Productivity is crucial for businesses success – and the effects of low productivity can be quite damaging. However, diagnosing the causes of reduced productivity can present a challenge.

Let’s look at the UK for example. The UK has been significantly less productive than the US, and many EU countries for years. They even refer to their productivity gap as the “The Productivity Puzzle.” Causes for low productivity in business can range from a lack of technology and poor worker engagement to cultural issues, misalignment and skills gaps. The good news is that all of these things can be addressed – and productivity gaps closed – easier and faster than you might think.


What happens when productivity decreases?

Lower productivity stunts economic growth. Instead of doing more with less, companies are doing less with more, leading to poor utilisation of resources and increased expenditures.

By improving productivity, companies can get the most out of their workforce, resources, and technologies, enabling them to perform at their peak potential.


How to Identify and Fix Productivity Gaps in Your Small Business

Even if your business is highly productive and hitting the benchmarks that have been set, there still might be some ways to drive productivity, improve processes and empower the workforce.  Let’s look at a few ways small businesses can identify and address productivity gaps in their organisations.


Run a gap analysis 

It’s hard to improve productivity without knowing which areas are underperforming, so it’s essential to run a gap analysis. Start by looking at how your small business compares to similar companies in your industry. How do you stack up? What are you doing better than those businesses, and what are they doing better than you? Where can productivity be improved? Once you can see where the gaps are, you can set about closing them


Look at organisational objectives versus results

Once you’ve measured your business against your competitors, it’s time to measure its current performance against your ideal vision of the company. Figure out your goals, decide which KPIs are most valuable for evaluating your business’s progress, and then look at where your business currently stands. Where are you furthest from meeting your targets? What strategies and technologies could help you close those gaps?


SWOT your way to success

Running a SWOT analysis will help you look beyond your data and KPIs and tap into the brainpower of the workforce. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. SWOTs are run by gathering all the stakeholders together for a brainstorming session, where they identify pain points and opportunities in their functions and departments. The best thing about SWOTs is that they empower small businesses to drive productivity and capitalise on new opportunities.


Look for skills gaps

Getting the most out of the workforce is one of the most important – and challenging – aspects of improving productivity. It can be challenging to know if low performance is down to an employee, their tools, their training, or factors totally beyond their control. To assess the skills of your workforce, look at the performance metrics of individual employees to see what they’re doing well and where they’re struggling. Does their current role make the most of their skills? Could their expertise support other departments or functions? Could up-skilling help?


Evaluate culture and management

Once the workforce’s skills are assessed and any skills gaps are tackled through training, it’s time to ensure that management is putting them in a position to succeed. Keeping a team engaged and motivated is not always an easy task. Still, statistics show that a happy and engaged workforce is crucial for driving productivity – especially in an age when remote work is becoming more common. Get feedback from the crew to ensure that your company’s culture is inclusive and empowering and that they feel supported by management.  


Analyse workflows

When assessing the workforce’s skills, it’s essential to look at how team members fit into the business now and what their role within the company looks like in six months, a year, five years from now. The future of work will require new skills, primarily as businesses increasingly use AI to automate tasks, streamline processes and do some heavy lifting in marketing and sales. Analyse your workflows and processes to see where you can implement AI and free your workforce to focus on higher-value work.


Level up your technologies to avoid the digital gap

Digitalisation is reimagining the business landscape in the EU and beyond. The productivity gap and the digital gap are intertwined. Many small businesses don’t have dedicated IT teams and may want to look for a strategic partner to diagnose business problems and connect them with the right technologies. Another option is to use Salesforce’s Lightning Platform to build apps by simply dragging and dropping components. Additionally, they can turn to Marketing Cloud and Sales Cloud to empower their representatives and use Service Cloud to automate processes with intelligent workflows. 


Close productivity gaps to fulfil your business’s potential

Businesses need to be as productive as possible to reach their maximum potential. Otherwise, they’re coasting on cruise control instead of hitting the accelerator. If there are productivity gaps in your organisation, the time to close them is now. And if your business is quickly reaching its productivity goals, you might want to look at what skills and technologies will help prepare them for the future of work. Closing productivity gaps starts with getting ahead of the curve, and you can start creating a roadmap to a more productive future by reading our ebook 5 Productivity Tips Every Small Business Needs To Know


5 Productivity Tips Every Small Business Needs to Know

Discover five simple tips to stay efficient and productive. You will learn how choosing the right tools will empower your business and employees.