It’s all a bit meh

Miles Skelton  |  September 30, 2019

Why is productivity so low in the UK right now?

Winter is coming, Woe is me and woe are us (is that a phrase?)

As I write the rain has subsided for a while and I’d be able to open the office door to let the world in if it wasn’t for the constant drilling outside (or is that in my head?) – but the Ashes ended two weeks ago now and an England v Australia test match at the Oval means only one thing. Summer is over.

Now I love Autumn…the colours, the smell in the air – it’s a wonderful time until the middle of the month of my birthday (November) when horizontal rain takes over. And then we’ll have Christmas to look forward to, then (if you squint) you’ll be able to imagine March and the hints of Spring and wahaaay we’ll be back again.

If you read the news, we’re all a bit down at the moment. In this last week, thousands had either their holiday or more importantly their livelihood ruined as Thomas Cook crashed and burned. We’re sick of uncertainty and our cash doesn’t seem to be going as far. New reports appear daily about more things we quite like that are bad for us (God help me!) and politics…where do I start – I won’t say the B-word or the P-word – maybe the odd F-word might be more appropriate.

Also, many of us don’t appear to be liking what we do for work.

The latest reports show that Britain has had its least productive decade in the last 100 years…and growth is running at less than one-tenth of where it was before the financial crash in 2008.

There are a few obvious contributing factors here. Whilst we have record job creation, the fact remains that some of those jobs can’t be classed as being that productive – are five people and a bucket a step forward from automated car washes?…not on productivity levels that’s for sure. The B-word (see I still haven’t said it) has also made firms reluctant to invest in new technology that would enable productivity to increase.

More concerning is that depending on which report you believe, over 30% of people are looking to change job at any one time – rising to 40% for 18-35-year-olds.

Perhaps the highest contributing factor to this, far higher than wanting more money or more time off, is that many members of staff don’t feel like they belong in an organisation. They feel that their voice is unheard, that they don’t understand what is expected of them, that they are not going progress under this leadership – because they don’t feel like they are included.

It is a fact that when people feel included innovation can increase by over 80% – it’s only natural that having multiple people’s perspectives from different internal communities will lead to new ways of thinking. Similarly, when people feel like they belong productivity can go through the roof. A shared sense of purpose brings new energy, focus and a wish to succeed on multiple levels. That is why the most successful sports teams are just that – and we often hear of less successful ones being classed as a talented team of individuals all just playing for themselves.

So, as the nights draw in ask yourself some questions about your business. Do your people feel like they belong? Is your culture one of togetherness? Have you got a shared purpose? Do your team have a voice and, if so, do you listen?

Otherwise, you could find yourself having a rather bracing winter of discontent – and that’s without everything that is happening right now, with our right honourable friends and the aforementioned (or not) B-word.

If you’d like to talk about how you can develop a sense of belonging in your organisation – and how you can retain your best people, get in touch today