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Businesses failing to tap into workers’ skills

Firms are not making full use of the skills and talents of their workforces, a new study has claimed.

The research, which was carried out by employment consultancy, the Work Foundation, revealed that too many businesses are under-utilising the potential of their employees because they tie them up in rules and procedures and give them little say over how they do their work.

According to the survey of more than 2,000 workers, 40 per cent of employees have more skills than their jobs require.

Some 65 per cent of staff claimed that the organisations for which they work are ‘rule and policy bound’, although just five per cent said they preferred it that way.

Four out of ten employees reported they had little or no flexibility over the hours they worked, while one in five graduates are in ‘low knowledge content’ jobs.

Ian Brinkley, co-author of the report and associate director at The Work Foundation, commented: “So far in this recession employers have been reluctant to lose the skills, talents and experience of their workforces. Yet at the same time they seem to be failing to make the most of them. Many people could be doing more, but are denied the chance to do so.”

Mr Brinkley added that, to keep job losses to a minimum, employers should give people more responsibility, move away from rules and procedure-based workplace cultures, and use new technologies to offer staff more flexibility over hours.

He said: “More autonomy for people and less intensive management should be the order of the day – in other words greater use of the principles of good work. Trapping so many workers in roles in which their skills and abilities are poorly matched with their jobs is a waste both of economic potential and human possibility.”