Causes include Distraction Deluge, Process Paralysis and Complacency Complex
Toronto, November 22, 2016 - Nearly one out of every two workers in Canada is less productive than they could be, and they admit it. This was the key finding of the latest ADP Canada Sentiment Survey, which reveals that 49 per cent of Canadians say they could be doing more on the job.
“We’ve identified several key causes of Canada’s workplace productivity deficit, and employers should take note,” says Russell Wong, Chief Financial Officer at ADP Canada. “While the problem and its various causes are widespread, the good news is a combination of productivity improvements, tools and increased employee engagement can help.”
Among the 49% of Canadian workers who say they are only somewhat productive, not very productive or not at all productive (collectively, “less productive Canadian workers”), the leading causes they cite are:
Distraction is the leading cause of workplace productivity deficit, cited by a broad and diverse cross-section of 43% of less productive Canadian workers. The data reveals a significant gap between those aged 18-25 and those aged 55-64 (49% vs. 36%). Regionally, Ontarians are the most distracted group among less productive workers (53% vs. the national average of 43%).
“Distraction can be rooted in a wide variety of causes, from poor office design to overly ambitious multi-tasking to the pervasive presence of social media,” says Wong. “Every situation is different, but employers should look first at the things they can control, such as noisy or crowded workspaces and then at what their employees can control. Helping employees manage distractions comes down to a combination of workload management and helping them find tools that can minimize distractions,” Wong added.
Among less productive Canadian workers, 35% complain of Process Paralysis, which includes barriers such as cumbersome workflows, bureaucratic red tape and organizational bottlenecks. Interestingly, this problem is cited almost equally by Canadians of every working age, region, gender and level of education.
“This is an area where tools that automate repetitive tasks can be a game changer,” says Wong. “Given the widespread impact of this productivity drain, streamlining processes and actively working to remove productivity barriers should be a focus for employers.”
More than one quarter of less productive employees (27%) simply say they don’t need to work
more efficiently to get the job done, a sure sign of Complacency Complex, according to Wong.
While virtually equal percentages of employees of all ages admit to Complacency Complex, the
data shows that females are slightly more inclined than males to cite this (30% vs. 25%).
“While in some cases complacency can be the fault of the employee, more often it comes down
to issues like a lack of training, resources or low levels of employee engagement, and these are
unquestionably management problems,” says Wong. “Most workers are capable of, and want to
add more value to their organization, but sometimes they’re simply not given the tools,
opportunities or context to discuss and advance these aspirations.”
Other leading causes of workplace efficiency deficit cited by less productive Canadian workers
include boredom and a lack of resources or tools (both mentioned by 20%), as well as
overwhelming workload (15%) and shortcomings in training (10%).
According to a 2016 study by the ADP Research Institute titled The Evolution of Work, within the
next three years, employees globally expect more technological tools will be used to monitor
and adjust their performance levels. Interestingly, the study shows that many employees
welcome the onset of these tools to help them better manage their time and output in the
workplace. The international survey also revealed that Canadian workers are more likely than
workers in most other countries to crave work that is personally meaningful, has a positive
impact on society and benefits people’s well-being.
Employee engagement takes dedicated resources and a strategy with clear, metrics-based
goals that reflect the needs of employees and managers. For this reason, employers are
increasingly automating or outsourcing routine tasks such as payroll and time and attendance
tracking with services such as those offered by ADP Canada, so they have the time to focus on
people, and the data to do so strategically.
A survey of 1565 Canadians was completed online between October 3rd and October 6th 2016
using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a
margin of error of +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.
About ADP Canada
ADP Canada gives organizations of every size the tools to help their people thrive. From basic
payroll to complex people management systems and analytics, we help business leaders make
better decisions. Our clients trust ADP to provide strategic insights and on-demand expertise to
build and inspire the workforce they need. Visit us at adp.ca or follow us on Twitter @ADP_CDA.
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rely on ADP's cloud software and expert insights to help unlock the potential of their people. HR.
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information, visit ADP.com.
For more information or to arrange an interview with an ADP spokesperson about the survey: