Policy Report

Productivity: getting the best out of people

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Productivity: getting the best out of people

Published June 2015

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In the UK productivity has been at a standstill for the past seven years. In fact, output per hour worked is still nearly 2% lower than it was at the start of the recession in 2008. This is in part a consequence of much stronger employment growth than anyone would have predicted. However, weak productivity is the main reason why average hourly earnings are still some 6% lower in real terms than they were in 2008.

This report includes analysis of two surveys conducted by YouGov on behalf of the CIPD. HR leaders were asked about the meaning, measurement and importance of productivity, as well as how they rate their organisation’s productivity and performance and the prevalence of smart and agile working practices. Analysis of these two surveys gives us an understanding of why some organisations perform better – and are more productive – than others. The report suggests possible ways for businesses to raise their productivity and improve their performance, and for government to help them to do so. 

‘We said that 2014 needed to be a “year of productivity”.
It wasn’t, which is why we said at the start of this year that efforts need to be redoubled.’ 

Content of the report 

  • Foreword 
  • Executive summary 
  • Introduction 
  • 1 Productivity 
  • 2 The visibility of productivity as a business issue 
  • 3 Business perceptions of current productivity trends 
  • 4 Explaining variation between firms in productivity and business performance 
  • 5 Implications for businesses seeking to improve their performance 
  • 6 Implications for government 
  • Appendix 1: details of surveys 
  • Appendix 2: details of multivariate modelling 
  • References and endnotes

You may also be interested in our report Investing in productivity: unlocking ambition, published in September 2015, which presents survey evidence suggesting that too many businesses are failing to invest enough in their people or the technology or equipment needed to boost productivity.


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