Industry calls for more productive workers

by 13 Jun 2012

The Prime Minister is in Brisbane this week at a two-day economic forum which is aimed at establishing a more productive workforce – and while management and leadership ranks are quick to point the finger, a new report is shining the light back on top tiers.

At the federal government’s forum this week, one thing that both government and industry could agree on was that Australia’s prosperity hinges upon lifting productivity. “The choices we make in tackling this challenge will largely determine what type of workforce, indeed what type of economy we have in the future,” Innes Willox from Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) said in a statement.

So what’s currently standing in the way? The results of a recent workplace survey found that two major causes of time lost during the average workday are usually due to tech problems and waiting for approval from a higher authority.

The survey by Ernst & Young drew together a picture of productivity on the average working day based on responses from more than 2,500 workers from seven different industries. It discovered that a whopping 23% of the average work day is wasted. Just two-thirds of the country’s workforce was considered “productive” while more than 3.5 million workers fell below the average at a cost of more than $40bn.

Despite many Australians now working more than eight hours each day, the report also showed productivity had not grown over the past decade.

A key finding from the report was that employees who felt their jobs were under threat tended to be less productive. “Workers that feel insecure about their roles or are unsatisfied with their workplace have fallen further down the productivity scale as a result of the current slowdown,” Neil Plumridge from Ernst & Young commented. Notably, social media use accounted for just 4% of wasted time.


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  • by Max Underhill 13/06/2012 3:16:10 PM

    We are not surprised by the statistics on productivity. At a time when we have the tools and technology to empower our employees to manage their own performance and report back - whether executive of truck driver, we seem to be going the other way trying to control employees. Performance management is about defining the outcomes and identifying the measures against those outcomes, In an outcome-based-competency approach, the success of producing the outcome is what is measurable and this should be the control point and if defined right it can be monitored by the employee.

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