Saturday, 27 August 2016

Incentives

Japan is offering employment subsidies to organisations that improve their productivity.  So 'winning' companies get a double boost.

Is this a sensible role for government - to reward the successful?

One reason for their action is to prevent companies from using job cuts to fuel growth.

What does matter is that the aims of any government intervention are clear - and seen to be fair.
And, as a general rule, government should not 'shore up' the unsuccessful and uncompetitive.

so, perhaps this is a valuable experiment.  Certainly i will be interested to see the results.

Japan currently ranks 22nd out of 34 OECD countries for its productivity.  Perhaps this initiative can move it up the list.



Saturday, 20 August 2016

Does buisness dress matter?

More firms are allowing workers to come to the office in less formal attire.  does this have an impact on productivity?

There is little research on the issue.  The arguments seem to boil down to:

allowing people to dress casually makes them more comfortable, more relaxed and more content - and this has a positive effect on their performance.

encouraging people to dress formally means they wear a 'business uniform' which puts them in the right frame of mind - and this has a positive effect on their performance.

Perhaps we should just offer people the right to choose.... within certain limits of course.

it seems to be an irreversible trend, anyway - perhaps we are better just accepting the fact - until and unless we get some evidence to make us think again.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Vicious circle

Nations are (quite rightly) urged to improve educational standards and attainments to help boost national productivity.  An educated - and skilled - workforce is a key underpinning of higher productivity.

This is actually a vicious circle (or cycle).  Low education standards results in lower productivity - and lower productivity results in less money to invest in education. And the cycle continues.

Nations have to find some way to break out of the cycle. And wealthier countries who provide aid to developing countries should focus a great deal of their efforts on education and skills.

Its the 'teach a man to fish' paradigm.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Don't get too friendly

We know that teams that share values tend to knit together better.  A culture in which people 'get on' and work for each other is considered to be productive.

Yet, tension can provide creative sparks; competition raises effort; oysters need an irritant to produce pearls.

So, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Allow team members a degree of freedom in which to be 'sparky, create and encourage (friendly) competition and rivalry.

You will end up with a more creative workforce. 

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Transferring knowledge

Some countries are much more productive than others.

One would assume that this gives the less productive countries lots of scope to learn what works and what doesn't - and boost their own productivity ... but this doesn't seem to be the case.

This suggests that either those countries are not trying to learn the lessons ... or that the lessons and good practice are not easily transferrable from one country to another.

I find either of those difficult to accept.

(This is one reason that I regularly help organise the World Productivity Congress - the next one is in Bahrain in November, see www.wpc-bh.com.)  

Of course different climates, traditions, cultures and so on make a difference - but there are enough similarities between the ways in which the leading nations organise themselves to suggest there are generic lessons to be learned.

Perhaps politicians are the wrong people to learn them!


Saturday, 23 July 2016

Trumped

As I write this, Donald Trump has just accepted the nomination as Republican candidate for the US presidency.
Now Trump is certainly a controversial figure and I am not going to give my  view on his suitability to be president - if for no other reason that, here from the U K, making any judgement is difficult
I am though interested in whether he will have any effect on US productivity - positive or negative.
He seems to appeal to a disaffected and disillusioned working class.
If they feel they are are at last being listened to, will they respond with greater engagement, greater enthusiasm for their work roles - ands greater productivity. Or will they soon find they have been sold a false promise and be 'turned off''.
Of course all of this assumes he is elected - and that is far from certain.
i will be watching with interest - as will most of the world!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Friday Freedom

Many people are not at their most productive on Friday afternoons. They procrastinate, prolong and prevaricate - picking issues up on Monday when they are (hopefully) refreshed and revitalised.

So, why not use this fact to your advantage.

Give your staff Friday freedom. Not the freedom to take time off - but the freedom to be non-productive: the freedom to 'play', explore, investigate. 

Get them to investigate:
  • What is happening to the market, to technology, to competitors, to suppliers, to society or subsets of it? 
  • How can your company exploit any of these changes?
They will learn stuff to your advantage - and to theirs.  They will become better informed, better skilled employees - and almost certainly more engaged, more loyal, more satisfied employees.

You might lose a little in the short term but gain a lot in the longer term.

Of course this doesn't work for all types of employee/role so you have to choose who you give such freedom to.  And to be 'fair' (ands be seen to be fair), you may have to select other freedoms to give to other employees.

But freedom is a valuable commodity - use it to create value for your organisation.