UK productivity fell at the quickest pace in five years in the second quarter of 2019

The Office for National Statistics has announced that output per hour worked dropped 0.5 per cent in the three months from April to June compared to a year earlier

Britain’s workforce now produces less per hour than at any point in the last two years.

The Bank of England attributes the recent weakness in productivity mainly to Brexit. In a paper published in August, the bank estimated that over the past three years, the drawn-out process of leaving the EU has reduced UK productivity by between two and five per cent.

Nicole Bello, VP of SMB and Channel, EMEA at Kronos Incorporated, commented:

“Across a number of industries, such as finance, business or academia, analytics has become an integral part of the way organisations operate. However, this is an area in which HR is still playing catch up. It is easy to focus on the one thing thought to be important for an organisation to be investing in, namely diversity and inclusion efforts, but if we ignore other emerging trends, such as becoming more data-driven and the role human capital management (HCM) plays, the bigger picture and strategic insights can get lost.

“The most recent ONS productivity statistics emphasise the need for leaders within businesses to become more data-driven in their approach but to also harness this data for the good of the workforce. Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) or more advanced versions of HCM technologies can provide leaders with real-time data regarding their employees. This can be analysed to make timely, accurate and company-specific decisions that can help solve critical HR issues.

“By analysing the vast pool of data organisations have available to them, leaders are able to gauge a better understanding of individual employee engagement, employee productivity and even what shift patterns work best for each employee. By analysing this stream of insights into each employee, leaders can adopt their operational strategies so that their employees are working in a way that suits their individual needs. By doing so, employees will feel more fulfilled in their jobs and are therefore likely to operate more efficiently and productively, lessening the productivity conundrum in the UK.

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“The fact of the matter is, data is king, and being able to leverage it effectively is now an essential skill in pursuit of competitive advantage. Ultimately, in light of the ONS stats, UK businesses can no longer accept being average – those who think they can will no longer be around.”

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