Improving productivity

Improving productivity is an objective for many businesses. We thought that we might offer an accountant's view of how to address enhancing company output.

Human resources

In any business, the employees are the greatest asset, but few business leaders know how to get the best from them.

One of the most important factors affecting the performance of employees is morale. Research shows there is a clear link between employee satisfaction and company performance and profitability. A happy workforce is a productive workforce.

Did you know?
Research for Business, Enterprise Regulatory Reform shows that between 2003 and 2007 more men were keen to work flexibly making up 43% of employees requesting a change to their working patterns.

Changes uncovered included:

  • Increases in company's offering part time work (92%)
  • Company's offering reduced hours (74%)
  • Employer's offering compressed hours (41%)
  • Availability of job sharing 59%) and flexi hours (74%)

While 92% of employers said they would consider a request to change working patterns from any employee.

Effective leadership, comprehensive training, good communication, sharing key information and objectives company-wide, and a strong team spirit all help to boost employee morale, but nothing works better than encouraging a 'sense of belonging'.

Again and again in our work with businesses, we are reminded of what a rich resource employees can be when it comes to improving efficiency and profitability. The shop floor worker, the secretary, the bookkeeper, and the sales assistant are often much more aware of where the inefficiencies lie, how to avoid bottlenecks, or what the customer is really thinking than are the senior management. Consulting them on a regular basis and making them feel involved in the decision making process not only improves their morale and makes them feel part of the business, it also boosts your profits!

Incentives

It is important to reward good ideas and other productive contributions from employees. Although this is often best achieved through the wage packet, it is also important to find ways to reward them publicly so as to motivate others to become involved in improving productivity.

Employers need to move away from 'attendeeism' - remunerating employees simply for being present in the work place - and lock remuneration into output. Do away with permanent overtime and automatic annual bonuses such as the Christmas bonus. These come to be expected and do nothing to encourage improved performance. Instead, make exceptional payments for exceptional contributions. With your sales staff, for example, reward increased profits, not increased sales.

One of the most effective ways to make employees feel involved is through share ownership.

Review

There are many other ways to improve productivity, such as introducing flexible work patterns, outsourcing non-core activities, streamlining product and service lines, and leasing underused plant and equipment. We can advise on all these matters. Why not call us and arrange a productivity review?