Solve the Recession... in One Simple Measure

17/05/2012 17:32 BST | Updated 17/07/2012 10:12 BST

In the world of business, numbers speak louder than words.

Here are some figures that you may want to pay attention to:

- 71% of British blue chip organisations measure the skills and capabilities of their staff using a "competency framework".

- 39% of them see no benefit in doing so - and have seen no positive impact on their business.

- 11% have seen a very small positive impact.

What does this actually mean for British industry? In simple terms, let me explain...

50% of blue chip organisations are wasting millions of pounds, thousands of days of valuable time, plus many headaches - on a process which achieves nothing. No change of behaviour. No impact on revenue growth...

It simply adds a cost to the bottom line.

And yet, in these supposedly austere times, the process continues.

The minimum time it will take for a manger to be informed of the process and then assess and feedback to their team of ten staff? Five days. Meanwhile, for the employee, it will take half a day of their time to self-assess and receive feedback.

If I approached a CFO of a FTSE 500 company and said: "Hello, I would like to take out all of the managers in your company for five days - plus all their non-managerial staff for half a day - and achieve absolutely nothing. Plus, I would also like to charge you to create this system and administer those days; that will be a total minimum of £1/2m", what do you think they would say?

What would be the overall cost to the company and the opportunity cost of their time?

We are living in a time of financial turbulence and severe cost-control. Yet, it seems no one is paying attention to a process that is being used across every blue chip organisation. Something that is not working. These examples are all related the use of subjective competency frameworks.

Subjectivity is a dangerous thing. A manager will have their likes or dislikes of people in their team. If you are asked to assess the capability of someone you don't like, how hard will you be on them? Conversely, if you are asked to assess someone you really like and go drinking with often, how generous or forgiving will you be?

If one manager has very high standards, is hard-nosed, ethical and has high expectations of everyone and everything... then they will score someone very differently from another manager who is lazy, lackadaisical, easy-going and can't really be bothered.

If you want to score capability, then an objective competency framework needs to be utilised. Only 8% of organisations believe they are using an objective framework that results in a positive impact on behaviour change.

Someone needs to address this burden on the UK economy and bring an end to this wastage of time and money. That is exactly what we are trying to preach at Silent Edge - we know that objectivity over subjectivity could single-handedly lift the UK economy out of this 'double dip'. Thankfully, companies are slowly, very slowly, beginning to hear the statistics that are screaming out.

Words count for little in business. It is time to do the sums.