Test your productivity

The
Work Foundation has suggested some key ways firms can help to improve their
performance and productivity. But to be a catalyst for this, HR must first get its
own backyard in order. So, how productive are you, and could you be doing
better? Nic Paton takes a look

Recommendation:
Measure the ‘spaces in-between’ as a strategic diagnostic – in other words, use
a combination of yardsticks (business performance, customer feedback, employee
surveys and leadership measures) to identify strategic gaps.

Do
you:

a)
Laugh manically. How on earth are you expected to worry about that sort of
thing when you’re already dealing with so many other people’s problems?

b)
Agree to set up a steering group to look at how best to take things forward,
which will start as soon as you’ve finished putting the latest scorecard in
place

c)
Carry out an audit on how you are performing, consult with your team and
implement a targeted, measurable action plan

Recommendation:
Focus on the customer in order to make customer service a tangible reality –
customer service as flowery rhetoric but no real substance can promote a
culture of corrosive cynicism
.

Do
you:

a)
Get someone to pin up customer service mission statements throughout the
business

b)
Make sure reception and customer-facing staff get appropriate training

c)
Champion the fact that messages about customer service need to be consistent,
clearly communicated and followed through, and that managers, frontline
managers and customer-facing staff are all offered appropriate, targeted
training and support

Recommendation:
Innovate and take risks, being aware that innovation is not driven by
technology alone, but must be properly managed and embedded into the culture of
the organisation if it is to propel it to a level of higher performance.

Do
you:

a)
Reckon that’s a great opportunity to spend some money and start flicking
through e-HR brochures – after all, everyone’s doing it these days?

b)
Leave it up to IT and procurement as they’ll tell you what sort of training and
support they want once it’s all bought and in place

c)
Ensure all innovations brought into the business or developed in-house have
buy-in through communication, consultation and proper pre- and post-training,
and continue to measure its impact and offer refresher training where
appropriate

Recommendation:
Manage the outside as well as the inside, understanding that you are not
working in a strategic vacuum and there are assets outside the marketplace that
can come at low, or even no cost – for example, swapping personnel with local
universities and having long-term strategic dialogues with investment analysts.

Do
you:

a)
Trawl the internet for advice, as you’re too busy to get out to meet people

b)
Grab a chat with a few clients next time you happen to be at a conference

c)
Establish links with local universities and further education colleges, set up
a local or regional HR forum and take time out at the next results presentation
to speak to key City movers, investors and shareholders

Recommendation:
Manage people to liberate and incentivise their effort, commitment and
creativity as part of truly turning them into a primary source of competitive
advantage.

Do
you:

a)
Remind everyone that you have an open door policy, and to prove it you’re just
going to retreat into your office for a while

b)
Develop a series of complex, HR-centred matrices over a number of months to
measure people performance, and then take these to the board for approval

c)
Take a hard look at how the people management structures across the business
are being developed and run, communicate to the board the need for a people
focus at all levels, backing up your message with hard business statistics
showing the benefit of pursuing this approach

Answers

Mostly
As
You need to shape up and get a grip, or collect your leaving present right
now.

Mostly
Bs
You’re on the right track, but a bit of thinking outside the function would
not go amiss.

Mostly
Cs
Surely you’re sitting on the panel already?

For
more information on the Work Foundation’s recommendations on improving
productivity, read about the High Performance Index in this week’s Personnel
Today.

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