Increasing “productivity” has become a central focus for business, organisations and governments around the world. It is often achieved by cutting input costs, seeking efficiencies through tighter controls over work, taking less risks, cutting pay and conditions, and reducing the workforce. These decisions often mean those remaining have to do more with less in an organisational environment of distrust and distress. This often means working harder for longer hours without opportunities for recovery. This is not a long term or sustainable strategy and is what I choose to refer to as a “Negative Productivity” strategy, resulting in short term gain, but long term pain in terms of many measures of organisational performance.
Research around the world has shown that large increases in productivity (exceeding 18%) can be achieved simply by changing the management strategies and organisational structures to enable high performance and boost employee engagement. Organisations that follow this path find their profits and performance improve on a number of measures year after year. It is, in effect, what I refer to as a Positive Productivity Strategy…. a sustainable way to boost the business bottom line while also boosting the well-being of those who do the producing. This produces a win-win situation for the employer and the employee.
After many years working with people and organisations to improve their functioning and performance, I propose that there are Four Pillars that form the foundation for Positive Productivity: Positive Leadership; Positive Minds; Positive People and Relationships; Positive Organisational Environment. Each feeds into the other, producing a reinforcing and amplifying effect on Productivity.