How much money is spent training employees on productivity?
Although there are no specific numbers available to map how much is annually spent specifically on productivity training, companies in the United States spent $70.6 billion in 2016 on training in general. Companies would do well to address productivity further because an estimated $450-$550 billion is lost annually due to employees wasting time or resources, about seven times the amount spent on training in the first place. As much as $1,252 and 33.5 hours are spent on training individual employees every year.
How Much Time is Wasted and How?
A group of surveys developed by OfficeTeam list the leading causes of wasted time across different levels of employment, age range, and sex. Below is a summary of the highlights.
— Workers admitted to spending 42 minutes a day on the clock on personal tasks.
— Senior management estimate that their staff spends 39 minutes a day on their cell phones while at work.
— Employees ages 18 to 34 spend up 70 minutes on mobile devices and 48 minutes on personal tasks each work day. This is the highest amount amongst all age groups.
— Managers tend to believe that their staff spends the most time on social media when they are on mobile devices, but as much as 30 percent of workers claim that personal email commands more of their time
— Male employees more frequently check non-work email on their cell phones while females more frequently check social media.
— Workers reported (39 percent) that social media and entertainment websites are most commonly blocked on their companies Internet. Nearly half of all individuals surveyed (48 percent) said that their organization doesn't restrict access to online content.
— Male workers more frequently (68 percent) use their cell phones to access blocked websites in the office compared to female workers (43 percent).
In 2015, Salary reported a large jump in the number of people who admitted to wasting time from 2013 to 2014. In their survey, 89 percent of people admitted to wasting at least some time while at work. This is a massive jump from 2013 where only 20 percent of people admitted the same thing. This ranged from 62 percent claiming they wasted somewhere between 30-60 minutes a week to 2 percent claiming they wasted 5 or more hours a week.
Productivity Growth has Slowed
Information from Bain and Company and Paychex both add to the claim that the overall growth of productivity has slowed in recent years. Bain points to "Metcalfe's Law", words taken from the technology expert Robert Metcalfe, which claim that "the value of a network increases with the number of users."
From this, Bain draws the conclusion that the increase in technological advancements has simultaneously bogged down many corporate processes while trying to make them easier. Bain uses the example of business meetings which used to require a lot of time to set up for just a small handful of people. Now, with the advancement and convenience of networks that use email or instant messaging, it is much easier to set up a meeting for even 20 different executives. This has lead to the problem of redundant meetings and organizational drag where, because it is easy to do, executives do it often. Redundant meetings waste time, often being likely to cut into time that would have otherwise been spent working. Bain also cited that 15 percent of an organization's time is spent in meetings and that this amount has steadily increased since 2008.
In addition, surveys by Paychex outline the most and least frequent industries that are guilty of wasting time. Construction and hospitality services, such as food and hotels, waste the least while telecommunications and utilities waste the most. This is attributed to the high-stress environments that these workers often find themselves in. Because there is no time to slow down (at the risk of upsetting waiting customers), workers find themselves spending much less time wastefully on phones or in meetings.
How to fix the problem
In an article by Fast Company, they state that "Companies like Apple, Netflix, Google, and Dell are 40% more productive than the average company, according to research from the leadership consulting firm Bain & Company." From interviews with executives across these companies, as well as many other large industries, three main strategies were pointed out to explain how these companies can turn out as much as 30-50 percent higher profit margins compared to their competition:
— Group together your best employees---When everyone is great at what they do, much more gets accomplished.
— Eliminate organization drag such as redundant meetings and waiting for multiple levels of approval from higher up.
— Inspire team leaders to do well and give them a desire to instill productive habits in their teams.
Overall, more money is lost due to employees in the United States wasting time than goes into all employee training nationwide. This is mainly attributed to an increase in the use of personal devices on the job as well as organizational drag from sources like redundant meetings. Taking a page out of Google or Apple's book on how they address these problems, such as cutting back on over management or making a more active effort to inspire their employees, will prove itself to be a fantastic fix to a growing problem that organizations in other countries now face.