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Poor productivity – blame the boss!

There has been much talk of late among employers and managers about Australia's productivity performance.

Why has it tailed off after the golden years of the 1980s and 1990s? How do we get it back on track? Are employees backsliding and spending too much time updating their Facebook and "surfing the net"? Are militant unions having an impact again?

While union activity might be affecting some sectors of the economy, a recent study by Ernst and Young sheets some of the blame closer to home.

While social media was a minor distraction representing only four per cent of time wasted at work, Ernst and Young's May 2012 Productivity Pulse reports that the biggest black holes were waiting for approval "from a higher authority", technology issues and unnecessary meetings, all areas within the remit of management.

The October 2011 edition of the Productivity Pulse series found that twenty three per cent of respondents cited organisation structure, design and operating model as having the biggest impact on productivity performance, with 39 per cent agreeing that their organisation does not operate effectively and 36 per cent not agreeing that processes and systems in place assisted role execution.

Key improvement areas nominated by Ernst and Young included reducing bureaucracy and red tape, increasing visibility and clarity from leadership, embracing innovation and technology and fostering a competitive workplace, particularly in the public sector.

The October survey also found that 71 per cent of workers were motivated to do their jobs properly but only 62 per cent say their skills are strongly utilised by their employers.  Disturbingly for human resources managers, this could flow into wasteful staff turnover, with nearly half of the respondents reporting a lack of clear direction for their career, 32 per cent are already planning to leave their organisation in the next twelve months and a further 35 per cent on top of that already pursuing external opportunities. 

iHR believes that effective practices  for human resources management, including performance management and role clarity, are crucial for a productive and effective workplace.

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