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Declining Global Productivity Growth: The Solution

Declining Global Productivity Growth: The Solution

Global productivity growth is in decline.

GDP per capita -- or productivity -- is a key metric in global economics. It is the starting point for measuring almost everything having to do with economic growth and human development.

When the world's productivity is in decline, so is the availability of good jobs with a living wage. Poor productivity stunts societal and economic growth.

My conclusion from Gallup's State of the Global Workplace report is that global productivity can be fixed. Executives and a wide variety of team leaders at many different levels could change the world's productivity quickly.

Gallup analytics find that "There is someone at work who encourages my development" is one of the best survey questions that separates enthusiastic, high-performing workers from low-performing, miserable ones.


  1. Move the whole world to a workplace strategy of "high development." The single-best activity for any team leader to deliver is not employee satisfaction, but rather employee development.

  2. Make every workplace in the world strengths-based. The current practice of management -- which attempts to turn weaknesses into strengths -- doesn't work. Moving to strengths-based workplaces will change global productivity and growth overnight.

  3. Move the world's workplace mission from paycheck to purpose. Of course, all employees need fair pay, but they are now driven more than ever by mission and purpose and require a workplace culture that delivers it.

  4. Move the whole world to one workplace metric. Use the Gallup Q12 as you would Net Promoter Score -- but for employees. The Gallup Q12 has more tested and validated survey items with more analytics, breakthroughs and discoveries than any other employee engagement measurement system in the world. These are the right benchmarks for any organization. And it serves all of us when we use the same metrics and language.

According to this report, worldwide employee engagement is only 15%. What if we doubled that? What if we tripled it? Imagine how quickly that would fix global GDP, productivity and hence, human development.


Jim Clifton is Chairman of Gallup.

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