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Think out of the box to improve productivity

07 Nov 2019

The latest stats from the ONS show that productivity in UK business is down. And what with Brexit, the figures confirm what we already know – that these are uncertain times for business.

The ONS figures show that labour productivity from April to June in the UK declined by 0.5 per cent compared to the same period last year. And what’s more, this follows zero growth in the previous two quarters.

The ONS describes this phenomenon as part of the UK’s “productivity puzzle”. This mirrors a rate of growth since the 2008 economic slump that is actually slower than the period before the downturn.

Their figures are reflected in business investment data that shows that business investment fell by an estimated 0.4 per cent between quarters one and two this year, particularly in ICT and other equipment.

These datasets show a lack of investment (in all ways) is bound to have a knock-on effect on productivity.

But while these figures paint a bleak picture for the economy and for UK business, rest assured that it’s not time to give up hope. Making even modest changes can invigorate your own productivity.

And investing in your employees, their talents and everyone’s time is the first step to making the changes necessary for boosting economic performance.

Nurturing the talent you already have and discovering your employees’ hidden assets are key to refreshing what you have to offer as a company.

Instead of confining people to the role they’ve always played, find out about their interests outside of work. They could well have transferable skills that can be used successfully in the business.

To discover these hidden talents, plan an away day or informal activity where employees feel relaxed and able to express their creativity. You may be surprised by their revelations! It will also help you understand whether you have the right people in the most suitable roles. This can be a really valuable thing to do when you are starting a business and getting to know your colleagues and their strengths.

Written by Alex Mitchel, Head of the IoD Founder Community
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