Productivity: “A measure of the efficiency of a person, machine, system, factory etc., in converting inputs into useful outputs”* it’s all very factory, manufacturing, creating a thing related isn’t it? Producing more outputs per hour, by the same number of people (or less) = better productivity. Right?
It doesn’t apply in other settings, like in an office…..well not really – does it?
That word …….”productivity” …….does it make you shudder sometimes? – because everyone knows they could be more productive if they were a little less distracted or if they knew a little more, or knew what people assumed they know. So why aren’t we more productive?
Let’s just roll back a little and I’ll tell you what got me thinking about this. Recently I’ve seen a few articles, studies and other blogs about the need for productivity increases, Digital IT skills shortages and that there is a growing skills gap between what people know and can prove and what employers need.
A lot of these studies were talking about the higher end skills gap – things like coding and programming, so I’d often not given them much consideration as that is not an area I have much knowledge about. Based on my experiences from working in both the public and private sectors I was often struck by how many people, me included (just don’t tell the boss!), had a lack of skills on basic IT products, think MS Office products and the like.
So one report that really struck a chord with me was “Wake up to the digital skills gap!”**
Who’d have thought that the following would be true:
“Only 53% of the labour force said they are confident that their level of computer and/or internet skills are sufficient.”
“38% of respondents rely on their colleagues to learn how to use their computer or solve IT problems.”
“On average, the total amount of productive time lost due to the lack of digital skills is more than 16 minutes a day for every employee, of which: 35% due to inadequate computer skills, 28% due to inadequate internet skills, 16% due to problems using tablets and smartphones, and 21% as a result of helping colleagues.”
Now that kind of data sounds like a world of work that I know, and have seen way too often in both private and public sector settings – but for some reason (don’t tell the boss!) lots of us also do this:
“60% of respondents had not attended IT training because they felt they didn’t need it!”
I think that’s because we assume and other people assume (and yes this time it really does make an ass out of ‘u’ and me) that everyone else has these skills and knows how to use that particular piece of software, if you are that 35 year old+ person you’ve been working way long enough that you know this stuff and if you are the 20year old + person you’ve been born with this stuff so you just know it too!
The report also identifies that over half of respondents who had not received any IT training in the past three years acknowledged that they needed training to improve their skills, but simply had doubts about the training methods currently available to them.
To be honest then it kind of looks like a big bunch of us are, maybe, tech & mobile savvy but we are actually just muddling through, with our minimal training, self-taught and ask a colleague knowledge when it comes to even the most common pieces of daily use software. Interestingly this is also backed up by some feedback to a previous survey and Blog that we did at Commelius where in response to a number of questions we found that 74% of people are looking to enhance their desktop skills.
The other thing I know is that when you’re asked to do a task that assumes you have a certain amount of skills, with say Excel, is that some other work task, or even (really don’t tell the boss!) YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook or even the BBC news site suddenly become really appealing or important!
So you see I think that, and for once I can say it’s backed up by studies!, there is a lot of productivity gains to be had by doing some really simple things – at an individual level stop assuming and start asking, go on that IT training even if it’s for stuff that you think you should already know! at a company level – provide access to good quality suitable training that’s going to fill the need that people have.
Does any of that sound familiar to you and where you work? I’d really like to hear what you think and if you’ve had similar thoughts & experience?
Andrew (off to practice macros) Kenny.
**Wake up to the digital skills gap! / © Vodeclic, A Skillsoft Company