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  • London and Partners – The Pioneers of Productivity Research

    London and Partners to Pioneer Productivity Research for Advanced Workplace Associates

    London and Partners, the official promotional company for the capital of London, is to pioneer the productivity research launched last year by Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA). Under the programme, which started in early June 2015, the company will test the tools and methodology around the six factors of productivity which AWA conclude improve knowledge workers’ productivity: social cohesion; perceived supervisory support; information sharing; vision/ goal clarity; external communications; and trust in team members, supervisors and management.

    Following an initial all-staff briefing from Advanced Workplace Associates managing director Andrew Mawson introducing the research, staff will complete an initial questionnaire scoring their own teams against a number of carefully chosen statements that measure the six factors. They will also be asked to score teams that they work closely with, so an overall picture of the organisation is created.

    The results will be initially discussed with the staff at a conference at the end of June. AWA will then support the company in exploring the findings, and also work on the further development of the factors within the business.

    “This is fundamentally about creating the right conditions to enable knowledge based businesses to flourish,” explained Andrew Mawson, MD of AWA. “We are delighted to be working with London and Partners to demonstrate how we can use the world’s finest academic research to bring scientifically-based guidance and tools to make a real difference to organisational performance.”

    “This will be highly valuable experience for AWA to test and refine its methodology as well as providing London and Partners with focused, specific data on each team, directorate and the business overall,” added Andrew Cooke, Chief Operating Officer at London and Partners. “It will provide us with actionable results and a new language and approach to how we can monitor and measure performance within our business. We are thrilled to be taking part.”

    In late 2013 the Centre for Evidence-Based Management, working in partnership with AWA, carried out a rapid evidence assessment spanning over 800 research papers. AWA and CEBMa then prioritised the findings in relation to quality and relevance, and established the reasons why it is so difficult to measure productivity using conventional measures. However, what the productivity research established clearly was that there are 6 key factors that influence knowledge worker productivity which can be measured and monitored:.

    Factor #1: social cohesion

    Socially-cohesive teams provide the right environment for knowledge workers to fuse their ideas, knowledge and information, provide supportive levels of friendship and generate trust. Such an environment enables people to challenge each other and their ideas without negative feelings, to innovate and explore new ways of doing things, take judicious risks and cooperate and interact with each other. As a result, an exchange of ideas and sharing of information and knowledge is more likely.

    Factor #2: perceived supervisory support

    The relationship between knowledge workers and their direct supervisor, and the support given by that supervisor, has a direct impact on knowledge workers’ performance, organisational commitment, job satisfaction and turnover intentions. A supervisor who gives praise in times of need, or for extra effort, and who keeps to their promises creates a ‘psychological contract’ with the employee which improves performance. To create that psychological contract, supervisors need to set a positive emotional tone and demonstrate integrity; proactively solve workload issues; ensure they are available to the team, encourage team discussion; and manage conflict fairly, following up on issue resolution.

    Factor #3: information sharing

    Teams which use each member’s distinctive knowledge for the team’s benefit are better at making good decisions, and have enhanced coordination and more efficient and effective team processes. They create a common understanding of work being done and an awareness of ‘who knows what’ in the team. The team effectively has a shared memory – a collective mind – based on communication and knowledge, expertise and team member experience. Team members know how to best remind one another of what they know; how best to prompt quick recall of information from each other; and how to ask for help. As a result they can quickly access a uniquely- large volume of deep expertise.

    Factor #4: vision/ goal clarity

    A clear organisational vision tends to enhance performance: A clear team vision also positively impacts team performance. Clearly-stated goals help team members to channel their efforts, give work meaning and motivate teams to enhance their performance. Team effectiveness and cooperation is enhanced when team members are committed to team goals, share a sense of purpose and responsibility, and have a common direction. A clear vision, with its future focus, provides both a rationale for the team’s existence and standards by which team performance can be measured. This helps to encourage judicious risk taking, experimenting with new approaches and team member responsibility to produce results.

    Factor #5: external communications

    External communication could involve mapping the environment outside of the team to know who supports, and doesn’t support, the group; persuading and influencing others to represent the team in a positive light; coordinating plans and deadlines with other teams; synthesising, interpreting and contextualising information from outsiders to integrate it into existing databases to allow the team to act upon it. This behaviour increases the likelihood of obtaining new knowledge and perspectives which can spark ideas and innovation. Teams which communicate well externally have a faster delivery to market and are more often within budget.

    Factor #6: trust in team members, supervisors and management

    Team performance relies on individuals’ willingness to share and exchange information and knowledge and to have confidence in each others’ competence to do the work required. Trust between team members, supervisors and management promotes a shared direction towards common goals over personal interests, which enhances performance. There are three types of trust within organisations:

    Horizontal trust – directed at colleagues which results in teams that expect decisions by other team members to take collective interests into account rather than relying on self interest.

    Vertical trust – refers to the trust employees have in the management team when they believe the interests of employees are taken into account in board decisions.

    Competence Trust – associated with the belief that a colleague or group can be depended upon to perform a task because of the belief that they are competent to perform it.


     

    For more information regarding productivity research and the six factors of productivity, please contact Advanced Workplace Associates’ Karen Plum – kplum@advanced-workplace.com

     


     

    About London and Partners

    London and Partners is the official promotional company for London. The organisation promotes London and attract businesses, events, congresses, students and visitors to the capital. Its aims are to build London’s international reputation and to attract investment and visitor spend, which create jobs and growth. London and Partners, which was launched in April 2011, is a not-for-profit public private partnership, funded by the Mayor of London and our network of commercial partners.

    For more information contact Cathy Hayward at Magenta Associates on 07971 400332/ 01273 669917 or email cathy.hayward@magentaassociates.co.u

    Advanced Workplace Associates