Productivity Expectations Rise the Most for Nation's Largest Companies

The latest Productivity Confidence Index (PCI) results are now available. Overall, the PCI rose in the third quarter of 2009, from 20.3 to 22.1, indicating increasingly optimistic expectations for productivity in the coming months. The larger the company, the more expectations improved; organizations with 10,000 or more employees saw the largest growth in workforce productivity expectations, increasing from 18.0 to 30.9.

Overall, 62.0% of respondents expect productivity to rise in the coming six months, compared to only 53% in last quarter's PCI. The increase in productivity expectations aligns with the Bureau of Labor Statistics Second Quarter report on Productivity and Costs, which revealed a 6.3% productivity increase in the business sector, the largest since 2003.

i4cp's PCI is based on the degree to which companies believe employee productivity will rise, fall, or stay the same over the next six months. The scale runs from -100, which indicates that a company expects productivity to decrease to a very significant extent in the next six months, to 100, which indicates that a company expects productivity to increase to a very significant extent in the next six months.

In addition to measuring workforce productivity expectations by organization size, the PCI is segmented by job level and market performance. High-performing organizations had a score of 40.9, up from 37.7 last quarter. Low-performing organizations' expectations increased from -7.7 to 0.9. The news wasn't all positive, though. Executive-level expectations dropped slightly, from 30.6 to 29.7, although expectations of supervisors, managers and directors increased from 16.6 to 18.6.

"The notable increase among non-executive managers relates to improvements in work processes and quality efforts. Those were the two most common factors attributed to a rise in productivity, with strong leadership being another significant element," explains Mark Vickers, i4cp's VP of research. "Interestingly, among high-performing organizations, better leadership was the number-one reason productivity was expected to rise, tied with a redesign of work processes."

The next PCI results will be released in the beginning of the fourth quarter. For more information on the Productivity Confidence Index and/or charts, go to