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Let’s tackle productivity…

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We need to talk about productivity.

Chancellor Phillip Hammond indicated that in the UK, for every four days’ work an employee puts in, a German or a French employee will produce five days’ worth of work.

As a nation, we’ve always prided ourselves on work and trade. We’re a nation of industrious hard-workers, and we’re innovative – but we’re just not very productive.

Consider the rate of voluntary turnover in UK and German workforces, for instance.  In Mercer’s 2015 Turnover Survey, the UK has constantly run at a higher rate than Germany – reaching a record 11.5% in 2014 while Germany went from 3.8% to 9% between 2013 and 2014.

The CIPD claims that turnover in the private sector is 22.6%.

So even Germany’s record leap wasn’t enough to surpass the UK’s rate of voluntary turnover, which indicates that we’re job-hopping more than is potentially healthy for us.

A survey by Robert Half in 2016 showed that HR Directors believe 35% of voluntary turnover is caused by “boredom with current role or company”, 31% is down to a poor work/life balance, and 30% is down to stagnant career prospects.

In our White Paper, the ROI of a Good Hire, we looked at some analysis by Bradford Smart, which showed some cost figures around losing a Sales Representative in your business. We’re all aware of how much recruitment agents cost, but hardly anyone has been able to put a figure on the amount of money lost through reduced productivity.

Hire quicker

So if we’re going to tackle productivity, we need to hire people more quickly. Imagine a scenario where someone leaves and it takes you nearly 100 days to replace them.

That’s three months of having someone who is less motivated than other employees, working for you. Three months of having other employees potentially affected by that person’s lack of productivity and motivation, and worse, potentially thinking “Why Not Me?”

Three months of reduced profitability because that person isn’t chasing down leads with the tenacity of someone who is 100% motivated.

And then, it can take up to 28 weeks for the new person to get fully up to speed.

Simple answer: hire quicker. IBM’s Kenexa is a great system for putting quicker hiring processes in place, with a talent pool of people you can call upon when a vacancy arises.

Predict and plan better

If people are leaving at such a rate, and we’re unable to replace them quickly, that implies that we’re not very good at predicting the future and planning for it.

How many times have we said to ourselves “I should have seen that coming”?

The employee who, frustrated at never having the opportunity to move up the ladder, moves to your competitor. The pattern of young employees leaving within 6 months of having joined, or the pattern of older employees sticking around. The branch in Nottingham where hiring is too expensive, and retention is atrocious.

If you have the data, you have the knowledge to do something about it, but you have to know what you need to resolve first. Kenexa Talent Insights can help you delve into your workforce data and understand these patterns so that you can create a better plan.

If we’re to tackle the UK’s productivity crisis, we need the tools to make better – and quicker – decisions. If we can predict and anticipate future supply and demand, and if we can pinpoint areas where HR teams can contribute to productivity, we would all gain a competitive advantage.