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Productivity not just about tech, says Manchester professor

Sir Cary Cooper, an internationally-renowned professor at Manchester Business School, has argued that small manufacturers can boost productivity with better people management.

Sir Cary Cooper, an internationally-renowned professor at Manchester Business School, has argued that small manufacturers can boost productivity with better people management.

In an interview with The Manufacturer, Professor Cooper - who is also the president of the Chartered Institute for Professional Development - said that the traditional ‘command-and-control’ management style usually found in manufacturing is counter-productive with younger employees.

“In the UK we think our productivity problems are all to do with not being digital enough, or we don’t have the best equipment. I think it’s actually that we just don’t have the right kind of managers to get the most out of people.

“People in manufacturing tend to be things-oriented, less likely to be people-driven than somebody who gravitates towards social work or teaching, and I think that is a problem. We need more and better training of line managers on their social skills, on empathy, on how to manage people (particularly different generations) all the way up from shop-floor to top-floor.”

Millennials do not respond to outdated management techniques because of their different attitudes towards job security, flexibility and mobility, Cooper said:

“You retain them by making them feel valued and trusted, giving them challenging jobs, gradually training them with proper skills, doing things that advance them, and make them a part of your business.

“The good news is that smaller companies have much more flexibility to give young people opportunities above their pay grade – really challenging interesting work that they’d never get in bigger organisations. But, you have to be socially skilled to know how to deal with them.

“If you’re not good at people management, you should hire people who are. But if you want to learn it yourself, there’s tons of providers who provide resilience training, emotional intelligence training, basic social skills.”

The Business Growth Hub has a wealth of fully-funded services available to manufacturers, including specialist Leadership and Mentoring support and People, Skills and Talent advice.

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Source:

https://www.themanufacturer.com/articles/does-bad-management-lie-behind-the-uk-productivity-puzzle/

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