Declining productivity growth is seen by government, employers and unions alike as one of the biggest obstacles to improved economic performance. Indeed, without much higher productivity we will struggle to fund our public services, improve our living standards and create a fairer society.
So, this report is both very timely and very relevant. It is also different and distinct. By providing an employee perspective on the so-called ‘productivity puzzle’ it offers a unique and important workplace insight. As the report notes, the workers’ viewpoint is all too often dismissed or overlooked. Productivity is debated, but usually in the abstract – as if just talking about skills or new technology is enough. The implementation and delivery at the workplace is taken as read. What this report, based on the views of thousands of workers from a range of occupations, demonstrates is that we need to understand better what employees and their union representatives actually think. What does productivity mean to people at work; how does it affect them; and what makes a difference and why?
Both employers, unions and employees can learn from the findings in this report. Hopefully, at the very least it will stimulate a debate about how best to engage employees and their union representatives in collaborative efforts to boost (and share) productivity. Of course, improving productivity growth year on year won’t be easy. But it will surely be a much harder journey without the involvement and co-operation of the workforce.