Successful economic performance of an enterprise is a pre-requisite 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 managements. 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 towards achieving the target of most efficient management of all the available resources.
“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 being an attitude, it cannot be transplanted in 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–vis various activities within the organization as well as clear-cut organizational goals.
The philosophy and the Basic principles underlying the spirit of the organization play an important role in the quest for improved productivity. It is for the Top Management to give spiritual leadership. A 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 “the Preaching” and ” the Practice” will erode the management’s credibility. Organizational climate and working environment have a very important bearing on the drive for improving productivity. A communication system which is conductive to an open dialogue between the management and employees, where there is a free flow of information on a two-way basis help in creating the most congenial atmosphere for improving productivity. Mutual trust, mutual respect and sharing of common goals is a sign of the most harmonious relationship between the management and employees, which is a sine qua non for building the morale of employees and their orientation towards improving productivity.
There is no gain-saying that Managerial Leadership can inspire the 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 of the happenings around them. They must change their style to suit the realities of time. It is time leadership through example and excellence replace the leadership through status and authority.
The Management must set very high performance standards for its own work, if it warns its workforce to follow suit. Management inefficiencies in the form of ill planning, inadequate safety arrangements, worn out equipment, irregular supply of raw material, inability to take decision at the right time result in the management becoming a target of reticule and affect the morale of employees. Management should make sure smooth and hazard free operations if it wants to prove its credentials before the workforce.
Once the management is able to convince its workforce about its own integrity, credibility and efficiency the next step is employee development. It is for the managers to inspire, guide and improve the quality of their work. The foremost step is this connection would be the very concept of work. Work should not remain only as a mode of earning livelihood, but a source of serf- 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 right person at 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 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 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 over burdening 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. Repetition and greater experience of the work (specialization) help in increasing the efficiency to a certain extent, after which it starts giving a negative feedback due to boredom and monotony of the work, adversely affecting the efficiency. Thus continuous motivation of the workers is the only way out for achieving improved productivity.
The first step, maintenance (retaining employees as opposed to turn over) relate to work conditions, inter-se relationship vertical as well as horizontal, technical supervision and personal status. Good working conditions, good relationship between superiors and the subordinates and among employees, may not in itself give motivation, but their absence certainly have an adverse effect on the efforts towards motivation of employees. 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 case of emotional and psychological problems the medium of counseling 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, success, accomplishment and longing have a salutary effect on the employees resulting in their motivation towards improved performance. A system which gives a fillip to the worker’s desire and ability for creation and achievement is necessary. The most important act on management’s part in this connection is to delegate responsibility to the workers about their work along with the required information for controlling the same. This would create a true feeling of belonging and participation and manifest that the workers are responsible members with 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, create 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 instill 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, but as a source of continuous improvement in employees work life. Matching the needs of the workforce to the achievement of organizational objectives, provide the right kind of impetus for peak performance. The employees began to attach themselves with the successes of the organization. It is, therefore necessary that company’s prosperity be reflected in the living standards of its employees. Good human relations are sometimes confused with complete surrender or indulgent leniency by the management. The misconception creates several problems, lack of discipline being one of them. Firmness or discipline carefully undertaken without hurting the self-respect of employees may itself act as a motivating force. Wastes or unnecessary costs in the garb of liberalization and experimentation are dangerous. Leakages, un- productive habits and attitudes adversely affect the efforts towards improving productivity. Management should give a lead in this field also by strictly adhering to sell-discipline, simplicity and austerity. The whole exercise in achieving higher productivity may end in futility if careful consideration is not given to end or control these factors. It is therefore incumbent on the management and the employees to act jointly to avoid these troubled waters, if they want to reap the full harvest of productivity