The Harvard Business Review article “The Pandemic Is Widening a Corporate Productivity Gap” shows that the pandemic has widened the gap between top performing companies and other companies . Do you agree ?
How productive have companies actually been during the pandemic relative to where they were before Covid-19?
The short answer: It depends on the company. Some have remained remarkably productive during the Covid-era, capitalizing on the latest technology to collaborate effectively and efficiently. Most, however, are less productive now than they were 12 months ago.
Three factors best explain the relative productivity of large organizations:
- The time each employee has to dedicate to productive work each day, without distraction from excessive e-communications, unnecessary meetings, or bureaucratic processes and procedures.
- The talent that each worker can bring to their job and, importantly, how an organization’s best talent is deployed, teamed, and led; and
- The discretionary energy each employee is willing to invest in their work and dedicate to the success of the company, its customers, and other stakeholders.
- VIRTUAL MEETINGS : Are they causing exhaustion and chaos?
For companies that struggled to collaborate productively before the pandemic, work-from-home orders only made matters worse. To begin with, the time consumed in virtual meetings exploded. Researchers at Harvard Business School and New York University found that the number of meetings increased during the pandemic by 12.9%, on average, and the number of attendees per meeting grew by 13.5%. While the average length of meetings declined, the total time consumed by meetings increased substantially. Sadly, for most organizations, this investment of additional time yielded very little. The Harvard Business School and New York University data is consistent with what we have observed at many companies: Poor collaboration and inefficient work practices have reduced productive time by 2% to 3% for most organizations.
2. TALENT POOL CHALLENGE : Can you quickly tap into a more DIGITALLY SAVVY talent pool?
Current employees have faced mounting pressures at home, as they juggle work and family. As a result, some organizations have seen many of their star performers leave the workforce — at least temporarily — reducing overall productivity. We estimate that Covid-19 has had a slight negative impact on most companies’ ability to attract, retain, and manage top performers, leading to a slight decline in overall productivity.
Can you use tools like Mettl and Pexitest to build viable pipelines, digitally, to tap into a fresh set of Smart and Savvy people? These tools help you create diverse competency pipeline which can be accessed at short notice and deployed. Multiple vendors can share Assessments links out at very reasonable rates and ensure that you do not need to struggle with shortlisting and making salary offer decisions. Especially Pexitest offers a Talent Peer and Industry benchmark as an inbuilt feature in the reports- allowing for easy comparisons and decisions around your talent.
3. TALENT ENERGY MANAGEMENT : Can you ENGAGE your existing employees?
Covid-19 has hit people engagement and energy the hardest. Research by Achievers Workforce Institute suggests that most organizations have struggled to engage their employees during the pandemic. Logically, then, productivity is likely to have fallen considerably for most companies. At Adobe, as Covid-19 and work-from-home orders persisted, regular pulse-check surveys revealed that employees were growing tired, balancing the new realities of work and home.
In response, Adobe gave all employees an extra day off — the third Friday of each month — to unplug and recharge. The combination of these — and many other — efforts has enabled Adobe to tap into the discretionary energy of its workforce during Covid-19. In fact, engagement scores at Adobe, according to the company, have actually increased since the beginning of the pandemic
Most organizations have experienced a net reduction in productivity of 3% to 6% (or more) due to inefficient collaboration, wasteful ways of working, and an overall decline in employee engagement.
The impact of this widening gap is significant. If the best were 40% more productive than the rest before the pandemic (as our research suggested back in 2017), then they may be greater than 50% more productive now. This boost should enable these organizations to out-team, out-innovate, outgrow, and outperform their competitors for many years.