The UK productivity puzzle has left many Politicians and Business Leaders alike wondering why, on average, the UK productivity output is up to 30% less that our European counterparts, despite growth in our economy. According to Sajid Javid, secretary of state for business, it now takes workers in the UK five days to produce what his or her counterpart in Germany can deliver in four.
There are an abundance of factors that affect our productivity as a nation such as investment in infrastructure, more efficient technology and processes and skills gaps in businesses. The latter got me thinking about what HR and L&D professionals can do to ensure their workforce are in the best position possible to be as productive as they can.
Here are some of the ways to maximising staff productivity, and what L&D leaders can do to help:
Train your managers at all levels
There can be a tendency to just invest in senior managers, but it is imperative that management and team leaders at all levels have the right skills. Managers have to deal with a variety of challenges with their staff and they should have the confidence to be able to coach, guide, listen to and inform them on a daily basis. Managing an employee’s performance and having the confidence to have productive conversations with their staff every day, not just at appraisal time, is key to having engaged and productive workforce.
Use mentoring programmes
If you don’t have one already, look at how you could implement mentoring programmes into your organisation. Mentoring increases productivity by providing mentees with advice, guidance and encouragement, as well as helping them solve problems. Your organisation will also benefit as this will help your more seasoned employees pass down their wealth of knowledge and experience. Our previous blog “Introducing Mentoring into your organisation” answers some of the key questions that you should consider.
Ensure job roles and workloads are well organised and clear from the outset. When staff have clearly defined roles and well planned work it will help increase their efficiency. It also helps make the best use of your employees existing skills.
Build a resilient workforce
Overworked and de-energised people are less productive and more susceptible to stress, leading to increased absence levels and decreased staff retention rates. Staff need access to training and resources that can help them build their mental toughness, secure and manage their emotions to deal with setbacks and pressure and, importantly, manage inevitable change in the workplace.
Focus on business outcomes when planning learning
It sounds obvious, but all too often the focus on learning is on fulfilling the immediate skills gap rather than what the desired business outcome is. To help, try facilitating workshops with your key stakeholders and ensure line managers are fully involved in planning and organising their staffs learning. Their input will not only help you to understand the root of the issue but it will also help clarify how the training will impact on the employee’s productivity following any training intervention or support they receive.
Productive employees tend to be more engaged and in tune with the overall business objectives and goals. They tend to be well trained, involved in organisational decision making, informed and cared for and are generally happier in their roles. And as we know, happy staff are productive staff.
Increasing skills isn’t the only answer but employers have a responsibility to ensure that not only do their staff have right skills and knowledge to maximise productivity but that they are also coached and encouraged to display the right attitudes and behaviours in the workplace.
Want to find out more about how to improve productivity in your organisation? Contact us now to discuss how learning can really benefit your business.
Stuart Ford, Learning Solutions Sales Consultant, Bray Leino Learning
In my series of blogs I will talk through my thoughts on some of the key challenges facing Learning and Development professionals, along with useful tips and advice.
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