate. So what can you as a manager do?

You may not be able to change the legal entity you work in but you could help your staff by creating a cooperative environment. Research shows quite clearly the attributes for successful teams and you are probably aware of them, if not this article will help. 

  • Commitment to team success and shared goals
  • Interdependence – team members need to create an environment where together they
    can contribute far more than as individuals. 
  • Interpersonal Skills includes the ability to discuss issues openly with team members,
    be honest, trustworthy, supportive and show respect and commitment to the team and
    to its individuals. 
  • Open Communication and positive feedback – actively listening to the concerns and
    needs of team members and valuing their contribution and expressing this helps to
    create an effective work environment. 
  • Appropriate team composition is essential in the creation of a successful team. 
  • Commitment to team processes, leadership & accountability.

Look at inputs Instead of focussing on Output. Effective leadership is essential for
team success including shared decision-making and problem solving. So get your team to look at ways of working smarter and reducing inputs.

Make work fit the time. Look at your weekly schedules and see what is critical to the team’s objectives and cut out anything that is not critical. Make sure to involve your team in this discussion.


Source (1) : Putting workers in charge can help the chancellor tackle Britain’s productivity crisis – Co-operative News


Trevor Andrews Timelyness