Saturday, 27 April 2013

Don't blame Facebook

New data on the workplace by Evolv, a startup that monitors hundreds of metrics from Fortune 500 companies, suggests that social media should not be considered the the bane of employee productivity. Rather, the more social networks an employee uses, the more productive they are.
In the study it was found that employees who regularly used up to four social networks — such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn — made more sales or handled customer service calls faster than those who weren't on any social networks. Those who used five social networks or more were slightly better at converting sales and handling customer service than employees on four or fewer networks, by 1.5% and 2.8% respectively, Mashablereported.
In addtition to improved productivity, employees in the social media camp also had a longer tenure. The employees who used four social networks stayed at the company longer, (an average 94 days of tenure with a company compared to 83 days for those who shunned social media). For those who used five social networks, their average tenure was slightly lower at 92 days.
Evolv goes on to suggest that the increases in productivity and tenure may simply be a reflection of the employee's computer literacy and sociability, and therefore greater ability to provide better service and handle customers better.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Are we providing the right lessons

Most developing countries are following the same development path - aping the West in terms of urbanisation, increased use of fossil fuels, technology and increased consumerism.  This is understandable - after all the West has enjoyed the trappings of 'the good life' for many years and has done a good job of 'selling the ideal' to the East. However the West is bundling in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, pollution, climate change and a whole range of other negative factors.

Hopefully some of the Eastern countries - with their traditional approach to life which includes a major  spiritual (rather than religious) component - might find a 'third way' which imposes some controls on unbridled consumerism and helps teach the West that there are routes to 'development' which do not 'throw the baby out with the bathwater'.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Maintain balance

I'm currently writing (or more accurately co-writing) a book on productivity improvement in the retail sector.

It seems that retailers have broadly 'got it right' ... they work hard at productivity improvement ... but they always maintain a balance with maintaining excellent customer service.

Of course those of us in the know about the the true focus of productivity improvement - and those steeped in the 'lean' tradition -know that productivity always has a focus on customer need and customer value.

If we are not creating customer value, we are not being productive!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Indian Skills

I've just spent some time in India.  The educational system is india is large and varied - it includes state provision and much private provision. the system is 'good'if you measure it in terms of knowledge transfered from tutors to learners - Indian students know lots of stuff and can regurgitate it in examinations   However, India graduates are often considered unemployable - because they can't 'do stuff' - they have few practical skills ... or soft skills come to that.

India needs to provide these skills if its economy is to continue to grow.  Of course employers will, as now, provide remedial training - but India needs its graduates to 'hit the ground running' and maximise the ways in which they can exploit their considerable knowledge by applying it in creative ways.

In the medium term, India needs to develop a vocational education and training system that provides industry with the skills it needs. It knows this and is currently finishing a process of establishing sector skills councils - adopting a model similar to the UK model.

Time will tell whether these SSCs can help change the focus - so that vocational skills are recognised and valued.  This requires a cultural change as well as technical changes... and requires industry to pay for vocational skills so that young people can see the sense in adopting a skills-based approach to their personal development.

I wish India well - watch this space and in a few years i hope I have good news to report.