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Staff costs, efficiency and productivity

business core valuesIn this month, when our blog theme is about monitoring and measuring performance and putting appropriate systems in place, today’s blog topic is about applying this to employees, efficiency and productivity.
Of course, all businesses want to maximise profits and minimise overheads and one of the biggest overheads can be employment costs.
However, as the recent employment tribunal ruling against Uber’s conditions of employment and now potential action by people working for Deliveroo suggest, a ruthless strategy of keeping employment costs to a minimum above all else can backfire.

Staff productivity is achieved by investing in people and job security

As the above examples illustrate classifying people as self-employed or issuing zero hours contracts may minimise the wage bill, but it may also be myopic if a business wants to protect both its longevity and its growth.
Clearly, people want job security and at least a fair return for their efforts, but many studies have shown that offering additional cash incentives for improving efficiency or productivity is not effective.
What works better is for employees to feel valued, included, respected, listened to and engaged in any changes being contemplated.
This starts from the moment a new member of staff joins a company, when employment contracts, terms and conditions should be clearly stated and fair.
They should be settled in with an induction programme that makes them feel valued and welcome, one that introduces the culture and values as well as training them to use equipment and the company’s procedures.
It may seem like a revolutionary idea but when change is being considered, consult those people “at the sharp end” who will be doing the job.  Indeed, they often have ideas that management have not considered and a much better idea of what will work and what will not.
While setting targets and goals that can be measured is essential for productivity and growth, recent research by the Centre for Business Research in Cambridge and the Global Development Institute in Manchester has shown that employees’ productivity is directly related to their personal development and security of employment.
Investment in employees as well as equipment is more likely to ensure long term prosperity for a business than keeping them living with the fear of job and financial insecurity.

General Uncategorized

Proactive Health and Safety initiatives can build employee loyalty

health and safety checklistMany SMEs regard Health and Safety (H & S) regulations as a burden and a cost but demonstrating a genuine commitment to best practices can bring huge benefits.
Employees are likely to be more committed to you and your company if you pay attention to any risks that may be involved in their jobs and their working environment.
Furthermore, supporting your staff by offering them training in various aspects of H & S and giving them responsibility for various aspects can boost confidence, which then transfers to their competence and loyalty when doing their jobs.
In factories, the basic elements of a good H & S policy include having available properly maintained eye washing and first aid kits and, increasingly, defibrillators and ensuring people are trained to use them properly.
Ensuring there are safe, and clearly-marked lanes for moving vehicles such a fork lift trucks, training in safe lifting and handling of heavy items are other items on the H & S checklist, along with safe handling and storage of potentially hazardous substances that may be needed for the manufacturing process.
In offices, again, keeping walkways clear and free of trip hazards is important.
H & S (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 cover aspects of working for long periods at a computer. The guidance is that short, frequent breaks are more satisfactory than occasional, longer breaks: e.g., a 5-10 minute break after 50-60 minutes continuous screen and/or keyboard work is likely to be better than a 15 minute break every 2 hours;
The guidance includes showing people who are deskbound and using computers for most of their working day how to set up their desks properly to minimise back and wrist problems.
Equally a business employing people who regularly work for long periods at a screen must provide eye tests for employees who request them and must pay for basic frames and lenses for spectacles for DSE work if found necessary. Why not be proactive and offer them to staff?
Regularly reviewing and applying H & S best practice can demonstrate concern for employees’ wellbeing and that you value their contribution to the business’ success.
It’s all about being proactive and demonstrating that you genuinely value and care for your staff. They are likely to repay your concern for them with loyalty to you and the business.