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Raising the Bar on Productivity: Opportunities for a New Decade

Dorrie Dowling
Head of Product

 All of us are familiar with the struggle of settling back into a productive work rhythm in the beginning of January. This slog may be short-lived, but the same can’t be said for national productivity. As the 2010s ended, the Royal Statistical Society signed off on our country’s figure of the decade, 0.3%: the estimated average annual increase in UK productivity since the recession hit. To put this in context, the UK has seen its worst decade for productivity growth since the early years of the Industrial Revolution. With UK GDP growth lagging behind the rest of the G7, the link between productivity and economic performance is no coincidence.

At Wondrous, we deeply understand the challenges of working in today’s constantly changing, technology-enabled, globalised and complicated world. In our conversations with clients, we continually see opportunities to reinvigorate productivity by realising the potential of people. Here are our solutions for a new decade:

1. Efficiency is only half the story

Efficiency is about doing the same with less. Cutting costs alone can’t deliver greater top-line growth from the same workforce, because employees need to be inspired to bring extra energy to their work. In fact, Bain & Company’s global study of CEOs found that inspired employers were 125% more productive than colleagues who were merely satisfied. At Wondrous we work with our clients across culture, leadership and capability, enabling them to make productivity gains by inspiring their employees to do exponentially more with the same.

2. Think big picture on productivity

Productivity depends on perspective. Employees may be meeting their KPIs and doing their jobs well. But without an enterprise perspective, there is little awareness of whether these separate activities create value for the company overall. In our work, we gather insight that connects the dots between individual and organisational performance. Armed with this information, we have helped our clients deliver organisational KPIs through their people. When it comes to people productivity, interrogating broader business metrics clears the way for real, tangible change.

3. Autonomy is the key to engagement

It’s no secret that engaged employees are more productive, but established practices are out of touch with what workers want. With prime delivery at our fingertips, our desire for convenience has crossed over into our professional lives and employees increasingly expect a more autonomous work experience. Remote working is recognised as a viable route to a healthier work-life balance, and co-working office spaces are dominating in response. Be it the freedom to allocate company benefits towards career development, private healthcare or shorter working days, employers could access an untapped source of productivity in their workers if they tailor work and benefits to the aspirations of the individual.

4. People first, technology second

Widespread access to video-conferencing and cloud technologies may streamline processes and unify team communication, but nowadays this is the expected standard. Think of digital capability as a hygiene factor, as per Herzberg’s model. Without it you’ve missed the mark of an adequate work environment. But possessing tech know-how doesn’t necessarily create added value for the customer. Only under the right conditions can digital transformation surpass efficiency and enable truly productive growth in your organisation. Resist the temptation of a tech silver bullet and look to your people first.

The 2020s offer a chance to raise the bar on your approach to productivity. Re-define your business strategy to unleash the power and potential of your people. Transform your biggest cost into your greatest asset.

Wondrous helps many of the UK’s largest and most successful companies and brands achieve improved business performance through their people.

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