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  Harness Psychology to Boost Performance, Productivity and Organisational Effectiveness.

Improvements in productivity can benefit all organisations through efficiency savings. Commercial organisations can additionally benefit through revenue growth. Here are some of the ways we can help you make productivity gains through the application of psychology:

Leadership: Boosting productivity begins with Leadership: creating a focus and harnessing efforts in the areas below:

Leadership: Creating a Focus on Productivity.

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In order to create high performance within an organisation, leadership at all levels needs to emphasise productivity as a priority. Leaders need to demonstrate the right behaviours and set an example.

It is essential to communicate that everyone benefits from productivity improvements and to ensure that the benefits are achieved and delivered. It is possible to be caring and sensitive to the needs of others at the same time as being efficient.

We offer:

  • Assessment of current and prospective managers.
  • Leadership development programmes focussing on productivity.
  • Executive coaching focussing on how to engender a high performance culture.

For the main section on Leadership go here.

Selection: Hiring the best for productivity.

Selection: Hiring the Very Best for Productivity.

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There is a narrative in the world of software development that the top few percent programmers are ten times more productive than the average. Research has found that there are wide variations in personal productivity, not just in the field of software. We have all encountered people are simply more productive than others. Their success can be attributed to a combination of factors including:

  • Intelligence - speed and depth of thinking.
  • Motivation and an efficiency orientation - a desire to get things done quickly.
  • An effective analytical and problem solving style.
  • Taking pride in developing and harnessing professional skills.

We can help you select for these skills and attributes. The difference in performance you could achieve between a high productivity and an average team is considerable.

Culture: Creating a high performance environment.

Culture: Creating a High Performance Environment.

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You may be lucky enough to employ individuals who are highly productive - but how can you create a high performance ethos throughout the organisation?

In addition to Leadership and Selection we can help you introduce and grow initiatives in areas such as:

  • Communication - ensuring everyone knows what high performance is. Competency frameworks can be useful in this respect, as can publicising success stories and social media.
  • Norms - ensuring people are clear about what types of behaviour are valued or are considered not acceptable.
  • Incentives (and disincentives). People need to feel there will be a pay-off to their efforts.
  • Investment. The organisation needs to match the efforts made by employees with investment in the technology and other infrastructure that supports increases in productivity.
  • Support. People will need training, coaching and general encouragement in order to raise their game.
  • We can also help you avoid potential downsides such as competitiveness between colleagues, elitism, a lack of inclusiveness and failing to take account of individual needs.

Motivation: Harnessing Incentives and Intrinsic Motivation.

Motivation: Harnessing incentives and intrinsic motivation.

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We can help you use a range of levers to boost productivity, including:

  • Setting clear, measurable goals. There is a large body of research demonstrating this is one of the most effective approaches to boosting productivity.
  • Intrinsic motivation - money is not everything. There is a large body of research demonstrating that other incentives can also have a powerful impact e.g. aligning work with people's personal interests or sense of meaning, or giving people autonomy time to pursue their own projects etc.
  • Despite the above point, generous, performance-related financial incentives are under-used in many organisations. Sharing the benefits of organisational performance with employees in a thoughtful, tailored way can produce significant results.

Teams: Boosting team performance.

Teams: Boosting Team Performance.

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Even with a group of individually productive people, the way they are organised and inter-relate can have a big impact on overall productivity. We can help you with a range of approaches to boost team performance, including:

  • Team Charter - it is useful to have an agreement which explicitly states the ground-rules for team function, so everyone is clear what the goals of the team are, how they will be achieved and expectations for behaviour.
  • Team Diagnostics - we offer tools to measure team function, individual personality and network interactions. These operate as a starting-point for building a high performance team. We also offer tools such as Pulse, to track progress.
  • Team Coaching - we offer coaching or coaching training to ensure the team has the skills to avoid and de-escalate conflict, build trust and create a positive team spirit.

Innovation: Generating and delivering new ideas for products, services and processes.

Innovation: Improving the Delivery of Services and Processes.

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We can help your people generate and deliver new ideas for improved ways of delivering services and processes in order to improve productivity.

  • Creative problem solving - we can run or train you to run workshops to look at the current situation and solutions afresh. This includes techniques from creative idea generation, systems thinking, soft-systems and critical thinking.
  • Environmental scanning - we can help you look at your current situation from a range of perspectives (environmental, legal, technological, demographic etc.) explore scenarios and generate implications. We can also help you look at how you can learn from developments elsewhere in the world and in other sectors.
  • Business Planning - the challenge most people feel with innovation is not so much coming up with the idea - but honing it down to a sound business proposal that is cost-effective and practical, which can be used to persuade resource-holders to invest. We can help you trough this process.
  • Dealing with objections - we can help engender a pro-innovation culture in which people are keen to take small, incremental risks.

All the above would be in addition to regular approaches to continuous improvement. For the main section on Innovation go here.

Training: Boosting productivity through enhanced skills.

Training: Boosting Productivity Through Enhanced Skills.

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Key areas where greater knowledge and skills can have a major impact on productivity include:

  • IT Skills - how many hours are lost across your organisation due to IT tools being used inefficiently, or dealing with computer security issues?
  • Specific Job-related Skills - how can individuals raise their game and create more value?
  • General Decision Making, Problem-solving and Critical Thinking Skills.

We can carry out training needs analysis to identify where you would produce the greatest return on investment in training. We can also deliver training in decision-making etc.

Work and Interface Design: Designing the work environment and usability for efficiency.

Work and Interface Design: Designing the Work Environment for Efficiency and Effectiveness.

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One of the most important ways of improving productivity is through the design of work processes, the working environment and the usability of systems.

  • Time Management - making the most effective use of that scarce resource is a key part of improving productivity. We deliver training in this area.
  • Systems Usability - while systems, in principle, offer productivity gains, in the worst cases they can reduce it. Usability design is a key aspect of cognitive psychology and we offer consultancy in this area. For the main section on Usability go here.
  • Remote Working - based on research and practical evidence, we can help you get the best from remote and hybrid working, at the individual and team level.

Automation: Identifying and implementing tasks which can be performed more effectively by machines.

Automation: Using Software to Boost Decision-making Productivity.

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In this context we are not talking about robotics and production lines, but office work. There are tasks within most organisations which involve decision making but are repetitive and formulaic. We can examine your business processes and identify those tasks which are most amenable to automated decision making, whether based on statistical processing, artificial intelligence or straightforward rule-based approaches. Using cognitive psychology techniques we will interview your specialists in detail to understand their decision-making processes and review data in order to design a practical system. This will free your staff to concentrate on more value-add activities.

Mental Health: Creating an environment where people can flourish.

Mental Health: Creating an Environment Where People Can Flourish.

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One of the most significant factors which affects the bottom line is time off due to illness. 57% of all time lost to ill health is attributed to mental health. In 2017/18 15.4 million working days were lost to work-related stress, depression or anxiety (Office for National Statistics).

We can work with you to identify and reduce problem areas within your organisation. Treating individuals is one part of the solution but the most cost-effective approach is to address systemic organisational issues.

A host of factors are associated with stress, burnout, anxiety, and depression e.g.:

  • Job insecurity, precarious, zero-hour contracts etc.
  • Poor management who show little interest in staff as people.
  • A long hours culture e.g. research indicates 40-50% of people access work emails out of working hours.
  • Presenteeism - people working when they are ill.
  • The working environment (noise, poor lighting, non-ergonomic furniture etc.)

For the main section on Mental Health and Well-being go here.

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Oxford Business Psychology 2022