Listen to iWorkers to improve productivity and morale

Now that summer is a distant memory, it’s time to get really busy. I know, I know, it didn’t feel like it slowed down.

Now that summer is a distant memory, it’s time to get really busy. I know, I know, it didn’t feel like it slowed down. Financial stress, job uncertainty, and the general economic malaise seem to have made people work harder. Non-farm business sector labor productivity increased 6.6% during the second quarter of 2009, according to the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. This was the largest productivity increase since the third quarter of 2003, and it came as the unemployment rate hit a 26-year high at 9.7%. But that doesn’t mean employees are happy about it.

By and large workers still gainfully employed are feeling the pressure, and over the longer term it will be hard to motivate just on fear of job loss. A survey by The Workforce Institute last month showed that 66% feel that morale has suffered and people are less motivated, and 64% indicated that there is too much work to do and not enough people to do it. When it comes to maintaining morale and productivity, Information & Knowledge Management pros must rethink how they measure and value iWorker productivity.

Listening to employees is the start to better understand where to focus on measuring value from productivity investments. The same study by the Workforce Institute also found that 46% said their employers have processes that should be automated to be more efficient, while 36% said their organizations should invest in new technology to help manage productivity. Next month at Forrester’s Business Technology Forum in Chicago, I am going to take a closer look at how companies that understand iWorkers’ use of and attitudes toward technology can better provision tools and optimize what they have so people can stay productive and happy. To do this, firms must bridge efficiency gaps: between IT and the business, between investments and outcomes, and between management and employee expectations. Do you face this challenge in your workplace? What steps have you taken in the past year to help maintain or improve productivity and morale with fewer resources?