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L&D departments urged to tackle UK productivity

Managers agree that L&D professionals should be the driving force behind productivity in businesses, according to research by Knowledgepool

Its study showed that more than three-quarters (85%) of line managers believe that L&D is best placed to take ownership of workforce productivity, with 79% of L&D professionals agreeing that they are the rightful 'owners' of this issue.

The research found that 82% of business managers report that improving productivity is currently proving to be a challenge for their organisations, and 96% regard this as an organisational priority over the next 12 months.

Currently few organisations have one department taking ownership of productivity, the study found. In most companies responsibility resides with the CEO or senior leadership team, but elsewhere productivity is owned by the HR director, the finance director or the IT director.

However, a large majority of both business managers (85%) and L&D professionals themselves (84%) see a clear link between skills and productivity, so believe that L&D should take responsibility for addressing this challenge.

The research suggested that this shift is already underway. More than half (59%) of L&D professionals reported that they are already tasked with improving productivity, while a further 28% are increasingly being asked to oversee this. Another 9% expect to be given some responsibility for driving workforce output in the next 12 months.

“With extensive internal and external networks, a solid understanding of people – engagement, motivation, learning – and a hunger for driving change, it makes sense for L&D to take responsibility for driving workforce productivity,” commented Dan Ferrandino, managing director at Knowledgepool, Capita’s learning solutions business.

“It’s a huge step change from traditional L&D roles but a career-defining opportunity for practitioners to tackle one of the biggest strategic imperatives in business today. The research shows that chief productivity officers could well emerge over the next five years – that’s a pretty exciting future for anyone building a career in L&D today.”

Knowledgepool consulted 113 L&D decision-makers and 102 line managers at businesses with at least 100 staff and a dedicated L&D function for the whitepaper, entitled L&D: Agents of Productivity.