Improving UK Productivity – Accidental Managers

How do we go about Improving UK

Improving UK Productivity

Improving UK Productivity - Made in UK

Productivity ?

It may have escaped your attention in the current discussions about Brexit, trade deals, immigration and what we can do to trade elsewhere but the UK is the least productive nation in the G7. 

It is reckoned that UK firms are 20% less productive than their counterparts in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

20% that means they could work a 4 day week to our 5 and still create the same value.

How does this work out for firms their staff (regardless of level) and their families?

Economics can explain the impact simply

"Unless you improve the amount each worker produces, you can't expect living standards to rise"

Recent additional pressures for businesses, in the UK have included 

  1. Increases in minimum wages
  2. Changes to Business Rates
  3. Rising Inflation
  4. £ to $ and Euro - exchange rate reversals

Combined these mean that most businesses probably need to increase the value that each worker creates to keep their living standards at the same, current, level.

Why might this be the case? How are we 20% less productive than at least 6 other large economies? How have we let this happen?

The CMI have a view that "we often overlook the biggest boost to productivity: better bosses”. Their insights include that 75% of managers are "accidental", that is they become managers without any prior training.

Maybe they became a manager due to

  • being the best "technical" person
  • stepping in the breach during holiday or illness
  • other priorities taking managers away to do other work
  • retirement or others leaving

They may respond to their new position by

  • working harder,
  • copying what they learnt from their previous boss,
  • expecting others to do what they do,

it seems rarely do they take on external training and advice.

Whatever the reason the CMI estimate that these untrained managers cost the UK £84bn a year in lost value. 

Do you have accidental managers?


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