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Is the Chancellor right to give up on UK productivity?

17 Mar
March 17, 2016

Susy Roberts, 17th March 2016

In this week’s Budget, the Chancellor George Osborne paved the way for further austerity measures when he gave up believing Britain’s poor productivity could be turned around and officially downgraded the UK’s productivity growth predictions.

Giving up on productivity so soon is a disaster. Not least because UK workers have already become so unproductive that we already produce 30% less per hour than workers in France, Germany and the US.

Workers in those nations could take every Friday off and they’d still achieve more in the working week than we do in the UK. So what’s the solution?

Although there are fundamental issues around investment in new technologies and education, economists estimate that poor management accounts for as much as a quarter of the gap in productivity between us and our main rivals 1.

Given that we already have high employment and work the longest hours in Europe, some organisations are simply not getting the best out of employees or directing their efforts in the right way. But while the government’s given up trying to find a solution, if this is an issue for you, there are three proven tactics you can adopt right now to boost productivity within your organisation.

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Are you putting processes before customers?

15 Feb
February 15, 2016

Susy Roberts, 15th February 2016

After winning Money Mail’s Wooden Spoon Award for rotten customer service, BT has vowed to bring thousands of call centre jobs back to the UK. Plus end customer frustration at having to wait in all day for engineers, by introducing two-hour appointment slots.

You could argue that it shouldn’t have taken winning a worst customer service award to come to the realisation that customers value their time and you should be working around their needs, not yours. But a worrying number of organisations are still so pre-occupied with adhering to their own systems and processes that the human touch has all but gone.

Processes and systems in customer service are meant to mean a more efficient and consistent experience for customers – but if they’re delivered without any emotions, customers can just end up feeling ‘processed’. Conversely, if employees are able to deal with customers in a way that gets this ‘people element’ right, you can actually give your organisation a competitive advantage. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can use processes to make customers feel good.

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Want to create a high-performance culture this year?

25 Jan
January 25, 2016

Susy Roberts, 25th January 2016

Happy New Year. We hope your 2016 got off to a good start. If you’re anything like us, the goals you’ve set yourself are even more challenging than last year. The upshot of which is that it’s no longer enough to view your Performance Management as a HR process, but rather the business critical function that it actually is…

Of course the HR team has an important role to play when it comes to coaching and supporting managers to oversee the performance of others, but if the business leaders haven’t already made sure that everyone understands how their actions impact of the overall success of the business, performance management can all too easily become a pointless tick-box activity.

So if you want to create a high performance culture this year, the single most effective thing you can do is to set your people up to succeed by ensuring goals are properly cascaded throughout the organisation to give each and every employee a direct line of sight between their actions and the overall success of the business.

To find out how, read on for some quick tips or download our best practice guide to improving business performance management here. It features an interesting case study from global chemicals company Chemtura, about how they successfully went about cascading leadership goals to shift the focus from ‘just doing things’ to doing the right things to deliver results.

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3 things you need to know to attract graduate talent

07 Dec
December 7, 2015

Susy Roberts, 7th December 2015

When triple-first Cambridge graduate Rosie Sargeant turned down a £40K City job to teach yoga last week, she sent the message loud and clear: big salaries and ‘high-flyer’ status are no longer enough to attract, let alone retain, top graduate talent. So what is?

Rosie herself justified her decision by saying: “I chose to do something I’m passionate about rather than accepting a job that pays big money. It doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned my ambition, but the corporate world is not for me.” It’s a view that’s backed up by research showing that 45% of millennials (individuals born between 1982 and 2004) would choose flexibility over pay, with over half saying they want to or have already set up their own business.

Fortunately, the new emphasis on ‘meaning’ and ‘life benefits’ as opposed to ‘financial benefits’ means employers now have three clear opportunities to engage the next generation with their employer brand in ways that money alone can’t buy. Read Full Article →

How do you lead in a new era of terror?

23 Nov
November 23, 2015

Susy Roberts, 23rd November 2015

Following the terrible IS attacks in Paris employers are understandably cancelling trips to Paris, tightening security procedures and updating critical incident plans to incorporate new guidelines on dynamic lockdowns.

However there’s a fine line between making people feel safe and secure – that an appropriate response has been taken – and placing so much focus on the heightened terrorist threat that this in itself makes employees feel more fearful.

It’s a balance that business leaders in Paris have to be commended for getting right. It was heartening to learn from one of my clients, a 3* Michelin chef, that when employees working in restaurants and cafes were feeling understandably vulnerable, leaders arranged for them all to go onto their terraces at 9pm to observe a minute’s silence for the fallen. As well as enabling those working in a vulnerable community to come together to show respect for lost colleagues, it also enabled them to show solidarity and a united response that their way of life can’t and won’t be threatened.

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