January 15, 2013

Productivity Experts – for process or people?

What do you think of when someone tells you they are a productivity expert or consultant?  The first thing that should come to mind is someone that helps an organization to improve their process or help their people to become more productive. This is what I do.

However, I find that many people think the role of a productivity consultant is someone who goes into companies to help them downsize by noting which employees are “deadweight.”  Then the company can easily fire or lay-off those people since the expert told them who they did not need.  The leaders of the organization paid good money for the advice so they plan to use it as their excuse for reducing costs verses increasing productivity.  I understand when the economy is bad you want to reduce costs, but what does that have to do with being more productive? 

Some might say is too costly to train people to be more productive and that there are some people who take advantage of their employees by not fully working for their pay  I feel training is an investment and most people want to do their best work regardless of how long they have been on-the- job. If employees are not productive, then they need to be engaged and/or trained.  Engaged means they find fulfillment and empowerment at work.  Trained means they have been taught the skills and processes to become more productive.  Which do you want your employees to be?

I hope you said both!  Employees who work as part of a team often feel engaged in their work and a connection with their fellow employees.  Team training is more than just a few courses on team phases or activities in an annual team-building event.  It must include the technical skills related to process development, role flexibility, project planning, quality improvement tools, both time and meeting management, as well as job-related needs.  With the right skill-set, open and honest leadership, and a good model to follow employees can become highly productive.  High production typically means increased revenue, so invest rather than just cut costs.

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