Line manager training is the most popular method of improving an organisation’s productivity, according to a study by Personnel Today’s sister publication Employment Review.
The survey of the 75 employers – covering a total of 340,000 employees – found that training for managers (51%), performance management (48%) and promotion of organisation objectives/vision (45%) were the most important factors in increasing productivity.
Productivity was defined by customer satisfaction-related measures, as well as the amount of output per worker per hour.
The findings suggest personal development and better communication should be central to organisations’ strategies to raise productivity.
Most effective measures
Methods employers used to increase productivity included restructuring jobs and departments to get better fit-for-purpose, and the introduction of new technology. Securing employee support for initiatives aimed at raising productivity often produced a more desirable outcome, too.
Just over half (55%) of the organisations polled recognise one or more trade union. Of this group, 29% report having involved unions in boosting productivity. Where no trade union exists (45% of the participating organisations) and an employee information and consultation body operates, it was involved in helping to raise productivity in 38% of organisations.
Barriers to raising productivity
Yet 45% of the surveyed employers report a failure to achieve year-on-year productivity gains over the past three years. The four most frequently cited factors for hindering an organisation’s chance to improve productivity are:
- Inability to recruit suitable staff (37%)
- Lack of management skills (31%)
- Employees’ attitudes/commitment (29%)
- Poor communication (23%).
Fifty-three per cent of respondents believe performance will increase over the next 12 months, and 57% are hopeful they will raise it over the next three years.
Several organisations plan to invest in more technology, deal better with poor performance and improve attendance rates.