Ernst & Young Singapore

New survey indicates that cumbersome work processes and systems hinders productivity in Singapore

Press Release   •   Nov 22, 2011 09:32 +08

  • Technology and innovation to improve workplace productivity
  • Singapore workers most driven by work-life balance

A new survey by Ernst & Young released today reveals that cumbersome work processes and systems, low quality work, and the poor utilization of capacity are the key hindrances to productivity in Singapore.

The snapshot pilot study of 110 Singapore workers from public and private sectors, conducted earlier this month, serves to gain an oversight of the current state of productivity in Singapore and understand the possible improvements available to increase productivity.

According to the survey, 70% of the respondents believed that improving or simplifying work processes and systems at their workplace would result in greater productivity. Sixty-seven percent of the respondents said that increasing the quality of work in their organization would lead to an increase in productivity. At the same time, 48% of the respondents said that improving the use of capacity or resources in their organization would improve quality.

Mrs. Mildred Tan, Managing Director of Ernst & Young Advisory Pte. Ltd., said: “Often times, workers are bogged down by administrative processes at the workplace. These workers end up spending more time doing these low-value jobs than the actual quality work they are supposed to deliver. As the board room looks at enhancing productivity, they should also consider reviewing their internal systems and reduce unnecessary administrative processes that add little value to the organization’s productivity and performance.”

Technology and innovation to improve productivity in the workplace
Recognizing the issue of cumbersome work processes and systems, a majority of the respondents (79%) indicate that the integration of systems and applications is the most important technology area that they need to improve to enhance productivity in their organizations. Other technology improvement areas highlighted by the respondents include: computer software and applications (73%), and information usage and applications (69%).

Additionally, the survey respondents indicate that they believe that innovation can help to improve productivity. Seventy-seven percent of the respondents indicate that innovation supports their corporate strategy. As well, 70% of the respondents agree that they are given the opportunity to propose new ideas for workplace improvement.

Mrs. Mildred Tan says: “A culture of innovation in the workplace where new ideas are celebrated and rewarded is not only helpful towards enhancing productivity, but also increasing competitiveness in the organization.”

Singapore workers most driven by work-life balance
The survey also examines the key drivers that motivate Singapore workers. More than half (59%) of the respondents said that their key motivation at the workplace is work-life balance. Following closely are manager and team dynamics (55%), compensation (52%), and career development and development opportunities (51%).

Mrs. Mildred Tan says: “It is not surprising that work-life balance has the highest motivational factor for Singapore workers. In a highly competitive economy like Singapore, our workers are expected to work hard and deliver consistently. Thus, a balanced life between personal space and work is a much sought-after quality.”

“Also, the fact that compensation scores as a third-most important key driver underlines the fact that monetary rewards are not the silver bullet in lifting productivity. As such, managers need to look into other factors, such as innovation, to enhance productivity in the workplace,” adds Mrs. Mildred Tan.

Six strategies to igniting innovation in the workplace
As Singapore companies look to improve productivity by igniting innovation in the workplace, they should examine the following six strategies:

  1. Set up a formal structure for intrapreneurship.
    Give people enough time away from their “day jobs” to work on creative ideas, but establish parameters and processes to make sure such time is productive and that the ideas develop and take root.
  2. Ask for ideas from your employees.
    Encourage everyone from all ranks and functions to contribute to the innovation dialogue, as they have their fingers on the pulse of the marketplace.
  3. Assemble and unleash a diverse workforce.
    Leverage diverse viewpoints for better ideas and products that meet the needs of varying customer demographics.
  4. Design a career path for your intrapreneurs.
    Look for non-traditional ways to advance their careers, as they tend to be non-conformists who dislike conventional jobs.
  5. Explore government incentives for innovation.
    Ask how incentives, such as the Productivity and Innovation Credits scheme offered by the Singapore government, can support your intrapreneurial ventures.
  6. Prepare for the pitfalls of intrapreneurship.
    Be prepared to deal with failed ventures, internal conflicts and financial risks, as backing bold ideas can backfire.

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This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young Solutions LLP.