HR to play vital role in boosting UK productivity

HR
can play a vital role in helping to plug the productivity gap which is plaguing
the UK economy.

That
is the prediction of The Work Foundation’s chief executive Will Hutton, who
believes many organisations have over-simplified the reasons behind poor
productivity levels.

He
argues that poor UK productivity – which is 20 per cent lower than the US and
25 per cent lower than parts of Europe – is the combination of a multitude of
factors.

"We
need to develop a new approach to understanding productivity at a corporate,
industrial and sectoral level," he explained.

Hutton
said a successful HR department is able to drive up company performance, and in
turn, its productivity.

"We
need a more subtle understanding of this. If you get the HR dimension of an organisation
right, there are measurable consequences for performance."

To
understand performance, a company must look at five key areas: its market,
shareholder value, stakeholder value, HR and management, Hutton claimed.

He
said HR must make good performance across all five areas the norm, not the
exception.

In
addition, he said there needs to be a common vocabulary to explain people
values to investors, and a greater business building culture.

He
also accused UK bosses of being short-sighted, and hit out at the "poverty
of ambition".

The
Work Foundation is looking into productivity for the DTI.

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