What happened to productivity?
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.