Tim Ringo on Employee Performance & Productivity Challenges in 2022

Tim Ringo on Employee Performance & Productivity Challenges in 2022
Key to improving productivity is the importance of the workforces’ experience inside an organisation. Leaders of high-performing organisations have a detailed understanding of how work is done, who does it, and why. 

Tim Ringo on Employee Performance & Productivity Challenges in 2022

Tim Ringo, Chartered FCIPD, is an award-winning author, speaker, and executive board advisor on topics related to HR and Human Capital.

Tim is a former senior executive in Accenture, IBM and SAP. He has over 30 years’ experience as a senior executive in the HR Consulting and HR Software industry. He has architected and led some of the largest and most successful HR change programs in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Most recently he was Vice President, SAP SuccessFactors for Europe, Middle East and Africa. He led SuccessFactors’ HR Advisory teams across the region. In May 2021, Tim’s latest book, Solving the Productivity Puzzle was named Business Book of the Year in the HR & Management Category, by the Business Book Awards.  He was also named “Most Outstanding HR Consultant & Conference Speaker 2021 – UK” by Corporate Vision Magazine

Tim has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the Max M. Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University. He is also a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD.

Q – What are the major challenges for HR leaders when especially it comes to Employee Productivity in 2022?

The pandemic unleashed a quiet revolution that is transforming our ability to finally address declining people productivity. Over the last decade most of the world has experienced the longest period of declining productivity since measurements began. Recently, I researched this trend for my latest book, Solving the Productivity Puzzle (Kogan Page 2020). I wanted to understand the challenges and define proven solutions by applying my 30 years of experience designing and running large transformation programmes.

In my research I uncovered several challenges HR leaders face in improving employee productivity, with the following being most universal and pressing:

  • Putting in place effective strategic workforce planning and forecasting-  getting right people in the right place, with the right skills at the right time
  • Developing a strong employee proposition and brand-  attracting the highest performing talent available by being a great place to work
  • Adapting to hybrid and flexible working – home and flexible working improves performance and productivity
  • Implementing HR technology that is “human centric”-– implementing intuitive HR and self-service technology that has a great user experience
  • Investment in people and HR– HR needs to improve their ability to make the financial case for investing in people.
  • Finding people with critical skills- a shortage of required skills drives down productivity and performance; drives costs up

Q – How to engage, motivate and develop employees to meet business objectives in current times?

Focus on People Engagement, Innovation and Performance– Key to improving productivity is the importance of the workforces’ experience inside an organisation. Leaders of high-performing organisations have a detailed understanding of how work is done, who does it, and why.  Organisations with high levels of people engagement, innovation, and performance are great places to work according to their employees.

These organisations are very good at addressing the challenges of getting the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with right skills and the right motivation.  They put in place a leadership mindset, a set of processes and HR technology to facilitate the creation of an “integrated talent management lifecycle”. They create a “joined” up employee experience from recruitment to performance goals, learning, deployment, and career management.

Create a Healthy and Happy Workplace– Another challenge top-performing organisations have overcome is to improve productivity by focusing on the well-being of their workforce. The best workforce well-being programmes are multidimensional. They don’t just focus on physical health: an office gym and health insurance are not enough.  Other dimensions include mental health, financial health, and a culture of thriving.

During the pandemic, many people have been under tremendous pressure and require help with their mental health. Effective leaders recognise this and encourage their team members to be open to seeking help from company (or other) provided programmes of support.

A happy and healthy workplace also recognises people require a “living wage”, and strive to create financial health security.  These organisations understand the cost of living in their localities and pay their workforce fairly so that they can focus on the work, and not become distracted by money woes.

Lastly, a happy and productive workplace is one where leaders create a culture where people don’t just survive from day to day; instead, they thrive. They work hard, but they have managers who help them develop and grow.  As people grow, the organisation recognises their contribution and their new skills creating career paths and opportunities for them to take on more responsibility.  

Q – How does HR Technology drive innovation and improve performance?

Once a mindset and a set of processes are in place to create the “integrated talent management lifecycle”, the next step is to implement innovative HR technology focused on making people better at their jobs. Gone are days when HR technology was all about compliance and record keeping. Today’s latest generation HRIS platforms are “human-centric”: easy to use, attractive to look at, proactive in helping making people more productive (they are also cheaper to implement and maintain than older HR technologies).

The question to ask yourself: does your employee online experience look more like the year 2000 or 2020?  Most organizations are still using a PC with a mouse and a keyboard on a MAC or Windows OS. When at home, people use voice activated devices, mobile apps connected to the internet.  At work? No so much.  Why?  With many employees working from home they are used to having consumer grade technology around them. Digital assistants, service-oriented apps and even wearables that help them be high-performing during their day. These same devices and apps are making their way into HR technology to help them at work, as well.

Performance management methods and techniques have been evolving quickly in recent years.  As Generations Y & Z take up their places in the workforce, they bring a new perspective on work. For decades performance management focused on an annual process of defining goals and objectives which are only reviewed at the end of that year. Only then is the employee’s performance assessed and rated with annual bonuses assigned accordingly.

Recently, performance management processes and techniques have shifted to be more focused on:

  • Monthly “check-ins” with the employee vs. an annual review
  • Personal development and skills, vs. performance against goals
  • Career progression vs. remuneration and bonus

In addition to the change in emphasis of performance management there has been a shift to decoupling the process from the compensation process; e.g. salary and bonus.  Increasingly the annual compensation process is where a person’s annual contribution to the organisation’s financial goals are assessed and rewarded, leaving the performance management process to focus on development and increasing performance.

Q – Any concluding remarks?

We are at a pivotal moment in workplace history, where, if we choose to, we can make permanent changes to make the future workplace a much more engaging, innovative, and high-performing experience. However, it is not just down to employers – it takes individuals. If you are a leader, lead change, if you are an employee, demand change. It’s a two-way street.

Thank You, Tim!


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