HR must take the lead to cut productivity gap

HR must play a central role if plans to improve the UK’s productivity
outlined by the CBI and TUC last week are to be successful.

This was the message to the profession following the publication of joint
research by the CBI and TUC that concludes sweeping changes are needed to help
improve the UK’s productivity, which has fallen further behind its main

The report, The UK Productivity Challenge, calls for improved learning and
skills, the use of best practice guidelines and better research and

"HR has a vital part to play in achieving better productivity. Its role
is to improve skills and make people feel valued. It’s about making a cultural
change to improve standards," said Ann Lindsay, senior policy adviser of
the learning and skills group at the CBI.

"HR should be encouraging individuals to think and make their own
suggestions on how to improve productivity or to do a better job."

The CIPD, stressed the importance of developing people and taking a
long-term approach to improving productivity.

"I think HR knows what the answer is – pushing forward with people
management policies, and that extends well beyond HR. Management must see these
policies as part of the strategic process of running a business," said the
CIPD’s chief economist John Philpott. "We need a long-term, strategic
approach which is all about protecting and developing people."

Nick Hawley, head of HR at manufacturer Denso Marston believes a partnership
approach involving all aspects of an organisation is vital to make progress.

"Productivity in manufacturing is key to success. The issue is one for
everybody to look at and act on – from the MD to the people on the
shopfloor," he said.

By Ross Wigham

CBI and TUC recommendations

Learning and skills

Improved take up of IIP by small businesses and an increase in
the number of adults with level 2 qualifications.


A more long term strategic approach to investment and improved
public infrastructure.

Technology and innovation

Better support for companies for R&D, including tax credits
and an independent audit of working practices.

Best practice

Promotion of high commitment employment practices and a
coherent campaign to co-ordinate best practice in industry.

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