SCDI’s Productivity Conference (27th February, Glasgow) was one of those occasions when I had the chance to scribble notes and ask questions of speakers who were talking about productivity in general.
What I came away with was that everyone does in fact seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet. People are the first and most important part of the solution (and because everyone is different, they are also the reason why no one size fits all). Purpose, values, culture, communication, engagement…Buzzword Bingo! These all contribute to productivity, with culture change needing to be led from the top (“you cannot change workplace culture from the managerial level; it has to be led from the very top”).
There was a great presentation on how Scottish Water delivered an improvement programme that tackled on-site inefficiencies. By looking at how work was planned, how people communicated and using metrics to challenge orthodoxy, their productivity shot up from 46% to 60% (now industry-leading), and all this while increasing briefings with staff and providing longer breaks.
Improving health and wellbeing in the workplace is something we are most definitely on board with at SPACE. NHS Health Scotland, discussing a recent Deloitte report, stated that for every £1 spent on workplace health and wellbeing, the downstream benefits were as much as £10 (reduced absences etc.). Our own workplace wellness programme is a sign that SPACE is committed to looking after their best resource.
We know that productivity in Scotland (and the UK in general) lags well behind our competitors. Tackling this will be a collective endeavour – government cannot increase productivity on its own. It will involve organisations, individuals, trade unions all working together, and using appropriate new technologies.
Top quote of the day however went to Courtney Hendry, Chair of Skills Development Scotland, Youth Board. SDS are introducing a new digital platform – Digi-I (“did ye, aye?”). Quality branding!