Employees reaching breaking point – but companies are still demanding more

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Employers are facing a disconnection between their productivity expectations for employees and the ability of workforces to deliver. 55% of workers questioned by the business advisory firm CEB stated they can’t handle the stress of their jobs for much longer.
 
The increasing strain on workers is a result of headcount reductions which have forced remaining employees to take on additional responsibilities, dealing with larger networks of people around the world and depending on more complex IT.
 
Despite the increasing strain, employers are looking to boost growth through further efficiency gains among their workforces rather than through growing headcount. On average, executives are demanding 20% output increases from their workforces and believe only one in three of their employees are currently operating at peak productivity.
 
The result, according to CEB, is that employers who fail to look closely at working structures and the skills they are teaching employees are unlikely to realise their growth expectations.
 
Conrad Schmidt, global research officer of CEB said: “Post-recession risk aversion means most employers remain reluctant to invest significantly in increasing the size of their workforces to bring about growth. The focus is therefore squarely on building greater efficiency in the workforce, but there’s a growing risk that companies’ perceptions of their employees’ spare capacity are disconnected from the true position.
 
“With growth now firmly on the corporate agenda, it’s critical companies understand precisely how they can foster greater efficiency.
 
“Employers must consider what skills employees require to work in environments where they are faced with more complex human networks and more detailed information. It’s also critical to adjust management networks to target technology investments to help employees perform better”.

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