CIPD (Grace Lewis): Study shows leaders need to define what efficiency means for their organisation. Inefficient processes (44 per cent), an overload of paperwork (43 per cent) and constant meetings (41 per cent) are contributing to dwindling productivity levels across the world, according to research. And despite 96 per cent of business leaders believing that technology helps drive up organisational efficiency, many companies are yet to streamline their processes and adopt new technologies to help achieve efficiency gains.
According to the study, staff are feeling the strain, with employees (57 per cent) and customers (48 per cent) identified as the areas of the business most likely to suffer as a result of inefficiencies. Over a quarter (28 per cent) of staff say confusion at work – unclear goals and expectations – repeatedly contribute to them wasting time and missing targets.
The Powering Productivity research, which surveyed 515 business leaders across the US, UK, Netherlands, Germany and the Nordic countries, showed that individual approaches to productivity depend on role and experience, and geographic region.
America was identified as the most tech-driven region, and also most confident in meeting its productivity targets, while respondents from the Netherlands were said to be least confident (21 per cent) in their ability to adopt technology and become more efficient in the process.
Board-level professionals and CEOs were said to be the least willing respondents to reinvest spare time and effort into making the business more productive. The study showed that if business leaders were able to claim back 30 minutes a day, 56 per cent would spend time away from the office as opposed to reinvesting that time back into the business.
But time away to recharge oneself was “far from being wasteful”, the study said, as it contributed to reduced stress levels and increased job satisfaction. Where employees were given more time to dedicate to work, over half (56 per cent) said they would invest in their own personal development, and just under half (44 per cent) would coach other employees if given the opportunity.
Maria Nordborg, director of project place customer experience at Planview, who commissioned the report, said businesses strive for less wasted time, and working smarter.
“By putting the right tools in place businesses feel more confident in achieving their productivity goals,” she said.
Business leaders need to define what efficiency means for their organisation, she added, and identify ways in which their IT infrastructure is best placed to contribute to efficiency. “For example, will automation, smoother communication tools, increased software flexibility or collaborative software be of the most benefit?”
Combining experience of internal IT departments and HR as much as possible would help streamline processes and tackle the ‘work overload’ culture, the study concluded.