Training for managers best for improving performance to boost productivity

The drive to improve productivity has seen performance improve for the majority of organisations over the past 12 months, according to a survey by Personnel Today’s sister publication Employment Review.

The 75 employers who responded to the survey had a combined workforce of 340,000. More than half (55%) had seen productivity gains over the past year, while 9% claimed it had risen significantly. And half reported year-on-year productivity gains over the past three years.

Training for managers at 51% was the most popular measure employed to increase productivity in the workplace, followed closely by performance management (48%) and the promotion of organisational objectives or vision (45%). When asked to select the top three measures that have had the biggest impact on improving productivity, performance management was the most popular. It was cited by 19% of respondents, including eight that rated it as the most effective intervention.

These findings suggest that many organisations believe personal development and better communication should be central to productivity-raising strategies.

The actual productivity increases gained ranged from 5% to 75%, although the median increase in productivity over the past three years was found to be 10%.

The majority of respondents are also confident that this upward trend will continue, with 53% expecting performance to improve over the next 12 months, and 57% hopeful that they will increase it over the next three years.

The findings also show that 66 of the organisations surveyed formally monitor changes in productivity, while the remainder use informal methods.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents measure the productivity of individual employees, while 63% measure it across the organisation. The majority also report measuring productivity at team (60%) department (60%) and divisional (59%) level.

About 17% of employers compare their productivity performance with their competitors, and 13% compare it with the benchmark for their sector.

The top four barriers to increasing productivity, said respondents, were the inability to recruit suitable staff (37%), lack of management skills (31%), employees’ attitudes or commitment (29%) and poor organisational communication.

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