Managing productivity – are we getting it right?

Dave Crew

Written by David Crew, Head of Business Growth and Employer Partnership, Weston College

So here we are, in what some people are calling Lockdown 2.0. If we’re being honest, I think most people are feeling a little weary about the pandemic and looking for that light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s a challenging time, and as leaders and managers, we must continue to support and maximise what is our most important asset – our people. It’s important that in daily operations, we take the time to stop, step away and ask ourselves an important question – Managing productivity, are we getting it right?

It’s actually not an easy question to ask ourselves as we may end up admitting some uncomfortable truths but in an ever-changing environment as we strive to adapt to government announcements, changing consumer demands and a fluid external environment, it’s such an important question.

Speaking to our clients, who are businesses of all sizes and sectors across the South West and beyond, I’ve heard various methods being used from 1-2-1 coaching, daily team ‘huddles’, team training and maintaining that all important ‘team ethos’. Drawing upon my thoughts and from others I work with, I would simplify my approach to two key things:

1 – Knowing your people. People are so diverse, it’s one of the things I love about business. The idea of having a daily ‘huddle’ might be irritating for someone self-sufficient who just wants to focus on the task in hand. However, others may need more time for 1-2-1 coaching due not having those informal conversations in the office. We cannot underestimate how much staff working remotely are missing that daily workplace interaction, it’s really important and I think we’ll only rediscover the power of workplace culture when we eventually bring our teams together, even with a blended approach which may be the way beyond Covid.

2- Strategy. Ask yourself if everyone in your team knows their role and what the overall strategy of the team actually is. Speaking from personal experience, we created a simple strategy for our business year with six areas of focus. We report on those focus areas quarterly and I often refer to them in 1-2-1 or team meetings. We can have the best people, but if we don’t have a strategy to utilise that resource, we’re probably not going to deliver what we want to achieve.

I have to say that at Weston College, I’ve never known a time where we create new ideas and make them come alive so quickly as we have since March. Speaking to a client last week, she said that the difference during Covid as opposed to pre-Covid, was the importance of making the right decisions, at pace, at the right time, as our businesses depend on us getting it right.

So to answer that uncomfortable question I asked you at the beginning of this blog and speaking on behalf of my business, I would say that we are being very productive at Weston College as we continue to deliver outcomes for our students and business clients, but it takes a strategy being driven daily and also what’s so important, is knowing and supporting our people.

Am I personally getting it right every week? I hope so….I’ll let others deliver that verdict.

Reach out to me at dave.crew@weston.ac.uk Perhaps we can help each other navigate our way through this challenging time.

enewsletter