• UK business has a long way to go to be a truly agile operation, according to employees.
  • Over half say that companies are unable to make speedy decisions.
  • More than a third of workers question their firms’ ability to respond effectively to changing market conditions.

Against a backdrop of slow economic growth, UK workers suggest that businesses need to kick decision-making up a gear, according to new employee research from management consultancy, Hay Group.

Fifty-five per cent of UK employees report that their organisations are unable to make timely decisions, while a further two fifths (41 per cent) say that decisions are not made at the appropriate level.

In addition, more than a third (37 per cent) of British workers indicate that their firms cannot respond flexibly to the changing business environment.

Hay Group’s Decisiveness Index reveals employees’ perceptions of the speed of decision-making in companies across the UK, and their ability to handle change effectively.

The research uses data from Hay Group’s global employee opinion database, based on 5.5 million employees – including senior management – from across the world.

Jon Dymond, director at Hay Group, comments: “The speed at which companies make decisions and how they respond to market challenges are matters of business agility.

“Agile firms are able to flex and change, structuring themselves to avoid bureaucratic processes and taking the bold decisions necessary to drive the organisation forward.

“Clearly, UK workers feel that their sluggish superiors are failing to make decisions in a timely fashion, or at the right level. Both are essential to operating effectively and, at a time of ongoing economic uncertainty, Britain is in need of a turbo-charge.”

Achieving business agility

In order to ensure that decisions are made without undue delay, it is essential that UK companies take positive action.

Jon Dymond, comments: “By clarifying the boundaries on individuals’ decision-making remits and documenting levels of accountability across the business, leaders can ensure that employees feel empowered and supported in making decisions swiftly.

“Leaders would also be well advised to view expanded decision-making authority as offering development opportunities for employees, giving them a chance to test and enhance their decision-making skills.”