Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Employee productivity

Organizational standing, destiny and results stand on one truth: EMPLOYEE PRODUCTIVITY.  When organizational members are alligned to the purpose of the firm, involvement is high, and skills sets are good, employee productivity is optimal.  It is the task of managers & management to be productive and elicit productivity from their peers and reportees.

Several factors go in making the entire set of employees productive - right from purchase dept., admin., production, R & D, quality, sales and marketing, all need to be productive and ALLIGNED to the objectives and organizational mission for optimal productivity.  There is also a need for harmonius productivity, if the sales demand is higher than production department productivity, then again, there is disharmony in productivity.  Optimal productivity is the engine of organizational progress.

There are two vital elements that help generate optimal productivity: TRAINING and MIS (Management Information System).

a) Training: has the focus of eliciting and reinforcing designed behavioural patterns.  If a MR has to make 10 doctor calls, mere monitoring and pressuring him to make the doctor calls and deliver the required goods will just not do!  A MR has to be taught the necessary knowledge & skills, motivated and guided on how to use the marketing kit and tools (including the communication media viz., visual aid, CDs, tablet PCs, leave behind literatures etc).  Training is an ongoing activity, with milestones - no permanent end points!  With each training module or activity a set of predetermined goals are achieved, then new goals have to be charted and accordingly training schedules, formats and media created.

The same concept applies to training activities for other departmental functions.  Training needs have to be mapped out, and training modules accordingly created - as per the mapped needs, with help of external instructors as and when required.  For instance, with each national Govt. budget announcements of changes to rules regarding income tax, corporate tax, excise duty etc are made, and it would be interesting to offer training programs to target constituents about these new happenings, so that training creates involvement and updated smart employees to execute their job functions with panache.

A worker who gets trained periodically - in soft skills and safety intructions, or machine operations will gain personal satisfaction, motivation, job involvement and improved on-job functioning.  Training breaks the monotonous hum-drum and reinforces necessary behaviours, rejuvenates, helps in recall and recaptulation, creates new behaviours required for effective and efficient job functioning. 

Training engages employees to generate required behaviours and sharper skills.  Training also helps in broadcasting/sharing trainer and trainee wisdom, so that new trainees are encultured, motivated and empowered.

The ripple effect of training is helping make the organization smarter.  Such a firm can handle daily uncertainties and challenges better, and also proactively do forward planning for better organizational working.

b) MIS (including database): is a powerful system that maps employee activities, captures transactions, customer data and helps provide timely reports for productive decision making.  A powerful aspect of MIS is the ability to auto-generate or generate through manual intervention, FEEDBACKS to employees.  These feedbacks may be objective, informational or motivational.  MIS helps in measuring and providing feedback. 

For eg., imagine that primary sales of a MR is continuously tracked day-to-day by the MIS, and after 15th of each month, if the MIS system auto-generates daily feedbacks on the status of primary sales versus monthly target, either by sms or e-mail, this will certainly act as a prodding agent for improved direction of working of MR.

Eg.: on 16.10.2012, a MR receives a sms: "CONGRATS, YOU HAVE ACHIEVED 65% OF YOUR MONTHLY RUPEE VALUE BUDGET ie. Monthly Sales Target, however, offtake of Product X is just 30%, meet core doctors of Product X and improve prescrition flow for Product X, and book more orders for Product X from chemists (POB)". 

Such timely MIS based feedback messages will make the MR more productive.  Feedback is a powerful method to enhance productivity.  Absence of feedback will lull the MR or employee to a comfort zone, which will kill organizational dynamism.

MIS has an all encompassing sweep.  In R & D sector, MIS reports can prod R & D thinktank to help reduce costs of producing a product X, or help identify the key costly ingredients, thus help provide direction for value engineering - look for alternative ingredients that help reduce cost without changing product performance.

Similarly, inventory control systems that generate MIS reports in a proactive manner will help purchase in forward planning and placing orders for vital ingredients ( eg., of ingredients whose inventory is low to avoid production delays).

Hence, we observe, the two vital keys for employee productivity are - TRAINING and MIS (the data capturing and report generating systems for timely and fast feedbacks).

For optimal employee productivity, creation of a positive and magnetic organizational climate is necessary but not easy-to-do.  It requires a careful placement of negative and positive reinforcers, incentives for desirable results and behaviours, and subtle disincentives for undesirable behaviour and below par results.  A morale boosting, engaging and empowering way of company systems will definitely help boost employee productivity.

Communication systems (horizontal, down-the-line, zig-zag and down-top) are critical for building teams, since employees have to work in groups to achieve organizational outputs. 

Another key factor is carefully creating the TARGET - ACHIEVEMENT - ELATION - CELEBRATION cycle for all groups so that employees are positively engaged.  Helping each employee achieve personal success in company platforms is a very constructive approach for improving employee productivity.

It takes many factors, to boost employee productivity, of which, the two vital inputs for employee productivity (at every level) are TRAINING AND MIS.

Thanks for reading this blogpost, please recommend this blog to your acquaintances.    

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