Increase productivity and profits by 10% – for free!

August 12, 2014

The times seem to be changing. More and more, employers seem to be realising that along with productivity, happiness is actually incredibly important within the workplace. The government released the results of its first happiness index in June 2011 and the topic has been appearing in the media, for instance, ‘happiness at work: why it counts’. What is the relationship between productivity and happiness? Well, the two may be mutually inclusive.


The authors of the above article had pulled together a stack of recent research and evidence of current debate covering such as workplace stress, wellbeing and the Government’s “happiness agenda”.

One theme that rings true in the work I do with my clients is that productivity, and therefore profit, increases when an employee has autonomy and control over the work they do.  So what does this mean in practical terms?


The manager should avoid micro-managing and telling staff what to do.  Those with children will already be familiar with this notion!

The manager should talk to their staff about how their role and the work they do could be improved or streamlined. The environment for that discussion needs some planning. One key point is that the manager should respond to each idea or suggestion with either of these two responses:

  • Yes, we can do that; how shall we make it happen?
  • No we can’t do that and here’s the reason why.

This engagement should be more than a one-off event and is probably most successful when:

  • There is a programme of discussions on improvement ideas;
  • There is an opening session to set the scene.  Personally, I love using the Red Bead Experiment to open discussions as it’s very effective (watch it here

Whilst this approach seems simplistic it is very potent and is based on the belief that most people want to do a good job at work.  How many people do you know who actually go to work to do a bad job?

Acknowledge, involve, discuss, instigate feedback. And you could increase your company’s productivity and profits by more than 10%.  Talk to your staff about the things they do in their role every day.