Productivity is a buzzword used daily in the world of business. Putting it simply, productivity is the effectiveness of productive effort, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input. Productivity can boost profitability and growth of businesses and is a major focus in many of the organisations we work with. Increasing national productivity has a much wider impact and can result in economic growth, improved housing and education and can contribute to social and environmental developments. This is where the Scottish Government’s Fair Work Framework is focused.

For Connect Three, Fair Work and productivity go hand in hand. You can’t expect to get better results or efficiencies from your people if they do not feel secure, engaged, valued and motivated in their roles. Certainly, you can create streamlined processes and procedures but without an engaged and committed workforce, there is no guarantee that these changes will take place as easily or as quickly as you anticipate.

There are countless studies that have been carried out on wellbeing and the important link to increased productivity. According to a survey of 4000 workers across the UK, France, Germany and the US, doing meaningful work was the most important factor in the happiness of workers. Meaningful work was more important than office location, company culture, management, compensation and flexible hours. There is evidence that high employee engagement can improve productivity by 20-40%.

Scandinavian countries are leading the way for being socially progressive and promoting wellbeing and they usually rank highly on global ranking for both productivity and wellbeing. Often productivity is higher, yet the working week is shorter. With more organisations coming to the forefront to trial the 4-day working week and proving it can have an impact on productivity this is really starting to open leaders’ eyes to the benefits to all of working in this way. This combined with flatter structures, dialogue and employee participation in decision making, which is believed to promote trust, shared responsibility and pride amongst all staff.

So, what do we mean by Fair Work? The Scottish Government’s Fair Work Convention has developed a framework which is centred around allowing employees to feel secure at work, have a voice, have opportunities, feel respected and be fulfilled in their roles. These five core areas are integral to increasing productivity and achieving the vision for fair work in Scotland. “By 2025, people in Scotland will have a world-leading working life where fair work drives success, wellbeing and prosperity for individuals, businesses, organisations and for society”.

So, here are our 5 top tips we can offer to help you start to think about Fair Work in your organisations:

1. Re-ignite your values and purpose
Ensure you know why people work for you and what makes them tick. Do your staff feel they contribute to the success of your business? Do they feel valued on a personal level? Clarify your sense of purpose as a business and create a set of guiding principles to help promote positive behaviours and culture that will help drive productivity.

2. Review decision making and participation
Reduce walls and ceilings and move decision making to those who have the information. Give confidence and clarity to your teams to start making decisions instead of passing the buck. This will lead to increased responsibility and ownership.

3. Start using your ears more
Listen more to the ideas and suggestions of your people as they often have the most knowledge on the ground to suggest better ways of working. Involve staff in discussions to gather better insights, help problem solve and co-create solutions.

4. Update Working practices
Being present doesn’t mean that you are necessarily being productive. Can your teams work more flexibly? Do they need to be chained to their desks 5 days a week and work 9-5? Is your working environment fit for purpose and does it give your staff the right space for thinking, meeting, 121 and team time?

5. Develop your leaders
Don’t forget to invest and continue to develop your managers and leaders by giving them the tools and techniques to effectively manage their people through change.

Colin Lamb
Chief Explorer