Australia’s productivity growth has been on the slide for the last decade or so.
Now, as productivity is a key driver of growth, competitiveness and living standards, the fact that we are allowing this slide to continue and so not keeping up with our global competitors is troubling – we are currently ranked 17th out of 34 countries for labour productivity growth in the 2000’s!
This is unacceptable. It is a serious issue that we should all be focused on.
To give you an idea of the magnitude of the problem, consider this –if we want to maintain our current standard of living, Australia would require sustained productivity growth of, at least, 3% annually for an entire decade!
Now, given we’ve only ever achieved a couple of years of such growth way back in the 1990’s, this is an ambitious objective and one that we just don’t seem to be serious about tackling as a nation.
Yet, the irony here is that, at least in large part, increasing productivity and/or improvement lies with our employees and the way they engage with the organisation they work for. So, the problem is not hugely difficult. If we work on engaging and motivation our workforce so that they enjoy their work and want to step up and over the mark well we have solved our problem.
Let me explain what I mean. Every employee exerts an amount of effort in doing their job. Now, if you don’t like your job or you’re bored or disengaged then the effort you expend on your work will be the minimum amount possible in order to do the job to the level required but, if you enjoy your work and are engaged and enthusiastic with your workplace then you are likely to work harder on a regular basis. This is called discretionary effort and it is the voluntary effort an employee spends that lies over and above the minimum level of effort required in order to keep their job. Most often this ‘additional’ effort is directed toward organisational goals.
There have been numerous surveys in Australian workplaces that show that only between 10 – 20% of all employees (that is managers and staff alike) are fully engaged with their work and the organisation they work for. That leaves, on average, a whopping 80% or more who are disengaged and so who don’t work as hard as they could or would were they actually engaged.
Just imagine the potential increase in productivity that would occur if an organisation increased engagement by even 5 – 10% across the board and, it’s not hard to do.
3 Simple Steps to grow Employee Engagement and increase productivity:
- First off be clear about your goals and make sure you link each employee’s job to the organisational goals. This gives employees a reason to work as well as a sense of purpose and a feeling of contributing. It builds a positive and supportive culture where everyone is working towards shared outcomes.
- Implement a performance review and management process. Give your employees feedback and the tools they need to do their job well. Then motivate them to improve their performance.
- Train your managers. Give them the knowledge, skills and tools they need to motivate and engage their staff. Share the vision and encourage innovation.
Sounds simple doesn’t it?
It certainly isn’t rocket science by any means and it makes sound business sense – especially when there is so much research on the subject that confirms it.
CAL recently launched a comprehensive series of People/Productivity short courses so, if you’d like some help to implement these 3 steps to increase productivity contact us.