Management blamed for poor productivity

Aug 19 2005 by Nic Paton Print This Article

While the attitudes of employees can make or break a company, bad management is a far bigger drag on a company's productivity and performance, a new study has found.

The survey by specialist journal IRS Employment Review found that good employee attitudes can be a major factor in boosting productivity while bad attitudes have the same negative effect.

Other factors in either direction include what sort of company structure you have in place and the skills of your employees.

Statutory employment regulations and trade union attitudes were seen as far less significant factors when it came to productivity, said the publication.

But it was the standard and quality of management that was the key factor, stressed IRS.

Bad management could, potentially, exert a much more significant downward pressure on productivity than recruitment and retention difficulties or even employee attitudes.

More than half of the 41 firms polled cited quality of management as a cause for concern.

Other findings included the fact that employers measured employee productivity using an average of three measures taken at several organisational layers, but just half measured productivity across the organisation.

Output per employee, labour cost per unit of output and time taken per task were the most frequently used definitions and measures of productivity.

The preferred measure was labour cost per unit of output, which focused on production costs.

Just half of employers that recognised trade unions involved them in productivity-raising initiatives.

Only a third of respondents mentioned using consultants or membership of Investors in People to help improve productivity.

IRS Employment Review managing editor Mark Crail said: "Although most organisations believe their productivity has improved or remained stable in recent years, many are concerned about the impact of poor management.

"This, together with the government's determination to boost UK productivity levels generally, suggests that it is an area ripe for change."