Driving productivity in the workplace

February 3, 2016 | By Cognadev

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From an ongoing global survey of senior executives by PWC, two-thirds of the respondents indicate they don’t think their organisation have the right leadership capabilities to execute its strategy and lead its people. This is quite concerning as leadership plays a central role in offering the direction and purpose required to achieve organisational goals. In today’s unprecedented environment of change, successful companies will need dramatic productivity improvements to survive and thrive.

Most people can potentially improve both their productivity at work and their job satisfaction. Progressive, innovative leaders can achieve productivity gains that go beyond pay incentives. However, ensuring organisational success, which is within the grasp of every leader, can only be achieved if leaders know how to effectively harness the organisation’s talent and ensure higher levels of motivation. The first measure of the leader’s success is therefore judged not by their ability to interpret strategic objectives, but by their understanding and proactive leveraging of personal and cultural matters to align potentially conflicting motives.

The following questions are useful in understanding obstacles to productivity in the workplace:

  • Is the organisation using competency, personality and capability assessments to optimise people-job matching?
  • Are there clear job descriptions specifying key performance indicators (KPIs) in place?
  • Do employees know how their performance is measured?
  • Are employees trusted to act according to their knowledge and skill?
  • Is there respect for the authority and responsibility associated with each role?
  • Do employees make decisions in line with their duties and areas of responsibility?
  • Is there timely, accurate, open, two-way communication between employees and management?
  • Is individual development promoted through coaching, training and educational programs as and when necessary?
  • Is performance improvement support provided in cases of poor performance?
  • Is the organisation responsive to individual and generational needs regarding work methodology and approach?

Although it may be relatively easy to identify which intervention to implement in order to address some of the criteria above, there may also be personal, cultural and contextual factors to consider when trying to deal with the issue of productivity.

Productivity surveys and case studies highlight the following factors as crucial to work-related motivation, and therefore to employee efficiency and output:

  • The internal motivation and drive of employees
  • Personal characteristics and preferences
  • The value orientations of people and groups
  • Personal and socio-economic circumstances
  • Informal norms and cultural expectations

Although it is within the reach of every business leader to optimise productivity, it will depend on their in-depth understanding of the way in which these factors play out in the work environment. Given proper consultation, assessment of an individual’s personality preferences, value orientation and cognitive capabilities, planning, training, and implementation of innovative human resource management practices, leaders will succeed at identifying who are best suited for the roles they wish to fill, creating a more involved, satisfied and efficient work force as employees will experience a sense of flow and job satisfaction. For assistance with the above, contact Cognadev. We have the experience, resources as well as assessment tools to address productivity challenges.