Productivity and Human Resources

Productivity and Human Resources - People Development Network
Productivity and Human Resources - People Development Network

The role of productivity is important

The successful economic performance of an enterprise is a prerequisite for the growth and security of its employees. The role of productivity, therefore, assumes great importance.

Improving productivity has always been a live issue for management. As the profitability of an organization mostly depends on improvement in productivity.  Therefore, managers are always striving to find ways for achieving the target of improved productivity.

Productivity is usually defined mechanically, as the ratio between input and the output. But, it is, in fact, an organizational challenge encompassing the human, cultural, technological and moral aspects. It is an all-out effort in every sphere of activity of the organization.  An effort towards achieving the target of the most efficient management of all the available resources.

Man dominates the show

“Money”, ‘Machine”, “Material” and “Method” all have their share of importance for increasing productivity but, it is “Man” i.e. the human resource which dominates the show. No amount of money, technological ingenuity or work innovation will do the trick. Unless the most vital resource, i.e. the human resource is ready to rise to the occasion there is no chance of meeting this challenge. Undue emphasis on engineering aspects may affect the esprit de corps and culture of the Organization. Thus the human resource of the organization should form the focal point for any movement towards increasing productivity.

Productivity is an attitude, it cannot be transplanted into the body of the organization. It could only be cultivated by a systematic process involving much initial spade work in the form of a sound organization structure, maintenance of equilibrium vis-à-vis various activities within the organization as well as clear-cut organizational goals.

Management credibility

The philosophy and the Basic principles underlying the spirit of the organization play an important role in the quest for improved productivity. High degree of morality, integrity, fair play and justice finding manifestation, in its practices, could go a long way in preparing the right kind of soil for nurturing productivity. Any discrepancy between what you say and what you do will erode the management’s credibility.

Right, Leadership can inspire employees towards peak performance. We are passing through a time of change. Autocracy is giving way to democracy. There is a growing hatred for any form of force or authority. Managers cannot remain oblivious to the happenings around them. They must change their style to suit the realities of the time. It is time leadership through example and excellence replaces the leadership through status and authority.

High-performance standards

Management must set very high-performance standards for its own work if it warns its workforce to follow suit.  Inefficiencies in the form of ill planning, inadequate safety arrangements, worn out equipment, irregular supply of raw material, inability to take a decision at the right time result in the management becoming a target of ridicule and affect the morale of employees.  The top team should make sure smooth and hazard-free operations if it wants to prove its credentials before the employees.

Once the management is able to convince its workforce about its own integrity, credibility, and efficiency the next step is for the managers to inspire, guide and improve the quality of their work. The foremost step in this connection would be the very concept of work. Work should not remain only as a mode of earning a livelihood, but a source of self- satisfaction and self-realization. Thus, careful job- design and placement taking into account worker’s ability, skills, mental orientation, and versatility is of paramount importance. It is necessary to follow the principle of the right person in the right job at the right time. Workers should also have complete knowledge of the job they are doing not only in the sense of its immediate implications but its wholesome effect and contribution towards the company’s objectives.

Productivity relates to planning

Productivity is often confused merely with more work by the workforce. However, it relates more to better planning than the squeezing of the workforce to the last limit. It represents an improvement in the working qualities of employees by innovations in planning and organizing the available resources. Improving performance is more a result of intelligent planning and effective implementation than the extra sweating of the workers. The efficiency of the workers cannot be increased by overburdening them with work, but by reorganizing their work in such a way that they are able to apply their skills in the most effective manner.

The first step, maintenance (retaining employees as opposed to turning over) relates to work conditions, intersex relationship vertical as well as horizontal and supervision. Good working conditions, a good relationship between superiors and the subordinates and among employees, may not in itself give motivation, but their absence certainly has an adverse effect on the efforts towards the motivation of employees.

Satisfaction is key

The second step in motivation is about satisfaction. An uninterested or disgruntled employee can never give his best. He will remain submerged in his own worries and problems. Such an employee has a very demoralizing effect on the rest of the workforce. If, the problems affecting his performance are job-related, then resort to job redesigning, replacement, job enrichment or even job rotation will be helpful. In the case of emotional and psychological problems, the medium of counselling provides the best solution.

The third step is the analysis of the situation for motivation. The motivational needs of an employee cover the range of physical and financial well-being, companionship, love and affection, self-respect, self-accomplishment, autonomy, and prospects. However, motivational patterns of employees do not stay constant. They keep on changing and it becomes necessary to keep track and to stay abreast of the latest situation for effective motivation. It varies with time, environment and people. However, there is a general recognition that security and accomplishment have a salutary effect on the employees resulting in their motivation towards improved performance.

Delegating responsibility

The most important act on management’s part in this connection is to delegate responsibility to the workers. This meant handing over their work along with the required information for controlling the same. This would create a true feeling of belonging and participation.  It would manifest that the workers are responsible members with a special place of value and not merely technical factors. The realization, that one knows the real situation, that one is important and could take initiative and decisions without fear.  This creates a feeling of security and elation and builds up the morale of the workers. Workers, if convinced that their efforts would lead to desirable objectives will respond enthusiastically to genuine opportunities to create and give their best.

The management should instil a spirit of dynamic search for growth in its workforce and give them the opportunities for fully using their talents and skills. Mediocrity or stagnation in work standards may destroy the available talent and skills. It is, therefore, imperative to set high albeit achievable standards of performance to realize the energies of the workers.

Management must pursue the objective of higher productivity not merely for its own benefit,  It should see it as a source of continuous improvement in the lives of employees. Matching the needs of the workforce to the achievement of organizational objectives is key.  This provides the right kind of impetus for peak performance. The employees began to attach themselves to the successes of the organization. It is, therefore necessary that company’s prosperity is reflected in the living standards of its employees.

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Tasneem Hameed
Human Resource Professional with three decades of experience, having worked in multinational companies of repute with distinction in senior positions. A certified expert author, poet, freelance consultant and owner of three blogs. An internationalist and a peace activist. A strong believer of a NEW EQUAL WORLD based on the principles of equality, equity and empathy.
Tasneem Hameed
- 1 year ago
Tasneem Hameed
Tasneem Hameed