Improving Performance and Productivity


Strategic objectives for any enterprise will always include quality and efficiency, as they directly affect productivity. In business, there is a close correlation between productivity and profit. How do you raise overall performance standards and how much can you motivate individual employees and channel partners?

A key requirement for effective business and marketing communications is that the audience can respond and will be heard.  Encouraging dialogue is the first step towards building trust and loyalty. Do your people know that you are interested in them and can you measure their attitude? Do incentives work and if so which ones are working for you? How do you motivate the key people inside and outside your organisation?

The challenges facing your business will almost certainly include employee engagement, employee motivation, customer relationships, working with channel partners and increasing revenue. There is a wide range of products and services delivering incentives and rewards for improving performance. These include recognition and awards, business conferences incorporating active sessions, travel incentives and exclusive hospitality events.

Live events have unique potential to spark discussion, encourage the exchange of ideas and produce a commitment to action. Changing behaviour is a key outcome that should be agreed in the planning stage of every event. The results can then be measured against clear objectives and their tangible value assessed. That in turn gives managers clear indications of where to invest further in performance improvement.

Where do you start?

Performance and productivity are such obvious KPI’s that you would expect them to dominate strategic planning and management, especially HR policy. In reality, the complex dynamics of every enterprise mean that internal factions constantly jostle for attention (and budgets) like demanding children.

There is an insatiable demand for more human resources, systems and processes. Capital investment in machinery, materials, production and distribution is not confined to the manufacturing sector. The service sector has similar or equivalent requirements for IT, HR, telecoms, management systems and information.

Expenditure on marketing and sales, brand management, performance improvement, loyalty programmes and all other business communications activity has to compete with these other demands for funding. There is a pressing need to demonstrate the return on investment in these areas.

Productivity is affected by many factors.  High morale is generated by a feeling of inclusion and recognition.  Powerful management tools are available that help in achieving the right mood and a positive attitude towards the corporate vision, mission and values.

Trends and predictions

Much research is conducted and frequent reports produced on improving performance and productivity.  Sage People recently published the results of a global survey of 3,500 “to uncover what people across the US, UK and Canada really want from their employers.” [1]

The survey results support our belief that the challenge of performance and productivity improvement is complicated, but that it can be successfully managed.

“Attracting and retaining talent is not a new challenge given the global skills crisis, but there are few signs of companies solving the issue. There is a clear disconnect between the employee and the employer in what constitutes a valued and productive workforce experience,” said Paul Burrin, VP Sage People.

“Employers must listen, understand what their workforce wants, and crucially, act on this feedback. It’s never been easier to find new job opportunities and if organisations don’t provide positive workforce experiences, their staff will go elsewhere.”

  • Over a third of employees are productive for less than 30 hours per week.
  • Employers plough money into quirky benefits but 53% of employees see office games such as ping-pong as a distraction.
  • Almost half of workers (47%) have never been asked by their employer what will improve their experiences and impact their productivity and only 12% are asked on a regular basis.
  • 22% see filling out employee satisfaction surveys as a distraction, decreasing productivity in the workplace.
  • Over a third feels that the HR or People team could increase the value it provides to employees by improving wellness at work (39%)
  • A similar number (34%) also felt that organisations could increase their value by using data and have access to actionable insights to inform people decisions, rather than relying on gut instinct.

Burrin concluded: “Organisations need to make it a priority to know what motivates and drives their people, and work with them to create positive experiences so that their people are doing their best work. This is essential if we are to avoid productivity and GDP stagnating.”