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In today's evolving world, businesses face a myriad of challenges and whilst increasing employee productivity has been a top concern for many businesses for decades, it is currently at an all-time low. COVID-19 has created a new culture of productivity.  

Put simply: productivity should correlate with increased performance.

Lower work rate (or productivity) results in poor performance of employees, which ultimately affects the quality of deliverables. When the end-users are not satisfied with the product, profitability will go down.

The warning on productivity comes after Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed Australia's economy is growing at its slowest rate since major pandemic restrictions ended, with gross domestic product (GDP) rising by just 0.2 per cent in the March quarter (up 2.3% compared to March 2022 quarter).

South Australia, like many other regions, has witnessed an increase in the cost of living. Rising housing prices, inflation, and other factors have placed a financial burden on employees. To maintain their standard of living, employees are seeking higher wages or more convenient work arrangements. 

The traditional 8:30-to-five workday is continually being pushed and pulled as employees increasingly seek greater flexibility and work-life integration, with a particular desire for remote work options. For so long, the business landscape has been a certain way, and the reality is, that is now changing. And with that, many organisations are accepting underperformance as they would rather have A BODY than NOBODY.

As performance review season approaches, it is essential to approach these conversations with a comprehensive understanding of the changing work landscape. Recognise the desire for flexibility among employees and consider how this factor impacts their productivity. Use performance reviews as an opportunity to discuss work arrangements that align with both individual and organisational goals, and set clear expectations of employees. Through conversations in the industry, ROUSSOS is finding that leaders are often not adequately equipped in setting performance measures for their employees (in line with business goals and objectives), in fear that people will leave.

While flexibility and work-from-home arrangements can yield some benefits, it's important to strike a balance that meets the needs of both employees and the organisation. Many leaders and business owners from our industries are feeling frustrated that their circumstances and their pressures are not being considered by their employees.

It is safe to say that a number of employees have potentially forgotten the principles around productivity in line with overall business performance and profitability, whereby, if productivity continues to drop, we may see an increase in our unemployment rate. Perhaps this needs to happen, so we can see more consideration around expectations and gratitude from the employee market.

Although the way of “being married to your job” is no more, we can only hope to see the return of loyalty and value based employees who understand that, with high performance and productivity comes great reward.

Through open communication with employees and setting clear expectations, you can create an environment that promotes engagement, job satisfaction, and ultimately (hopefully), increased productivity. As performance review conversations approach, seize the opportunity to align individual needs with organisational goals, finding the right balance to ensure continued success.