Businesses and employers should do more to help close Britain’s productivity gap, says Guy Opperman MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions.
‘All Hands on Deck’ outlines the progress made by government in boosting job creation – with 338,000 new full-time jobs created in the last year – but argues businesses can do more themselves to help boost employee productivity, which benefits the wider economy and the individual companies themselves.
Opperman suggests following the example of US firms who found high employee engagement was reflected in at least a 20% boost to productivity and profitability compared to companies who did not engage staff. While accepting there is more that government have to do, Opperman argues business itself can boost productivity.
The report focuses on three types of employee engagement as ways businesses can help boost productivity.
Greater use should be made of employee ownership schemes which have traditionally been seen as reserved for senior executives. A study of 9000 workers showed that the benefits of shared ownership are overwhelming – for both the employer and employee. In stark contrast to the model of employee ownership proposed by the Shadow Chancellor which would amount to a double rip-off.
Flexible working practices
The nature of work is changing, and at speed, so in order to keep up with the changing nature of work the companies should offer flexible working from Day 1 rather than sticking to the current restriction of it only being available to those who have been with an employer for 26 weeks.
A focus on individual well-being and financial security
Businesses who support the health and wellbeing of their employees have been show to benefit through increased employee motivation, a greater likelihood that the employee will stay with the company long-term, and a significant reduction in the number of sick-days taken by staff. ‘All Hands on Deck’ calls for the wider adoption of the Mid-Life MOT which supports employees to make decisions about their long-term financial health, leading to improved financial security and less stress for staff.