UK employees are overburdened with unnecessary administration tasks, leading to a lost productivity cost of approximately £60 billion per year for UK PLC according to new research from The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and Coleman Parkes Research. The "£60 billion Question" report also reveals a UK workforce hindered by complexity, low productivity, and poor performing technology. To resolve these issues, organisations need to boost employee engagement by treating their people as valued assets rather than commodities. The time has come to focus on creating people-centric environments and reducing the administration burden, empowering employees to deliver their best.

News Facts

  • Stuck in the middle. People are torn between meeting customer needs and manager expectations:
    • The report reveals that 82 percent of respondents are struggling to complete their daily tasks due to workplace complexity.
    • The factors creating this complexity include lack of staff availability, poor technology support, internal politics, and unrealistic workloads. These issues make it difficult to maintain customer service levels in today's 24/7 business environment.
    • Respondents claim the answer to simplifying the working day lies in reducing administration and paperwork and providing the technology to automate tasks.
  • Small changes create big rewards. 
    • Employees spend 7 percent of their working week on unnecessary administration tasks,  costing UK PLC £1,932 per year; employee per
    • Reducing wasted time by one hour, per week, per employee would save £690 per employee, per year or £21.4 billion to UK PLC.
  • Balancing the needs of your people with the numbers. Engagement is critical to business continuity and success because engaged employee are much more likely to "go the extra mile". However, this engagement is not currently a priority for UK business leaders.
    • 59 percent of respondents think the CEO is only focused on the numbers, rather than the people who deliver the work;
    • Only 49 percent of HR respondents rate their people among the top three assets of their organisation; and
    • Only 34 percent of respondents rate employee engagement as strong in their organisation.
  • Manual systems are a productivity drain. 72 percent of respondents cited loss of productivity caused by manual systems and:
    • 77 percent of HR and Line of Business Managers cite out-dated systems and technology as their biggest workforce management challenge;
    • Only 35 percent of employees rate their productivity as strong, but it only takes a small change to make a radical improvement. Organisations must focus on implementing the right technology to make working life easier; and
    • Employees agree; with one in six respondents claiming that better technology would enhance workforce management and boost productivity.
  • Don't dash for cash. Increasing the salaries of disengaged employees will not boost engagement or keep them in the business:
    • Remuneration was low on the list of reasons why employees would leave their job, ranking ninth out of 11 potential reasons for resigning;
    • Employees are most likely to leave their company if they don't feel valued, with 60 percent naming this as factor that would lead them to resign. This suggests that HR and UK business leaders need to focus on improving communication and collaboration with employees; and
    • The time has come for businesses to create a people-centric culture with an environment of understanding and supporting employees.

Supporting Quotes

  • Neil Pickering, industry and customer insight manager, Kronos 
    "This report paints a picture of a UK workforce burdened by unnecessary complexity, leaving employees torn between the competing demands of customers and management targets. Inappropriate technology and unnecessary administration are adding to this complexity, costing UK PLC £60 billion in lost productivity. However, small, simple, changes can create big rewards. Reducing unnecessary admin by one hour per employee, per week can save a staggering £21.6 billion for UK businesses. Focusing on employee engagement is a win-win for business and any organisation's most valuable asset - employees."
  • Joyce Maroney, director, The Workforce Institute at Kronos
    "Strong employee engagement is fundamental to a business's bottom line, with engaged employees much more likely to "go the extra mile". However, this report demonstrates that engagement is not currently a core focus for HR teams or business leaders. To retain talent and create a motivated, productive workforce, businesses need to put their focus on their people through better communication and collaboration. This is the solution to the £60 billion question."

Research Methodology

Supporting a global set of survey results, commentary and insights, this assessment of the level of engagement within UK businesses is based on 500 detailed interviews with line of business/operations managers, HR professionals, and employees amongst a cross section of UK-based organisations employing more than 600 employees. Research was conducted in January and February 2016 by independent, third-party firm Coleman Parkes Research.

Supporting Resources

Check out the latest anthology from The Workforce Institute at Kronos, It's All About Bob(bie) - Strategies for Winning with Your Employees,

About Kronos Incorporated

Kronos is the global leader in delivering workforce management solutions in the cloud. Tens of thousands of organisations in more than 100 countries - including more than half of the Fortune 1000®  - use Kronos to control labour costs, minimise compliance risk, and improve workforce productivity.  Learn more about Kronos industry-specific time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, HR and payroll, hiring, and labour analytics applications at Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works™.


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