Improving your people productivity means that you and your people work harder, better and faster.

All businesses aim to be more productive, however it is multifaceted and requires a holistic approach targeting all levels of the business, from better management and strong leadership to refining the organisational and job structure, while paying careful attention to employee engagement and wellness. It’s not an easy task, but organisations have much to gain from getting it right.

The productivity gap

The UK as a whole has a productivity problem, and is now at its lowest since 2007. Its workers produce less per hour than their counterparts in France, Germany and the US.  The government is certainly taking productivity very seriously – improving productivity is a key element of its industrial strategy and it’s given its full backing to “Be the Business” a government endorsed movement providing practical tools to assist businesses be the best they can be.

Tackling the productivity puzzle is extremely complex, and most organisations do not know where to start? Phillippa O’ Connor, People and Organisation partner explains.


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Are you tackling the productivity puzzle?


No attempt to understand employee and workplace productivity

What you need to think about next:
What are your most obvious areas of lost productivity?
How do you compare to your peers in terms of productivity?
What are the potential business gains from investment in this issue?


Conducted direct or indirect productivity initiatives

What you need to think about next:

How do you set a baseline for your current level of productivity and start to improve this?
Do I need a Productivity Taskforce?
What skills do I need in my team?


Developed a framework for measuring and assessing productivity (e.g. discrete or ongoing assessments)
Made some investments in technology or tools

What you need to think about next:
How can I embed into BAU and what have others done here?
Are your initiatives targeting all of the workforce productivity drivers?
How can I provide more insight to the business?

Market leading

Have established one or more of the following: management training programme
Measurement and best practice toolkit; peer-to-peer coaching; or consultancy advice Have set ambitious goals for improved business performance

What you need to think about next:
What are the key measures of success?
As this topic is evolving, how can I learn from others?

It is important to consider

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to understanding and assessing productivity in the workplace

It is important to use a framework that will work for your organisation.

Attention should be given to all levels of a business

Productivity interventions can be targeted at multiple levels – from supporting changes at the top of an organisation to employee-centred interventions which enable individuals to be their most productive self.

Get to grips with measurement

Productivity is famously difficult to measure. Human Capital ROI is a cornerstone metric of our PwC Saratoga database and plays an important role in understanding workforce productivity, combining in a single index all the major components of P&L performance with the size and cost of the workforce effectively incorporating all of the primary business drivers where opportunities for improvement can be explored and targeted.

Be flexible; what is your unique combination of initiatives?

You need to find your productivity combination – and your productivity initiatives need to complement each other to deliver the greatest results. Organisations can tackle productivity by selecting a number of initiatives that influence each other.

Reflect, measure and continue

Seeking productivity benefits is an ongoing journey. After interventions have been put in place there should be further cycles of assessment and reflection on the impact achieved in the business.

How can you improve your productivity?

Are you digitally fit?

Disruption is impacting more industries and is happening faster than ever accelerating productivity in those businesses who target investment appropriately.

The Digital Fitness Assessment app helps you to identify the areas where you are digitally strong and where you can improve. It also offers insight into what your peers are doing in the digital space.

Read more

Do you have a flexible workforce?

Flex is an on-demand technology tool enabling business to fill resource gaps with skilled professionals. Within 48 hours, individuals or team can be deployed, ready to get to work within a range of listed skills.

As well as keeping fixed costs down, using Flex for short-term needs prevents your existing permanent workforce from being overworked or distracted from core responsibilities.

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Is your workforce happy and healthy?

Healthier people perform better, cost less and cause fewer organisational risks. Work Well improves employees wellbeing in order to make your business more productive and profitable

The programme provides a unique platform that gives employees insight into their biggest stressors, tailored e-learning videos on demand and access to a wellbeing coach. At the same time, managers are provided with a dashboard and facilitated sessions to help them consider what they can do differently in their day to day activities.

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Do your people perform?

Perform is a management system that drives new behaviours to increase effectiveness and efficiency in an organisation and improve customer outcomes.

Within 12 weeks, it accelerates productivity by 15% – 25% through building leader and manager capability and providing them with the right tools and techniques to run an effective operation. Perform includes individual coaching from experienced practitioners to drive capability uplift and behavioural change, alongside process improvement.

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Contact us

Phillippa O’Connor

Phillippa O’Connor

ESG Lead for Tax, “S” of ESG Lead, National Reward & Employment Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7740 968597

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