Sick of hearing people talk about the importance of productivity without offering a solution for improving it? Welcome to the only guide to workplace productivity you’ll ever need.
The way HR industry professionals talk about productivity is often itself unproductive. Productivity isn’t a vague idea, but a quantifiable business expense—one that is costing organisations worldwide trillions.
StaffConnect is a specialist employee engagement and productivity solutions provider. We’ve got the full breakdown of how much an unproductive workplace could be costing you and where you’re going wrong.
What do we mean by ‘productivity’?
Let’s get one thing clear: although productivity has become yet another overused buzzword, there is real-world mathematics behind it.
In financial terms, productivity is equal to the amount of revenue generated per employee. This is achieved through efficient use of time, consistent hard work and a comprehensive understanding of the company objectives.
Average productivity varies widely across the world and depending on the size of your organisation. In the US, small companies generate approximately US$100,000 per employee a year, while larger enterprises average around US$200,000. In the UK, the overall median figure is £118,000 for every employee per annum.
However, it’s thought that a substantial amount of revenue is lost every year to non-productivity. This could be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Time spent idle or distracted
- Inefficient processes slowing down workflows
- Lack of communication
- Low staff morale and motivation
By amending these issues, organisations could potentially generate more revenue per employee and therefore become more productive.
How much are we losing to non-productivity?
The exact cost of non-productivity is quite difficult to determine. Quantifying morale or motivation, for example, isn’t exactly straightforward. Instead, much of the research attempts to calculate this cost by measuring the difference between highly productive workforces and the lowest-performing ones. There also isn’t a global figure available and the cost of productivity varies widely depending on the size of a country and its level of industrialisation or commercialisation.
In most Western economies, the gap between highly productive and unproductive workforces amounts to billions of potential revenue lost every year.
- U.S. businesses are thought to lose between US$450-550 billion
- In the UK, this figure is £52-70 billion
- Australia and New Zealand lose a combined AU$70 billion
- German non-productivity costs the country around €80.3-105.1 billion
Where does employee engagement come in?
So—resolve inefficiencies, boost staff morale and improve workplace communication and you unlock a completely new realm of revenue generation. We know what you’re thinking: “where the hell am I supposed to start?”
Attempt to address these issues individually and you’re unlikely to get very far. Instead, it’s important to acknowledge that the causes of non-productivity in your workforce have a root cause of their own: employee disengagement.
Research shows that highly engaged workforces outperform those with low engagement levels by 21% in productivity and 22% in profitability, while engaged employees also make 100 times fewer mistakes than their disengaged counterparts.
This amounts to a 33% gap between the operating incomes of organisations that have highly engaged workforces and those that don’t.
Unfortunately, organisations in the latter category are a considerable majority: Gallup estimates that just 15% of the global workforce is engaged.
How to improve productivity in your workplace
Employee engagement should be a business-critical concern for any organisation looking to improve productivity and meet growth targets.
In this case, every little helps. The Workplace Research Foundation found that increasing investments in employee engagement by just 10% can increase profits by US$2,400 per employee per year. If you have 60 employees, this amounts to US$144,000 extra in the company purse.
While every organisation is different and has unique causes behind employee disengagement and non-productivity, addressing these issues revolves around three core pillars.
Go mobile: Depending on which industry you’re in, there’s a chance that a considerable portion of your workforce are shut out of your current corporate communications. Around 80% of the global workforce is deskless—meaning that they spend the bulk of their working day on their feet or away from an office environment—, yet many organisations rely primarily, if not solely, on desktop communication platforms. Switching to a mobile system immediately allows you to reach out to your entire workforce.
Ask for help: Your employees are your greatest resource when it comes to identifying roadblocks in their working day. However, if the subject is their own productivity, many may hesitate to be forthcoming with their opinions for fear of being penalised. Formalising the process with feedback forms and pulse surveys that form part of a roadmap towards resolving non-productivity will give your employees a clear voice within your organisation.
Recognise your best staff: In larger enterprises, some employees may struggle with feeling like their work isn’t valued by senior figures and underperform as a result. Creating a culture of productivity and motivation is as simple as letting your workforce know you’re keeping an eye on things and appreciate their hard graft. This also lets habitual underperformers know that their behaviour is also being watched—they can no longer slip under the radar.
StaffConnect is a leading mobile employee engagement platform designed to help large, dispersed organisations maximise productivity in their workforce. Our app-based system, which works alongside a desktop admin console for office workers and senior management, concentrates on authentic and measurable engagement with your staff through direct two-way messaging, feedback forms, pulse surveys, quizzes and more.
We have helped countless clients across high-risk sectors such as hospitality, retail, manufacturing and healthcare transform the relationship between the organisation and its employees for a brighter, more cost-effective and profitable future. Discover some of our case studies to find out more about the transformative power of StaffConnect.