Will the new wave of Technology finally help cure the productivity puzzle?

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Photo by Andreas Klassen via Unsplash

Since 2008 I’ve been battling, in my own small corner, the long tail of low productivity in the SME space, a place where the ‘many’ lag the successful 'few'. Although clearly made worse by Brexit, we've reverted for a long time to the same reasons for why this persists.

But just maybe it’s time to call out some of these as lame excuses?

Firstly, there's "Limited Access to Technology"? But SaaS solutions emerged in the early 2000s and the now $23bn HR Tech market is now very accessible to the huge SME market and not just for the FTSE 250. We have utilities that both drive productivity gains and increasingly augment our decision-making, such as:

🏢 Building brand reputation.
🏧 Automating candidate journeys.
🧠 Understanding our people better.
👨‍💻 The emerging rise of AI

Then there's a lack of expertise? We’ve been dismantling the social contract for 2 decades as work unbundles. SMEs now have sourcing solutions that are both affordable and agile, providing us with on-demand expertise via:

💹 Talent marketplaces.
👩‍⚕️ Liquid workforces.
👩‍🏫 Insight networks.
🆘 From freelancers to solopreneurs.

You know what. We have still have many leaders who just don’t see dysfunction & low productivity inside their organisation. With compliant NEDs or leadership gurus in tow, the boss often foregoes innovation for hiring & firing boom and bust startegies.

And finally, this stuff is hard. Cleansing old rituals or outdated belief systems in the face of such resistance requires experience and mastery beyond many good HR folk in such environments, hired as they are for administering the basics.

Fixing the long tail of SME productivity is still a challenge all these years later but I believe increasingly doable, given the emerging capabilities at our disposal and the existence of leaders out there willing to embrace new thinking to an age old problem.

Whilst there are a plethora of big systemic issues across the piece to resolve, for our HR tribe, it means creating workplaces that constantly foster productivity-enhancing practices. As a seasoned HR fractional, , I'll continue to help SMEs develop effective principle-led People & Talent strategies, hoping to push more SMEs up the productivity curve.

For my Technology-centric friends, what do you think we can do to help scale investment and adoption across our business landscape to create better business outcomes? 

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