Nearly 29% of Employees Considered Unproductive, Survey Found

Nearly 29 percent percent of company time in America is unproductive, according to the results of a new study by management consulting firm, Proudfoot Consulting. The estimated cost of poor productivity in the U.S. is $598 billion and U.S. companies “lose” the equivalent of 33.5 days per worker, per year, the productivity study found.

Barriers to productivity identified by U.S. executives ironically point to management issues, said Luiz Carvalho, chief executive officer of Proudfoot Consulting.

“There appears to be a lack of alignment within executive and managerial ranks, where strategy is not rolled down into actionable steps,” stated Carvalho. “Because of this disconnect, more than a quarter of the workforce’s time in America is still unproductive, costing the U.S. economy billions of dollars.”

Proudfoot Consulting’s 2006 Productivity Report surveyed top U.S. executives asking them to rank issues related to management as key barriers to productivity in their organizations.

An overwhelming 50 percent of U.S. executives, significantly more than the global average of executives surveyed, said the number one barrier to productivity was inefficient management planning of work and organization structure. Forty-three percent of U.S. executives surveyed also ranked poor leadership in terms of management demonstrating and leading change as the second greatest barrier to productivity. Yet, more than one quarter of executives surveyed have no targets established for improving productivity in 2006.

The Productivity Report reveals the most commonly observed factors that prevent companies from operating more efficiently, as well as revealing executives’ views on performance barriers, workforce efficiency from the previous year and their expectations for productivity growth in the current year.

The productivity and workforce efficiency survey was conducted for Proudfoot by The Conference Board’s Management Excellence Program. More than 800 executives in 19 countries responded. In addition, The Conference Board analyzed data from 1900 business reviews undertaken by Proudfoot Consulting in 30 countries. These data were collected from more than 13,000 hours of observation of managers and workers at all levels.

In addition to the survey, an independent analysis of three years of proprietary data was collected by Proudfoot Consulting during internal reviews of operational performance of companies around the world. Although Proudfoot has published its annual Productivity Study since 2001, this is the first time that three consecutive years of statistics have been analyzed.

A PDF copy of the full 2006 Proudfoot Productivity Report is available on request or can be downloaded directly by visiting

Source: Proudfoot Consulting