Sunday, 31 January 2010

Linking performance to pay in Sri Lanka

The Employers Federation of Ceylon (Sri Lanka)(EFC), with International Labour Organisation (ILO) assistance, has conducted a study of the SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) sector to identify training needs for SMEs.

Business planning and productivity enhancement were identified as the key priority areas which needed attention with regard to these enterprises according to the EFC. As a follow up to the findings of the study, the EFC will identify SMEs that need training in these areas and will provide a training package for them. This is to be done with the assistance of some of the larger enterprises within the EFC membership.

The EFC believes that through this training package these SMEs would obtain the required assistance in making their businesses more vibrant and sustainable. The EFC has identified employment generation and productivity improvement as two main areas of activity to promote the Decent Work Country Programme in Sri Lanka.

Enhancing productivity has been one of the key policy directions that has been identified in the Ten Year Horizon Development Framework under labour policies. The EFC says that it has taken positive steps in this direction through productivity linked payments.

The EFC is happy to record that during the calendar year 2009, out of 41 collective agreements that were signed between employers and trade unions, 13 agreements include productivity/performance based incentive payments.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Film highlights need for new forms of humantiarian aid

The devastating impact of global warming on communities worldwide is the subject of a powerful Sundance documentary aiming to put a human face on climate change.

Michael Nash's film - Climate Refugees - is a compelling look at the millions of humans displaced by disasters arising from incremental and rapid ecological changes to the environment and more frequent extreme weather events such as hurricanes, cyclones, fires and tornadoes.

Nash said the millions affected by climate change suffered because there was no international law that gave protection to environmental or climate refugees.

"We need to create another organization through the United Nations, or a completely separate organization that is going to take care of the humanitarian aspects of our changing climate," he said.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

More than one way to ...

Most developed nations - and many less-developed nations - have been through a similar economic crisis over the last couple of years. Yet, there have been several approaches to dealing with this crisis, reflecting the fact that there are several views on how to deal with any specific problem - depending on particular history, culture, state of economic development, politics, etc.

If one looks at results it suggests that the US is handling the situation rather better than most European nations - with growth approaching 3% during 2009.

Of course 'success' in the short term does not necessarily signal success in the longer term. It will be interesting to look back in 2015 or so and see whether real lessons can be learnt about how best to tackle such a situation.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Call to change US focus

The sole focus on profit maximization, which leads to offshoring and holds down wages, does not serve the nation. This must change. And it must change before the damage to our economic ability is irreversible.

This is a quote from a blog in the Huffington Post by Ralph Gomory (See for full post) as he argues that the US needs to concentrate on fundamental productivity and GDP growth - and then sharing the gains of that growth.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Bulgaria joins the race

Ilian Mihov, INSEAD Professor recently nominated to become Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister, suggests that state policies should focus on achieving higher labour productivity.

“If Bulgaria becomes as rich per capita as Singapore, we will have fulfilled our goal. This will be a very hard task, but why not? 30-40 years ago Singapore was poorer than Angola but with mobilization, innovations this is possible, and Singapore is now richer than the USA. It has proven this is possible. There is no problem for Bulgaria to become a country of hi-tech and innovations in 20-30 years,” Mihov told Darik Radio on Saturday.

He stressed the fact that companies in Bulgaria must become more efficient and that obstacles to entrepreneurship must be removed.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Does personal productivity matter?

I have just started a discussion on the Productivity Futures group on LinkedIn about personal productivity. There seems to be an increasing number of 'personal productivity gurus' all willing to share their secrets which will make each of us more productive.

I am - out of general and genuine interest - asking if this 'movement' is something more than a lifestyle fad ... the equivalent of one of those lifestyle books that emerge every so often (especially just before Christmas). Do these gurus and their secrets (which, to be fair, are not so secret since many of them give them away in their blogs)actually make a difference?

And, perhaps even more importantly, does becoming more productive,personally have an impact on organisational productivity.

I doubt it exists but I would love to see some real, robust research on the subject. In the meantime, I'll settle for people's views.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Renewables may not renew

This renewables stuff gets harder. Hydo-electricity has always seemed a pretty safe, renewable energy source ... it continues to rain after all. Well, perhaps not. If global warmimg means water gets scarcer, and water levels go lower, it might mean existing hydro facilities become unproductive ... and fail to renew!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Canadian productiivty drops during recession

Labour productivity in Canada has slipped during the recession, according to a report released Thursday from Statistics Canada. This is in contrast to previous recessions when productivity has risen.

These findings paint a troubled picture for Canada’s export-rich economy as there is a growing productivity gap with the United States - where productivity has risen during the recession. This makes it even harder for Canadian businesses trying to compete on the international stage.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Textile industry in Pakistan needs to remove key barriers

Pakistan does not have enough innovation and new product development within the textile sector and, as a result, produces mostly basic apparel products, a new report revealed.

The draft report jointly prepared by the Asian Development Bank and the government of Pakistan is part of the process of formulating a Business Development Plan, and is part of a National Trade Corridor Strategy Study.

The report points out that though the list of issues affecting the textile & apparel sector is long, there are 3 key issues that place Pakistan at a substantial disadvantage. These are value addition, productivity and customer relationships - with perhaps labour productivity acting as the key obstacle for the industry.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Head in the Cloud

Google's move to 'cloud computing' (with all data held on the web)looks as though it might bear fruit. People's use of smartphones has transformed their attitude to 'computing' - they now expect 'instant-on', permanent web access, and regular notifications and updates from their social networks. All of this will work on the new tablets coming from Apple and others without the overhead (and long boot times) of Windows.

Of course cloud-based word processing and spreadsheeting won't have the same power as desk-top equivalents but for most people this is not a problem ... getting access to their files wherever they are more than makes up for this.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

ILO helps Nigeria

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has nominated Nigeria to benefit from an integrated assistance package under the Global Jobs Pact (GJP) initiative.

To this end, the organisation has requested that the Ministry of Labour and Productivity formulate a roadmap which would lead to the establishment of a finalised GJP by April 2010.

In a letter informing the Ministry of Labour of the nomination, the ILO urged the Federal Government to consider options such as public infrastructure investment, special employment programmes, broadening of social protection and minimum wages, as measures to reduce poverty, increase demand and contribute to economic stability, to achieve the job pact.