New Zealand workers take responsibility

The EY New Zealand Productivity Pulse™

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Workers report greater effort and better individual productivity since our first Pulse survey in May 2012. Nearly nine in 10 workers are now striving to increase their productivity and nearly half of those workers say their productivity has actually increased. However, while this trend is positive, an average of 13% of time wasted each day is still costing organisations an estimated $11.9b in wages each year. Of particular concern is a group making up 17% of the New Zealand workforce, the Patchy Participants, who since our last survey has slipped further into unproductive work habits.

Individual workers are motivated and ready to do their part

The second EY New Zealand Productivity Pulse TM (the Pulse) found the level of productivity in workplaces has lifted the ‘national productivity average’ from 7.34 to 7.42 in the past eight months.

The Pulse shows that the vast majority of New Zealand workers understand the concept of productivity, feel personally responsible for it and are striving to improve it. The results show workers proactively trying to increase their own productivity through a range of strategies, including: reducing errors (63%), better time planning (61%) and improved multi-tasking (50%). More than 60% believe productivity is the responsibility of individual employees – not the CEO or line managers.

Businesses have considerable opportunities to magnify this effect.  The study shows that individual efforts to improve productivity are being hampered by organisations that either don’t measure this vital indicator, fail to communicate effectively or are not supporting their people’s efforts.

Better communication to workers pays off

 The Pulse reveals that improving how the business communicates its productivity goals will yield multiple benefits.

  • 93% of people in organisations where productivity was communicated  well were trying to increase their productivity
  • In contrast, 76% of people in organisations where productivity communication was poor were not actively trying to increase their productivity
  • Only half the workforce believes their organisations are “very good” or “quite good” at communicating about productivity

Left to their own devices, workers had a strong view of what organisations should be doing to increase productivity, including in order: educating staff on how to be more productive; and simplifying and standardising processes. Yet, in many cases, respondents reported that their organisations were not delivering on these strategies.

As edition 2 of the Pulse reveals, management has multiple levers to harness employee enthusiasm for improving productivity.

About The Pulse

In edition 2, we look at: