Are boring bosses to blame for the UK’s productivity problem?

As UK productivity figures continue to slump, new studies suggest that more inspiring bosses could be the key to reviving the country’s production.

The study by Oracle showed that some 7.2 million people do not feel motivated by their managers, and almost as many say they do not get enough appreciation for their work.

While six in 10 of respondents said feeling inspired and engaged made them work much better and suggested for more proactive and regular interactions with their managers.

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Tom Castley, MD EMEA at Xactly Corp, the leading provider of cloud-based, solutions for employee and sales performance management, said: “The news that millions of people don’t feel motivated by their managers is a worrying statistic and highlights the sheer scale of the challenge we face in boosting the UK’s productivity.

“At a time when only a third of employees consider themselves engaged at work, costing businesses £25.8 billion a year, it is imperative that companies rethink how they motivate the workforce and reach their full potential. Only if we do this effectively will productivity rise.

“We are living in an era of the ‘Uber’ workforce, yet have a management system that, on the whole, is still thinking like the traditional taxi dispatcher. A huge gap exists between businesses’ approach to employee engagement and performance management, and what their workforce is looking for. A significant proportion of the UK workforce – primarily Gen Y & Z – are now attracted by the ability to map their own performance.

HR managers have been issued with a “call to arms” to improve employee engagement as most workers feel more inspired by their colleagues than their bosses.

The survey, which included over 1,500 employees at large European businesses, discovered that 42 per cent of workers believed their peers had the most positive impact on how engaged they felt at work, well ahead of line managers (21 per cent) and business unit managers (three per cent).

Perhaps worryingly, only three per cent said HR had the biggest positive impact on their levels of engagement.

When it came to negatively affecting employee engagement, workers in European businesses believed the senior leadership team (19 per cent) and line managers (11 per cent) are the most responsible.

Large businesses, with 1,000 employees or more, are worst affected, as a full third of employees at these companies complain they don’t feel motivated by their managers.

“For example, in having ample sales expectation and foresight, and as long as they understand what is required, they will achieve and exceed targets. As a result, businesses will have a better understanding of where its success is coming from and employees will remain loyal and productive.

“They key to productivity is having motivated companies which are knowledgeable, and an insight-driven businesses. Businesses need to take a step back and identify what is it they need to do to be successful, and decide on the corporate metrics to monitor that and apply technology that can automate and monetise the execution against those goals,” added Castley.


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