Slow developers – time to get a grip

Three factors were identified by the DTI last week as key to defining high
performance workplaces:

– Modern employee management practices that develop workforce skills and use
them flexibly within the organisation

– Good communications that work both upwards and downwards to enable staff

– A spirit of trust and mutual commitment to common goals between employers
and employees.

All logical practices for a thriving business, all widely recognised by industry
staff and standard HR territory. Yet, it’s still the case that only 14 per cent
of workplaces have a majority of these practices in place. If your organisation
is among the slow developers, then you should be asking yourself why and coming
up with a game plan quickly.

The DTI has taken another step towards improving UK productivity and
competitiveness by issuing a new strategy, which relies heavily on HR taking
the lead.

The DTI acknowledges that the UK must change faster, ensuring it has
highly-skilled staff, better-quality managers and forward-looking unions. But
the DTI has to change too – creating the conditions to sustain business
success, promote competition and set workplace standards, which raise skills
and foster innovation.

High productivity is still one of the UK’s most elusive business concepts.
Yet we know that the nature of the workplace can affect employees’ ability to
reach their full potential, thereby lifting productivity.

Commentators frequently complain that business is plagued by mediocrity and
short-termism. But the DTI strategy has longer-term tactics and a dynamic
vision. And it is realistic about the scale of the challenge; seven million UK
adults cannot read or write to a basic level, and too many businesses are
caught in a trap of low skills and low-value jobs, that are unsustainable in
the face of global competition.

The DTI says the answer lies in the speedier adoption of modern management
techniques that will be crucial to tackling risks and opportunities in a modern

HR must become architects of change. Organisations not engaged with the
techniques above should use this as a chance to lobby harder for more
investment, and to focus on progressive people management. Use the DTI website
to assist your case.


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