Investors in People (IIP) is urging managers to make improving employee productivity their top priority in 2005.
Its call follows recently released research by the Future Foundation, which shows that while UK bosses recognise the importance of staff development in delivering overall productivity, they are reluctant to invest in their staff to achieve this.
The research found that, although 75 per cent of bosses say that effective staff development will be vital or important to the future productivity of their organisations, only one in three put it at the top of their list when faced with competing priorities, such as new technology and machinery, knowledge of competitors, and research and development.
Ruth Spellman, chief executive of IIP UK, said: “It’s as if [Britain’s managers] see productivity as someone else’s problem. [This] is potentially damaging, not just to their organisations, but to Britain as a whole.
“Bosses can use the New Year as an opportunity to re-evaluate their approach to issues such as motivation, work-life balance and training, all of which can have can have a real impact on their organisation’s bottom line,” she said.
To help employers get the most out of their workforce this year, IIP suggests the following top tips:
– Invest in structured training courses for employees at every level of the organisation. Low skill levels in the workplace have been consistently shown to be the primary factor affecting the UK’s productivity
– Invest in your staff’s development outside work too. Encourage them to take part in evening classes by contributing to the costs. This will improve their overall motivation and their new skills may prove invaluable to your organisation in the future
– Poor time management is one of the main reasons for low productivity. Encourage staff to plan their days properly – for example, by using check-lists for their tasks
– Encourage staff to have regular breaks away from their work station. This will help improve their concentration, increasing output
– Promote a balanced work-life culture. Research by NOP World in 2002 found that 75 per cent of UK employees feel they would be more productive at work if they could tailor their hours to their lifestyles
– Make sure you practice what you preach. Low productivity is just as much a problem for managers as it is for their employees. Set an example by having an organised desk. After all, it is claimed that managers waste up to half an hour a day simply looking for documents and files.