Working less to make more

Working fewer hours leads to greater profits, while having the best staff brings great rewards, according to a recent survey.


Working fewer hours leads to greater profits, while having the best staff brings great rewards, according to a recent survey.

Working fewer hours leads to greater profits, while having the best staff brings great rewards, according to a recent survey.

These are the conclusions of research conducted by Cranfield School of Management and accountant and business adviser Kingston Smith, which split respondents into successful Champions and the more mediocre Statics, and analysed what separated the wheat from the chaff.

Champions are defined as being those that have at least doubled profits and turnover in the last 4 years while Statics have either not grown profits or turnover or seen a decline in a 4-year period.

Interestingly, more than three-quarters of Champions worked between 35 and 55 hours a week compared to the 45-70 hours put in by the Statics.

A major reason why the Champions can work fewer hours to greater effect is the emphasis they place on recruiting and looking after the best staff, says Colin Barrow, head of enterprise at Cranfield.

A telling statistic is that almost all the Champions (93%) rated their employees as amongst the best in their field, compared to just half the Statics (52%). Those investing time and money in training and appraisals are much more likely to be Champions.

“While managers may sometimes hesitate to dedicate resources to training employees, the results of this survey show that this is an investment that generates substantial returns,” said Barrow.

Besides investing in training, Barrow advises measuring and monitoring employeesÂ’ performances against the companyÂ’s budget to assess how well the staff are performing. It is also important for managers to let employees know how they are performing through a regular appraisal and feedback system. This apparently can be a more effective motivational tool than financial incentives.

For more on training and motivating staff, see our Managing People and Training sections.

(17/2/05)

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