With the New Year, new priorities emerge for businesses and many of them plan to improve productivity within their organisation.
A 2015 CIPD report defines productivity as "how effectively organisations, and the people working in them, produce value from available inputs".
Productivity is widely thought of as determining the economic health of a nation, driving growth through increased output per hour. This in turn increases salaries and profits, leading to improved standards of living.
However, a 2019 report published by the Office for National Statistics states that the productivity of British workers fell at the fastest pace for five years in the second quarter, which is worrying news as we head into 2020.
While it may go without saying that some Brexit uncertainty has impacted the economy, it seems that there is much scope for productivity improvement.
The good news is that for the vast majority of businesses, increasing productivity doesn't have to mean implementing a drastic programme of change. In many cases, it could simply involve being clear about why certain processes are in place, and empowering people to make time-saving decisions.
So, if your business could do with a productivity boost in 2020, here are some suggestions to consider:
It could be said that a vital component of good leadership is adaptability.
When we consider that the CIPD definition of leadership is "the capacity to influence people to achieve a common goal" the need to be adaptable is clear. Leaders should be able to flex their approach, so that they can communicate effectively with different people, and adjust quickly to a variety of environments and cultures.
In short, when it comes to leadership, there is no such thing as 'one size fits all'.
It is partly for this reason that identifying and developing leaders is such a complex issue: how will anybody know how effective they are as a leader, until they have been properly tested in a range of environments? Since every country has its own unique culture and characteristics, working internationally only adds to the challenge.
The general lack of effective leaders remains an ongoing concern for many organisations, despite a significant level of investment in highlighting and developing leadership and management capabilities.
If effective international leadership is a concern that impacts your organisation, the CIPD has identified three steps to help you start tackling the issue.
People analytics, or metrics, is the analysis of people-data used to solve business problems. HR analytics uses data such as payroll and absence management, together with business information, e.g. operational performance data.
These key performance indicators are being used in many organisations to help gain insight into an organisation’s workforce to, for example, improve recruitment and employee retention, get better-engaged employees and/or enable data driven decisions resulting in a more successful organisation.
In a nutshell, metrics drive improvement and help organisations focus on what is important. Metrics should support and reflect strategy within the business and can help the company prioritise on what is important and formulate what success looks like.
It's already well established that having the appropriate work culture and strategy for maintaining good working relationships are critically important for the effective delivery of business objectives. As far as employee relations are concerned, the approach adopted must ensure that conflicts or disputes are kept to a minimum or even better, resolved, as soon as possible and with the least impact on the business.
The way conflict is dealt with currently by most organisations is one whose primary focus is to judge a situation and deliver an outcome. It does not always consider the issues to be solved depending on the type of issue (whether it is just a difference of opinion or it has reached an entrenched stage) as explained in this paper from ACAS. Many HR professionals also invite employees to raise grievances formally in order to deal with them, the informal stage being left for the manager to handle.