Saturday, 28 March 2015

The Secret to Higher Productivity and Profit

Did that title grab you?

Do you want to know what the secret is?

Sorry to disappoint you ... but there isn't one .... and anyone who says there is a snake-oil salesman.

The nearest I can get to giving you a 'secret recipe' is that you have to consider both processes and people.  Creating 'efficient' processes doesn't work unless you also have a skilled and motivated workforce operating those processes.  Sorting out how things should be done is not enough. You have to make sure they ARE done properly - every time.

My 'secret' is that:

Engaged employees with improved skills result in improved productivity and profit.

Sorry if you are underwhelmed.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Will you make the right choice?

Recent economic fugues show that unemployment has fallen in the UK - there are more people employed than there have been for many years.

Yet, over this period of jobs growth, productivity has fallen.

The UK seems to have chosen jobs over productivity as the way out of the economic crisis.

This might be a sensible short-term approach ... but there is a danger that the country ends up as a low cost, low skill economy.

As a business owner, you have the same kind of choice to make.

Do you invest in your workforce to create high-skilled, flexible workers - or do you use cheap recruits from the jobless queue and discard them as necessary?

Both might be workable approaches.

If the rest of Europe starts to pull out of its current poor economic shape, then if you have chosen the second option, you might find yourself uncompetitive.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

You've probably seen the kinds of things that tech companies do to engage and maintain staff - and to hopefully maintain high creativity levels.  Not all of us can  create high-tech offices with write on walls, supply sports facilities, free coffee or whatever it seems to take.

BUT .... we don't need to.

What seems to matter is that employees think they are valued, and their contribution is important.   They also like to think that their personal values chime with those of the organisation they work for.

 These can be signalled in lots of small, inexpensive ways.  Firstly, of course, you have to make sure your employees know what your values are - what shapes company policy and strategy.

And they are far too smart to take the platitudes you put on your website and in your press releases. Your values are shown in what you do - not what you say.

If  your values include the recognition of contributions and the valuing of teamwork, you will already be finding ways to praise, to reward (not necessarily financially) and to recognise what your staff do.  You will create space in which they can be creative and innovative ..... and you will value (and be seen to value) the ideas they put forward.

If you are not doing these things, then the write-on walls and the free coffee are not going to help!

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Concentrate on the people

In a recent paper, the Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados said that even though Barbados is relatively prosperous as a Caribbean nation, it will only move up the international 'league table' by improving its labour productivity. 

He then suggested that this is difficult because only about 30% of the Barbadian workforce feels fully committed to their jobs.

If he's right, then you need to spend more time increasing that commitment - and perhaps less time worrying about the nature of what you do or how you do it ... unless, of course, those are factors in establishing 'commitment',