What hap­pened to pro­duc­tiv­ity?

Finweek English Edition - - ADVERTISING&MARKETING -

IS WORK­FORCE pro­duc­tiv­ity still re­quired or do we now have pro­duc­tiv­ity as a way of life in our quest for ‘zero de­fect’? Do we still need to mo­ti­vate our work­force us­ing a work­place time man­age­ment sys­tem?

‘Hu­man cap­i­tal pro­duc­tiv­ity’ takes dif­fer­ent guises and can be mea­sured as units of out­put over the units of in­put. It re­tains a dis­tinct char­ac­ter, dif­fer­ent from fi­nan­cial pro­duc­tiv­ity which de­ter­mines eco­nomic growth and is clear and to the point.

En­forced time man­age­ment sim­ply does not equal hu­man cap­i­tal pro­duc­tiv­ity. Re­search us­ing per­son­al­ity types (such as those de­ter­mined by the Bel­bin® in­di­ca­tor or MBTI™) has shown that peo­ple re­act dif­fer­ently to su­per­vi­sion or be­ing mon­i­tored. Re­sponses range from those who per­form best when con­stantly man­aged or mon­i­tored, to those want­ing to­tal in­de­pen­dence in ex­e­cut­ing tasks with a myr­iad of vari­a­tions in be­tween. In­de­pen­dent per­son­al­i­ties may pre­fer to be given a task, in­formed of the lim­i­ta­tions, and left to de­liver. Mi­cro-man­ag­ing these peo­ple may slow the in­di­vid­ual down and neg­a­tively im­pact on pro­duc­tiv­ity. Re­sponses also var­ied de­pend­ing on the type of task al­lo­cated and the en­vi­ron­ment. For ex­am­ple, an in­se­cure en­vi­ron­ment may re­sult in the need for more man­age­ment (as guid­ance).

It is my view that pro­duc­tiv­ity was side­lined and be­came lost in the myr­iad of con­trol­ling mech­a­nisms thought out by or­gan­i­sa­tions and im­posed on their staff and re­sources un­der the banner of im­proved man­age­ment. Iron­i­cally, in some cases the very mech­a­nisms de­signed to im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity have re­duced it. Can we hon­estly say that en­forced time-man­aged work­force has re­sulted in im­proved pro­duc­tiv­ity?

Clearly ef­fec­tive time man­age­ment per se should never be negated and many projects con­tinue to rely on this as­pect. But should we not, as ef­fec­tive man­agers, be­come ad­vo­cates for mak­ing the time avail­able more pro­duc­tive by mea­sur­ing out­put in­stead of in­put? Per­haps it is time for an in-depth anal­y­sis de­signed to de­ter­mine each or­gan­i­sa­tion’s needs and through these to ad­dress stag­nant or wan­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity.

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