BDO - Cracking the Productivity Puzzle


Setting the Scene:

As one of the leading accountancy firms in the UK, BDO is always looking for new and innovative ways to support its vast network of accountancy professionals and consultants. To honour this commitment and ensure its remains progressive, the organisation is a member of the Workplace Leaders Group — a network that was formed by AWA to support leaders who wish to be on the cutting-edge of work, place, change and innovation.

The Challenges:

BDO’s former chief operating officer, Mark Sherfield (now chief financial officer), was keen to learn how the firm could improve the productivity of its professional knowledge worker teams and what good practice looks like in the management of an increasingly virtual, flexible and diverse work community. To do this, he signed BDO up to AWA’s Explorer Group on Knowledge Worker Productivity, which it runs in partnership with Amsterdam’s Centre for Evidence Based Management.

The Solution:

As a sponsor, Sherfield was able to influence the research questions that AWA’s team asked in the virtual meetings prior to the project kick-off. He met with the research team once it had completed a review of 800 academic papers to hear the initial results from the study, which gave him the opportunity to shape the tools and style of guidance papers that AWA generated.

From here, AWA provided a guide that set out the subject, answers to the research questions and an assessment to tool to help measure how teams performed in six areas that research showed affect knowledge worker productivity. Finally, Sherfield and other members of the workplace leaders group were presented with tools and scientific guidance that they could apply to their own organisations.

Following the project’s success, AWA was able to trial the tools and methodologies in a ‘Pathfinder’ organisation, where it applied the research output and quantified its impact. For its part, BDO was involved in further workplace research and groups including a ‘Managing the Agile Workplace’ study and the ‘Transition’ group.

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