UK managers fail to learn lessons on employee performance

The
UK’s managers must lift their game if they are to close the productivity gap
with their competitors, finds new research from the Economic and Social
Research Council.

This
is the main conclusion of a study on the impact of contemporary management
practices on employee performance in UK business.

Organisations
that involve, empower and invest in the development of their employees
outperform those that do not – but the majority of employers fail to pursue
such positive policies. 

The
survey of managers in more than 2,000 businesses across the UK reveals a
reluctance to adopt family-friendly employment policies or make arrangements
for their employees to have a positive voice in the business.

The
research indicates:


More rather than fewer managers are being recruited to manage Britain’s
workplaces despite a commitment to employee empowerment and teamworking – 22
per cent of managers surveyed say the proportion of managers has risen over the
past three years, compared to 8 per cent who say there had been a decline


Most workers lack any effective voice or representation at work and many remain
uninformed about the performance of their company – only 26 per cent of
managers regularly consult employee representatives and only 52 per cent use an
employee suggestion scheme


Most companies are doing no more than the legal minimum required to meet the
family needs of their women employees and remain reluctant to offer most of
their staff innovative non-financial benefits – only 3 per cent of establishments
provide any daycare programme for the children of their employees and only 8
per cent offer any financial assistance for this


While the vast majority of companies have introduced information technology at
work they still have a long way to go before they use the new systems to
improve business performance – although they are carrying out more surveillance
and control of employees, as many as 68 per cent of managers do not use the
internet to recruit employees and 61 per cent of manufacturing organisations do
not use computers for stocktaking


A significant number of workers are using the law to gain cash compensation for
unfair dismissal and managers are finding an increasing amount of their time
taken up with employment issues – managers in 42 per cent of establishments say
the number of unfair dismissal cases in their organisation has grown in the
past 12 months and only 9 per cent say the number had decreased.

By Ben Willmott

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