Whether you’re an expert tailor, a digital marketing genius, or you like to get your hands dirty on a construction site, there’s one thing that every business has in common: an endless pursuit of productivity. How can you get an extra 0.1% edge over your competitors? How can you motivate employees to not just go through the motions, but go above and beyond? How do you ensure employees buy into your broader organisational strategy? While it’s easy to overcomplicate things and implement trendy productivity hacks, ultimately, the answer is simple. Productivity means fostering an environment where employees feel happy, valued, and engaged.
But when everyone wants to boost their productivity, what will set your team apart? What is your point of difference? As is often the case, the answer is L&D. Creating a culture of learning can have a massive impact on your team’s productivity. For example, organisations with strong learning cultures are 52% more productive and 17% more profitable than their peers. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
With this in mind, we’ll analyse how L&D can improve your team’s productivity. We’ll start by examining the state of productivity, before outlining five ways L&D can boost your team’s productivity.
While every business wants to be more productive, it’s rarely that straightforward. Employees are only at their productive best when they feel valued and engaged. Thus, when it comes to productivity, you get out what you put in. If you’re merely going through the motions and paying lip service to your employees’ wellbeing, their effort and productivity will reflect that.
Research shows that the average employee is productive for just 2 hours and 53 minutes per day, or 31% of an average 8-hour workday. Additionally, just 21% of workers say they are productive for an entire day. For managers and team leaders, these statistics should have alarm bells ringing.
So, what factors affect workplace productivity? For starters, TeamStage finds that stress costs employers over $500 billion annually. That’s right, $500 billion. Unsurprisingly, 41% of employees say stress negatively impacts their productivity, while work overload reduces productivity by 68%. Finally, fatigue costs businesses $1,967 per employee per year in lost productivity.
These points are worth emphasising: stress, fatigue, and unsustainable workloads all negatively impact productivity. The solution? Our brains need breaks. To maintain productivity, we need a chance to switch off and decompress, or else burnout is inevitable. A study by Microsoft demonstrates this, finding that participants who took short meditation breaks between meetings showed brainwave patterns with positive levels of frontal alpha asymmetry, which correlates to higher focus and engagement.
Interruptions also play a considerable role in declining workplace productivity. According to Time Magazine, the average office worker is interrupted a whopping 56 times per day, with 80% of these considered trivial interruptions. Even worse, it takes employees 25 minutes and 26 seconds to completely refocus after being interrupted. Obviously, it’s hard to be productive when you’re interrupted that often.
Other common productivity roadblocks include poor communication, which 86% of professionals say is a leading cause of declining productivity, and unnecessary meetings, with 91% of people admitting they regularly daydream during meetings.
On the other hand, happiness at work boosts productivity by 20% and working from home can increase productivity by 14%. What’s more, having a strong onboarding process increases productivity by 70%, while 60% of Millennials say flexibility is essential for their productivity.
Finally, there is a strong correlation between engagement and productivity. According to Gallup’s 2022 State of the Workplace report, just 21% of employees are actively engaged at work. In other words, 79% of employees are disengaged! This is a shocking statistic, which should send a strong message to workplace leaders: take employee wellbeing seriously, or risk disengaged, unproductive workers.
On the bright side, companies with engaged employees are 17% more productive, while highly engaged employees are twice as productive as the average worker.
So, productivity and engagement levels aren’t where most businesses want them to be. And that’s putting it lightly. As such, the question becomes, how can L&D engage employees and boost your team’s productivity? Here are five ways L&D increases productivity.
As we’ve covered previously, failing to invest in digital learning can be incredibly costly in the long run.
IBM finds that every dollar invested in online learning results in $30 worth of productivity. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! What’s more, well-trained employees increase their productivity by 10% on average.
Further, in a recent survey, 42% of respondents said productivity levels increased significantly after introducing L&D initiatives, with some adding that productivity levels skyrocketed by as much as 40%.
Accordingly, 72% of organisations believe their business gains a competitive advantage by investing in digital learning — largely due to the productivity boost.
According to a recent report, 80% of employees say that L&D increases their productivity. It’s worth taking a second to reiterate that point: 4 out of 5 employees think they are more productive thanks to L&D.
That’s not all, as there is once again a strong correlation between productivity and engagement. 75% of employees say L&D benefits their engagement and overall job satisfaction. Moreover, 90% of HR managers agree that training improves employee productivity and development.
Lastly, 91% of companies say upskilling and reskilling have led to a productivity boost, while 80% of employees say upskilling and reskilling have boosted their confidence.
At this point, it’s clear that L&D is an effective productivity booster. But exactly how effective is it? A study by the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce (EQW) sought to quantify this.
During the study, researchers increased the number of workplace L&D opportunities and the value of office equipment by 10% each. These increases led to an 8.6% productivity gain when employees had more access to L&D vs a 3.4% productivity gain for upgraded office equipment.
As such, not only is L&D an excellent way to boost productivity, but it is more effective than other common productivity-boosting tactics.
We’ve spoken time and time again about the benefits of developing a strong learning culture. For instance, high-performing organisations are 5x more likely to have an extensive learning culture.
Given this, it should be no surprise that a strong learning culture can also boost productivity. Organisations with strong learning cultures are 52% more productive, 17% more profitable, and 92% more likely to develop novel products and processes!
As we’ve established, there is a strong correlation between productivity and engagement. Remember, companies with engaged employees are 17% more productive.
And, surprise surprise, L&D is a fantastic way to increase engagement. In fact, 92% of people say well-planned training programs have a positive effect on their engagement.
Additionally, Culture Amp finds that employees who have access to the appropriate L&D materials are 21% more engaged than those who don’t.
Want more productive, engaged employees? Look no further than L&D.