Employee Engagement is an elusive goal that many employers struggle to achieve.  A lot of employees’ effort is discretionary and tapping into that extra effort is often an elusive goal for many organizations. A highly engaged workforce is 50% more productive than an unengaged workforce, and results in retention rates that are 44% higher.[1] So, what is the secret sauce for tapping into that extra effort and reaping the benefits of higher employee productivity?  Higher Talent has performed an extensive literature review of research conducted on workplace productivity over the past ten years. We have identified thirteen (13) top productivity drivers that repeatedly come up as having the most significant impact on people’s productivity at work.  A rigorous workplace productivity plan is built upon the below workplace productivity drivers:


  1. Organizational Design & Culture
  2. Management’s Leadership Skills & Style
  3. Employee Leadership, Autonomy and Innovation
  4. Employee Communication, Collaboration and Information Sharing
  5. Human Resources Policies
  6. Compensation and Incentives
  7. Employee Motivation
  8. Performance Feedback & Employee Accountability
  9. HR Programs and Practices
  10. Physical Environment and Ergonomics
  11. Training and Skills Development
  12. Workplace Wellness & Health Promotion
  13. Technology, Tools, and Resources

“Of these 13 factors, the three most critical foundational drivers are Organizational Design and Culture, Management Leadership Skills and Style, and Employee Leadership, Autonomy and Innovation.  Employers need to design their productivity plans upon these three foundational drivers”, says Susan Power, Owner & CEO of Higher Talent Inc.  Engagement and productivity are most influenced by these three foundational drives.  Employees want control and autonomy of their work processes, and they need their leadership team to ensure that the organizational structure is designed to steam-line effective work processes.

Culture transformation takes years to truly cement itself in day-to-day work practices.  It comes down to the unspoken expectations staff have of one another, and the intrinsic common values motivating action in the workplace.  A trend seen this year is the disappearance of annual performance at leading organizations like Accenture. Performance reviews are being replaced by real-time performance feedback and on-the-job coaching.  These are the leadership skills that managers must have today. Real-time coaching requires managers to work collaboratively with their team, and it involves truly understanding the work processes from the ground up to provide meaningful coaching and feedback.   This change alone is a positive movement towards increasing workplace productivity.  Leaders need to be constantly asking themselves, “Why are we doing this?  Is this HR program or policy getting us to where we need to go?  What is the value to the business?”

[1] Weir, J. HR.com. 2003. Reporting findings of First, Break All the Rules, by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman (Simon and Schuster, 1999) and Now, Discover Your Strengths, by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton (The Free Press, 2001).