Recently the new Uk Parliament published a paper on productivity www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN06492.pdf in an attempt to further raise the importance of the subject with our politicians (who probably aren’t the most productive bunch themselves – but that’s another story). Jonty Bloom’s recent paper on the BBC website probably goes a long way to explaining how this actually happens.
However, a recent article I read on the Guardian website made me think about one of the strangest paradoxes of the productivity debate, that is, why are the French more productive than us brits?
Having spent time working in France, albeit a while ago, I must admit that the lunches used to be fantastic! Additionally the pace of work seemed to be slower and more considered perhaps even more bureaucratic. People seemed to stay in the same business for much longer and really enjoy their work.
Why could France be more productive than the UK?
I remember having a conversation with an HR Director of a business with virtually identical operations in the UK and France. When I asked them if the UK was less productive he concurred.
The next question had to be how?
The answer was one that flabbergasted me at the time. They said that because of the restrictive employment law regulations in France it was virtually impossible to dismiss a worker. Consequently this gave the worker confidence in the employer to such a degree that they were much more flexible in the workplace. The typical example was the French employee coming into work and doing many totally different jobs during the week without question. They were also far more willing to be trained to do different work and to pick up additional skills. The corresponding UK worker was much more suspicious when asked to do another job, even wondering if they were in the process of being “constructively dismissed”.
This struck me as very disappointing that in the UK business, the leadership was treated with suspicion and even distrust, whereas in France there was a trusting relationship which aided workplace flexibility and productivity.
Of course, I’m not espousing increased regulation in the workplace, however the challenge for Uk businesses must be to increase cooperation and trust in the workplace to enhance flexibility and increase productivity. I know of a company on the South Coast which has done this to great effect. The majority of employees in the company have been trained to do a multitude of roles and jobs. This means that when they fulfil an order it can be done to dramatically reduced timescales, in essence, nobody waits for someone to do a task, if it needs doing it’s done there and then.
Therefore one of the answers to the conundrum seems to be meeting the challenge of creating a harmonious, trusting workplace and then reaping the rewards of increased productivity.
My latest article in South East Business magazine sets the scene for the upcoming debate over the UK’s continuing membership of the European Union. The last survey of IoD members over a year ago though our “Policy Voice” programme delivered some very interesting results. The opinions are clearly different from the views of members the IoD say fifteen years ago, when the UK was debating whether to join the Euro.
It was interesting to see various business organisations making their opinions heard in today’s FT . No doubt that we will see a lot of this over the coming months.
The full article in the magazine can be found here
This month saw the launch of a major project to provide renewable energy for up to 300,000 homes on the South Coast of England. The 400MW “Rampion” project will use 116 wind turbines to save up to 600,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
Further details can be found on my article here http://smerocket.net/2015/06/12/massive-investment-in-renewable-energy-on-the-south-coast/
With a similar development being planned further along the coast near Poole it will be interesting to see what only the build programme has on the local economies but also the sustainable impact in terms of jobs supporting the wind farms in service.
An interesting day spent at the Local Enterprise Network conference for 2015
Some very interesting discussions were held particularly in the breakout sessions in the afternoon.
I even got interviewed in the conference video – not sure about the beard though! (since removed)
My recent article in South East Business magazine makes a plea for some simple tax reforms
More information on the IoD tax position can be found here within the “Big Picture” magazine
The full article can be found here http://www.southeastbusiness.com/print-edition/april-2015
My latest article in South East Business Magazine.
The full article can be found here http://www.southeastbusiness.com/print-edition/february-march-2015
The original article can be found here http://www.southeastbusiness.com/print-edition/january-2015
Further information from the IoD on the topic can be found here http://www.iod.com/influencing/press-office/press-releases/let-people-earn-tax-free-in-the-sharing-economy
and the report here Share the Wealth-3
Article from the Surrey Advertiser
Wishing friends and colleagues an enjoyable and relaxing Christmas break and a healthy and prosperous 2015
A donation has been made to Cancer Research UK
My latest article from South East Business Magazine describing a fantastic event at IoD Pall Mall
My latest article in South East Business Magazine
The full article can be found here