Improving employee morale could be the most efficient option for U.K. companies to start closing the country’s widening productivity gap versus other G7 nations
by Peter Flade
In a recent Gallup Business Journal, Peter Flade Managing Partner for Gallup in the United Kingdom stated how engagement levels in the UK in 2012 remained unchanged since Gallup’s last survey in 2009/2010.
Since the start of the Great Recession, the U.K.’s productivity gap versus other G7 nations has widened. According to the Financial Times, only Italy’s productivity is worse.
It is most likely that that employees’ engagement levels have less to do with circumstances external to the company and more to do with workplace conditions over which leaders and managers have a great deal of influence. Poor economic conditions need not destroy what is fundamental to people at work: clear expectations, feeling cared for, knowing your opinion counts, doing work that matters with colleagues you can trust, and having opportunities to improve and advance professionally.
Indeed, a Gallup multiyear study of 30 exemplary organizations responsible for more than 600,000 employees, which examined why some companies are able to buck the global trend of miserable workplaces, revealed that engaged companies never use macroeconomic conditions as an excuse for failing to create an engaged workforce. Quite the opposite — difficult times spur them on to try harder to keep their employees loyal and hopeful about the organization’s future. Conversely, employees aren’t forgiving of leaders who don’t do everything within their power to take care of their employees and their company when times are hard.
Productivity growth lies at the heart of wealth creation and is partly dependent on investment in human capital. The components of human capital development – education, on-the-job training, labor migration, and healthcare – can flourish when people are engaged at work. The quality of managers and their ability to engage their teams might be the most immediate and efficient productivity lever to pull.
Read more about how raising engagement levels will spur productivity growths here.