SINGAPORE companies are relying on their existing staff to improve productivity, rather than investing in technology, infrastructure or motivating staff with greater pay.

A survey conducted by recruitment firm Robert Half found that 49 per cent of chief financial officers (CFOs) and financial directors here attribute the highest increase in productivity to staff doing more with existing resources.

This was followed by technology improvements (44 per cent) and hiring of additional permanent (38 per cent) and temporary (30 per cent) headcount.

The survey also found that only 16 per cent of the 150 respondents in Singapore were of the opinion that offering overtime pay and benefits increased the company's productivity.

In contrast, a third of the CFOs surveyed in Hong Kong believed that benefits and overtime pay contributed to productivity.

Stella Tang, director of Robert Half Singapore, said: "As it becomes challenging for Singapore employers to hire good staff to improve productivity, many are getting existing employees to do more.

"However, if you overwork your employees too much, they may leave and take up a position with a more staff-friendly firm, or look to move overseas," she cautioned .

The global survey was conducted across 15 countries with over 2,000 CFOs and financial directors.

According to Ms Tang, "one thing employers need to be mindful of is the importance of motivation when it comes to getting employees to be more productive".

"The push for employees to do more with the same resources works well when employees are motivated by regular, honest and open communication; rewards and recognition; and being able to access flexible working arrangements," Ms Tang added.