Increasing Organisational Productivity – An Interview with Ann Francke

Increasing Organisational Productivity – An Interview with Ann Francke

Posted Jul 16th, 2015 by Expedite | 0 comments

Ann Francke

From commercial giant Unilever to whistle manufacturer Acme, organisations across all industries and sectors are capable of increasing their productivity. CEO of Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Ann Francke discusses how this can be achieved, by following a simple step-by-step process.

The days where productivity was measured simply in terms of how many goods could be churned out, as efficiently as possible on the factory line, seem far behind us.   However, many organisations are still adjusting to the transition towards a service and knowledge economy, one that’s more dependent on people, rather than machines. Human beings are individuals with an array of quirks and irregularities – they’re also an organisation’s most valuable asset. Therefore, ensuring your people are working to their optimum involves looking beyond mere ‘output’ alone and re-evaluating what drives productivity.

Ann Francke, CEO of CMI, argues that investing in, and valuing, your workforce is paramount for any organisation to succeed.  She says: “Studies show that happy employers are 12% more productive so employers cannot afford to ignore this as a priority any longer.”

Absenteeism, a pressing issue for many employers could be tackled by creating more flexible working hours for employees, rather than resorting to disciplinary action.

Research from managed services provider Redcentric recently revealed that almost a third of workers say they work more productively when out of the office. With continuing technological advances in IT and communications, it’s easier than ever before for people to work remotely from any location.

Such arrangements provide much more flexible working opportunities for those that need them, creating a far happier and, as many would argue, more productive employee.  However, 48% of those surveyed said their employers don’t allow them to work remotely, so there are clearly still some organisations who don’t fully buy into this argument.

Francke is adamant it’s time employers faced the fact there’s a solid business case for creating a culture at work where employees feel happy and engaged. She says: “This is not just about employers ‘being nice’. The vast amount of our CMI research shows that in these times of economic difficulty, organisations that embrace this concept tend to succeed financially.”

So, what contributes to creating a happy employer and how do companies create a culture that drives productivity?

Employee engagement is central to this. Francke says: “People increasingly want meaning in their work and to make a positive contribution to society. They want to ensure that their personal and professional values merge, and that their role is aligned with the organisation’s overall purpose and vision.”

Francke outlines five simple steps that employers can begin to work towards in their style of leadership and management.

  • Stop excluding, start including
  • Stop controlling, start coaching
  • Stop confusing, start clarifying
  • Stop resisting change, start embracing change
  • Stop competing, start collaborating

Employees’ wellbeing also tends to correlate with their levels of happiness and engagement. In Dame Carol Black’s review of the health of Britain’s working age population, she found that investment in health in the workplace was cost effective for organisations.

The results were – reduced number of sickness absences, reduced staff turnover, improved staff morale and productivity, and improved financial performance and competitiveness.

The evidence suggests that an organisation and its workers will both benefit when staff are happy and healthy at work. Increased productivity naturally follows when leadership and management create a culture that values and engages their workforce.   Ann Francke is the author of ‘The Financial Times Guide to Management: How to be a Manager Who Makes a Difference and Gets Results’.

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