By Daniel Hunter

In its comprehensive report, Productivity: Getting the Best out of People, the CIPD explores the factors that help to explain why some businesses have higher productivity than others and finds that there are clear links between productivity and how people are managed at work.

The report highlights how a clear focus on improving performance can help businesses get the best out of their people. It finds that performance tends to be higher in businesses where there is a focus on higher quality products or services rather than only on low cost and where workplace culture is clearly aligned with the future direction of the business.

Despite on-going productivity concerns, the CIPD’s report found that only 41 per cent of businesses consider increasing productivity to be a current priority. A third of UK businesses do not currently have any measures of productivity in place and understanding of the term ‘productivity’ itself is patchy — in practice, it is often confused for performance.

The report points out that the quality of management and people practices within an organisation, management-employee relations, trust and employee engagement can all have a huge impact on an organisation’s productivity yet they have received very little attention from Government. In part this is because these issues fall between the gaps of departmental responsibility and thinking but it’s also because they are seen as ‘soft’ issues, best dealt with by individual companies. A strong focus on workplace productivity and a more joined-up approach across the relevant major government departments needs to be a top priority to strengthen the UK’s post-recession climb.