How your people can increase productivity in your business.
Businesses who lead their respective marketplaces constantly find ways to increase productivity.
If you were offered the chance to:
- increase productivity beyond your best competitors
- develop leading edge ways of working, or
- maximise your employee engagement & satisfaction?
… which one would you choose?
What if one method could help you achieve all three?
The stats about the UK’s productivity rate are quite astounding, and capture where we fall short as a nation. Research suggests British workers produce on average 30% less per hour than workers in Germany, the US and France. We also lag behind all but Japan in productivity per hour and output per worker. If we were as productive as other countries, we could have every Friday off and still achieve the same as today.
Why is this, and what can we do to increase productivity?
Historically, I was in the pool of consultants who thought that high tech was the answer to everything. Why invest in skills when you can invest in science and technology? Surely machine beats human? Despite the onset of Industry 4.0, how wrong I was.
I learned this when I started to question my former techniques and methodologies. Who am I to go into a company with the view that we can solve all of their needs? Surely if we know more about their business than they do, then alarm bells should be ringing?
Then the penny dropped. Whether we worked with a call centre or a high technology engineering company, the toolkit we used was the same. We’d developed methodologies which brought together the major assets present in any decent organisation. I found that whatever company we worked with, the questions, answers and solutions all lie in one common field. This was the combined mindset of the people.
While Industry 4.0 will have a significant impact, the main answer to the productivity problem is get more bang for your buck from your people.
Increase productivity by investing in your people
More often than not this isn’t a problem within the people. It comes down to a lack of trust or confidence from higher echelons in the business. Business owners are wanting solutions, rather than problems, from their people. However, they’re not prepared to trust, or invest in, their employees to achieve this.
This is where we bring in the big word – Innovation. Innovation isn’t just about science, technology and R&D. As soon as the government learn this too, the productivity gap will start to close. Innovation is about gaining benefit by doing things differently. To do this – continuously – it has to be a culture embedded within the workforce.
I’ve spent the last 20 years of my life delivering Innovation support. I’ve got more dints in my head from banging it against brick walls than I care to count. These are because so many people still don’t get what Innovation is about. So many people think it’s purely about science, technology, research and developing new products.
Trust the knowledge, experience and creativity within your people
In 2014 I completed a study in Innovation Skills for Lancashire County Council. In this study I made a discovery which led me to take a total shift in direction. I found that while the US and UK governments were focusing their innovation activities on the old sci-tech agenda, the Australians took a different approach. Thinking they couldn’t compete with Hong Kong in the tech arena, they announced that Innovation should be more about people. They stated “any person in any business can suggest an idea which will make the business better”. This comment absolutely nailed it.
This caused my shift towards Organisational Innovation. My philosophy was that the growth of a business is driven by the knowledge, experience and creativity within the workforce.
The best way to grow through Innovation isn’t by designing a “thing”. It’s about enabling continual growth using the knowledge, experience, competencies and creativity within your workforce. Your people truly are your most valuable asset.
Innovation is now a top priority
According to CIPD’s HR Outlook, Innovation is now the top business priority for business leaders. The survey revealed that 35 per cent of HR and 32 per cent of other business leaders consider innovation to be their top business strategy. This is essential, as employers increasingly recognise the need to think creatively and change the way they work.
Dr Jill Miller, CIPD research adviser provided wise words. She states “With people being at the heart of how businesses operate, HR has a significant role to play in wider organisational innovation. This requires business-wide systemic thinking and action to affect change.”
Make people happy, and increased productivity will follow
Many managers want to develop more dynamic and innovative organisations, but don’t have the time. Combine this with my belief that most employees (including managers) tend to work to their job descriptions and leave 80% of their life knowledge and experience at home, then we’ve got a large creative space to help improve personal performance and contribution within businesses.
This came to fruition when we delivered a workforce support programme to a client to help their staff think more creatively. They reported back to us that they solved a specific problem for a mere £5, which the management team had budgeted £15k to resolve – they achieved this by using their wider knowledge, experience and creativity and thinking outside of their job description. (You can read the details here – Solving your problems with creative thinking techniques)
But that wasn’t the best bit – they told us that when the staff walked past the £5 solution they smirked at the managerial offices, in a show of self-appreciation. They were proud of their solution, and wanted to do more to show what they were capable of achieving. Other staff members noticed this new “swagger” and wanted to become involved.
Before long, the workforce began solving an array of problems within the business and identifying several new opportunities to do things better, faster or in a more cost effective manner – without being asked.
The impact of this was instrumental – firstly, the organisation began to self-heal minor problems and become more productive. Then, it began to develop and grow without the need for extensive managerial input.
Achieve benefits beyond increased productivity alone
Sure, we’re aware that this is a process that has to be carefully managed – but our courses fully allow for this. Rather than providing support from the top-down where there’s little time for change and development, we build the capability from the bottom up where there are more people, more impact and more effect at the root operational level.
We then complement this with dedicated people who act as the conduit between the workforce and senior management team, ensuring that the direction is appropriate and the activities become embedded in the organisational culture. There’s a lot more on this here: Develop your innovation culture to maximise engagement and productivity
So, by allowing the workforce to think for themselves and capitalise on our 3 key factors – knowledge, experience and creativity – we were able to help companies:
- Maximise their productivity
- Develop their business to grow by itself
- Turn problems into opportunities
- Increase the value of your organisation
- Improve your staff engagement and satisfaction
It’s not hard. And the answer’s right under your nose. You’ve invested in bringing these people in, now let them achieve their potential – and yours!
If you’d like to know more about how these courses can help your business prosper, please feel free to contact me.
For more information on Geminus Training please click here: http://geminustraining.com
To find out about our ep!c training please click here: http://www.releaseyourepic.com
To find out how to reclaim the cost of your technical developments and innovation please click here: RandD Tax Claims – Home Page