The New Science Of Distributed Workforce Productivity Growth

Distributed Workforce Productivity Growth
Summary: Every year U.S. companies lose up to $550 billion because of the productivity slowdown.

Learn About Distributed Workforce Productivity Growth

What's interesting, organizations with a large distributed workforce are at greater risk of experiencing performance issues because of the constant lack of guidance, support, communication, and training.

Losses In Productivity Cost More Than You Think

Companies are always on the lookout for proven methods of boosting workforce productivity to make their businesses more profitable and ensure their steady growth. There are 3 main elements that contribute to workforce productivity growth:

  1. Physical capital
  2. Human capital
  3. Technologies

A gradual increase in productivity is only possible when these 3 elements are taken into consideration and continuously improved to adapt to current and future market changes in the ever-evolving business world.

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, workforce productivity is in pretty poor condition, increasing on average by only 0.3% per year from 2010 to 2015. If we compare it to the years between 1995 and 2005, there was a 2.5% productivity growth annually. This is a considerable difference indeed.

Nowadays, we work hand-in-hand with technologies that were created to assist us in becoming high-performers, but the productivity paradox has a logical explanation. Companies often use either the wrong mix of tools to address certain challenges or outdated solutions to cope with productivity issues, which causes a mismatch between a large set of technologies and the needs of a company.

Below are 3 key challenges that stand in the way of continuous productivity growth and are the reason why technologies fail to support business needs:

  1. There is a lack of streamlined onboarding that would help get new hires up to speed faster.
  2. The wrong choice of technologies is implemented to support distributed workforces’ training.
  3. There is a lack of easy-to-use tools that turn data into a personalized Learning Experience.

As a result, new hires leave too soon, aggravating a company's turnover rate, hurting their budget, and depriving their talent pool. Those who stay, however, become quickly disengaged and don't make any significant contributions to their company's bottom line.

Boosting Productivity With The Right Set Of Tools

Another sensitive issue that kills productivity comes from skills mismatch, a lack of knowledge and personalized guidance.

The key to keeping your workforce productive and engaged lies in providing them with the right performance enablement tools. Notably, these tools have to be smoothly integrated into each individual’s daily work routines. The idea of learning in the flow of work is realized through personalization, scalability, flexibility, and accessibility.

That’s why Rallyware tested five performance improvement tools and their combinations like learning, social engagement, business activities, the timing of content delivery, among others on various cohorts of users to see which improvement tools and their combinations worked best.

Let’s dive deeper into Rallyware’s research to find out the best and the worst solutions for productivity improvement.

The implementation of learning + social engagement showed the poorest results, providing a 6% increase in productivity while learning alone was shown to increase productivity by 8%. On one hand, social engagement features foster collaboration, improve feedback, and lead to knowledge sharing across a company. However, they can also steal learners’ attention if used without any guidance. To minimize distractions, there must be some set of rules to direct the learner’s attention to relevant activities.

The implementation of learning + business activities + timing + social engagement was the most effective combination, increasing workforce productivity by 38%. The combination of these four tools was the most impactful for several reasons. Each person in the test group received personalized business activities at the right time driven by data and supported by actual learning and social engagement. In this case, learning was delivered at the right time to the right individual to improve their daily routine efficiency.

The combination of the above-mentioned tools creates the perfect conditions for productivity growth since every individual is guided through personalized development paths derived from each user’s performance data.

This study of distributed workforce productivity has shed light on what exactly companies should do now to succeed in the future. More research needs to be done to explore other factors of productivity growth, but we hope that this initial uptake on this topic will foster discussion on how technologies are impacting our performance in the age of digitalization.