The EY Australian Productivity Pulse™

Communication vital to boosting productivity

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Employees need to know: how productivity is measured, what they can do to improve productivity through enhanced practice, and how they are tracking against key measures.

The objective is to make communications around productivity more relevant to the individual employee. In other words, making sense of their contribution and enlisting their support to drive productivity outcomes.

Currently, productivity — and the measures companies are putting around it (goals, definitions, benefits and measurement) — is only being effectively communicated in half of Australia’s organisations.

The retail and wholesale trade (55%) and finance and insurance (53%) industries were viewed by their people as doing the best job of communicating productivity to workers, with the professional, scientific and technical sector performing worst (42%).

Just talking about productivity in a meaningful way may be enough to make a difference to the productivity of Australia’s workforce.

The thorny issue of productivity measurement also offers considerable room for improvement. One in four Australian workers didn’t know whether productivity was measured in their organisation; while 31% said their organisation didn’t measure it at all. Industries most likely to measure productivity were: finance & insurance (63%), mining (61%) and manufacturing (57%).

The Pulse indicates that organisations putting effort into communicating productivity well experience multiple flow-on benefits:

  • Active effort by workers to increase productivity — 91% of people in organisations where the communication of productivity was good were trying to increase their productivity, compared with 76% in organisations where productivity communication was considered to be poor. The Pulse also found a strong link between organisations who were communicating productivity effectively and the productivity ratings of their people.
  • Increased personal productivity — in organisations where productivity was communicated well, only 3% of the workforce felt their productivity had declined compared with six months ago. This contrasts to 11% for those where productivity communication was considered poor.
  • Increased satisfaction — in organisations where productivity was communicated well, 43% of the workforce were ‘very satisfied’ in their job, compared to only 5% in organisations where productivity communication was considered poor.

Although workers felt that the responsibility of increasing productivity lay on the shoulders of all individuals in a workplace, they also felt that the most significant beneficiary of their improved productivity was the organisation rather than the individual. Organisations must ensure that they effectively communicate the benefits of improved productivity for individuals.

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