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Jan 17 2008 News Links

Markets News Afternoon: US and European stocks slide; Dublin market rises

Annual Irish Consumer Inflation falls to 4.7% in December 2007

Euribor 3-Month Inter-Bank Rate falls to the lowest level since the onset of the Credit Crunch in August 2007

European Central Bank warns again that it may raise interest rates

Slashing Energy Waste in China - Energy efficiency would do 'the most, the quickest,' to reduce CO2 emissions - World Bank

Study links corporate performance to employee enablement - Economist Intelligence Unit

Markets News Thursday: Asia-Pacific and European stocks rise

Thursday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories

Big drugs companies raided by European competition regulators

Study links corporate performance to employee enablement - Economist Intelligence Unit

Tools, resources and autonomy all important factors in lifting worker effectiveness

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett answering questions from business students at the University of Nebraska

Companies seeking to improve their performance should focus more attention on their employees, giving them the tools, resources and autonomy they need to do their jobs well, suggests a new study by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Microsoft. sponsored by Microsoft.

The research defines enablement as giving employees what they need to do their jobs well: organisational structures, appropriate technologies and other resources that let employees make decisions that contribute to the firm’s profitable growth. Enablement provides the organisational and information conditions that allow staff to make optimal decisions. These include the following autonomy sufficient to make the best decisions for the company; tools to do the best possible job; access to financial resources that may be needed to buy these tools and allow for enough people to handle the workload; a collaborative working environment that motivates people and reduces the cost of working together; performance incentives, both financial and non-financial; and clarity of policies and procedures.

“The study clearly shows a positive correlation between employees’ degree of enablement and its self-reported financial performance,” says Nigel Holloway, Director of Research at the Economist Intelligence Unit in North America. “That positive correlation exists across dozens of variables including profitability, revenue growth, tangible assets and strategic success.”

A statistical analysis shows this positive association. Firms that responded to the survey fell into one of four distinct groups, each exhibiting distinctive behaviour with respect to enablement. The group with the highest level of enablement also contained the highest proportion of companies that were more profitable than their competitors.

Overall, the research found that many employees already feel adequately enabled. Sixty-three percent of survey respondents indicated they have a high degree of autonomy, while more than one-quarter (25.2%) say they collaborate frequently with others.

Yet the findings also suggest that employees could be much more enabled than they are. On the technology front, only about one-half of companies surveyed (53%) indicated they have the IT tools they need, while roughly the same proportion said they have access to the information they need. One-third said they have the teamwork structures necessary for enablement, while only 17% feel that their organisations have enough employees with the necessary skills and training to work independently. Just 10% feel there is enough money in the budget to enable individuals and teams to accomplish their tasks.

The research also suggests that if firms want employees to be more effective, they should allow them to take prudent risks within parameters that limit potential losses. Encouragingly, nearly two-thirds of survey respondents (64%) say that their organisations tolerate reasonable risk-taking. Yet a full 20% say their firms discourage it and only 13% say their companies actively support it.

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