As a recognised independent voice, the Forum has made the following commitments to and requests of UK Government.
Mutual access: To encourage leaders of sector firms and clients to join the Productivity Exchange to share ideas with each other, Government, professional bodies and business schools, and to respond to Government consultations
Collaboration: To encourage frontline advisers and leadership teams to work together to deliver technical know-how and leadership, management & training expertise to clients
Shared expertise: To bring together leaders from sector firms and clients at local meetings in up to 60 cities across the UK to share tips on leadership style, management excellence, training techniques and ways to increase employee engagement
Innovation: To help sector firms and their clients adopt AI & ML through free-to-join AI consortia and an ESRC-funded NextGen PSF project, in partnership with four business schools
Governance: To seek a ‘healthy’ balance between supply and demand for firmwide leaders and other advisers as independent NEDs at corporates and other organisations as this should result in better Board decisions and a boost to UK productivity.
Reciprocity: To ensure that issues raised on the Productivity Exchange are routed to the correct Government department and suitable responses generated on a timely basis.
Attitudes: To adjust the R&D tax credits scheme to include investment in tools that measure or enhance employee engagement. This should help change attitudes towards the importance of employee engagement as a driver of productivity.
Awareness: To provide financial and ONS support for a rigorous independent economic study and thought leadership campaign to set the record straight over the vital contribution of professional services to the UK economy, productivity, exports, local communities and public life. This project is likely to involve:
Reaching broad agreement on a relevant and clear definition of the sector that can be promoted consistently by all parties;
Once sector boundaries have been determined, combining data and research from a wide range of public and private sources to form a robust dataset of sector revenues, growth, employee engagement, value added and headcount;
Confirming the direction and continuing importance of the sector and calculating its value multiplier through robust econometric modelling and active engagement with clients.
Andy Haldane, Chief Economist of the Bank of England and Chair of the Industrial Strategy Council, has described the Forum's initiatives as “very important”.
The Productivity Problem
“Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it’s almost everything,” according to Paul Krugman, Nobel Laureate in Economics. “A country’s ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise its output per worker.”
UK prosperity is estimated to be 17% below trend due to the past decade of zero productivity growth. This has ongoing political, social and economic consequences.
The Engagement Solution
Research confirms a strong empirical two-way causal relationship between productivity and employee engagement.
Professional services is the UK’s largest sector, world-class, productive and incredibly successful. This is due partly to technical know-how and partly to leadership, management & training expertise.
Professional services firms have an extensive regional footprint, client-adviser relationships with organisations of every size in every sector of the UK economy, and enjoy high levels of employee engagement.
However, few leadership teams of sector firms are currently sharing tips with their peers at clients over ways to boost client employee engagement, and thereby UK productivity.