As UK productivity levels continue to lag behind our competitors, we need to take a long hard look at all the factors that might have a part to play in addressing the problem. The UK’s productivity challenge is an agenda shared by employers, trade unions, commentators, policy makers and Government. Failure to take action poses considerable threats for growth, for jobs and for sustainable increases in real wages.
Acas believes that there is real benefit to be gained from addressing this question through the prism of the workplace: to identify opportunities for workplaces to become more effective and, in turn, contribute to the bigger challenge.
Workplaces are key to productivity. The long term success of high level solutions such as better physical infrastructure or capital investment and investment in skills depends on workplaces being efficient, responsive and innovative. The way workplaces are organised, the part played by managers and leaders, and the role and involvement of employees and their representatives provide the means for things to change and improve. This message applies across sectors and industries – it’s hardly possible to conceive of a business or organisation that can look at itself and conclude there is no room for improvement.
As experts in the dynamics of the workplace, Acas stands ready to promote and support this agenda. We have been working with others who share these concerns to assemble the arguments for change, and identify strategies for action. This report aims to stimulate debate amongst policy makers and those with an interest in UK productivity and offers Acas’ insights into the features that can make a difference to workplace effectiveness. It contains contributions from a number of bodies Acas has been working with and we welcome their thoughts on the Productivity challenge based on their own specialist perspectives.
The report concludes with an agenda for change, and options for future consideration.