Research highlights the top five issues impacting employee productivity

Poor systems, lack of leadership and absence are highlighted as key drivers of unproductivity, according to an independent survey of senior HR people, commissioned by e-days.

The survey asked senior HR professionals their concerns about employee productivity. Five were considered the most pressing. Forty-two percent of respondents rated poor systems as an issue. Thirty-four percent said office politics negatively impact productivity, while lack of leadership and lack of flexible working was rated as an issue by 32%, regular absence and sickness was judged as an issue for 30% and micro-management a problem for 28%.

Clare Avery, Head of People & Culture for e-days, says:

“In commissioning this survey, we were particularly interested on the impact of productivity – or lack of productivity – on absence. We wanted to understand the exact issues for employers to help find solutions to unnecessary absence and lower productivity, which can be an expensive, recurring problem.

“It’s not straightforward to accurately measure the cost of reduced productivity, but even if you take a low estimation, a company employing 500 staff with half running at 75% productivity, a daily cost could be £7,362.50.”

This is according to e-days research, which finds every individual sick day taken can cost a business approximately £117.80. This is calculated from the average UK annual salary (£29,588)1 divided by the number of actual working days in the year (261, minus weekends and statutory holidays). This arrives at an estimation, if an employee’s productivity is running at 50%, of a daily cost at £58.90, or if at 75% productivity, the cost to the company would be £29.45.

The top five reasons – whether office politics, poor systems, lack of leadership, absence or micro-management – all have a correlation to stress, anxiety and general mental health issues, too, according to e-days.

Avery explains,

“In the time leading up to absence, not least due to poor mental health, productivity will be lower – similar to when someone returns to work when they may be building up to full strength. This will be accentuated if the causes of stress, if work related, aren’t addressed. It’s important that managers are aware of the signs of stress and anxiety and actively address it before a period of illness occurs”.

Conversely, according to research, happy employees are 50%2 more productive and employers championing employee wellbeing means employees can find fulfilment in their life and their work. Employers that invest in employee wellness can look forward to increased productivity, better staff retention and improved employee relations.

The independent survey, commissioned by e-days, asked 257 HR managers and above about their views on organisational productivity.