Four ways to reduce productivity

Rebecca Schalm   

Business Operations Industry Manufacturing Business manufacturing productivity

...while watching your business go down the drain

A lack of productivity is actually a serious concern. The more it costs us to produce something the less competitive we are in the global marketplace. And the less competitive we are leads directly to fewer jobs, diminished earning power and a lower standard of living.
The usual explanations for poor productivity is a lack of investment in tools, technology and innovation while how we hire, deploy and develop people rarely gets a mention. Yet they have the potential to significantly increase or decrease productivity.

Let’s look at four sure-fire ways that will put a drag on your company’s productivity:

1. Settle for less than you need.

Canadian business is an under-achiever when it comes to recruiting and hiring talent. Undertaking an international search for top talent below the C-Suite is rare and often greeted with skepticism.

Leading organizations understand there is a scarcity of talent and hiring the best means looking far and wide. Hiring someone who can hit the ground running is a strategic advantage.

2. Under-value expertise.
Lots of people are doing jobs for which they were not trained or adequately prepared. Companies are awash with ‘generalists’ who filled a hole or satisfied an immediate need. The downside is they often lack the perspective and expertise to take a function to the next level.


Leading companies understand it’s more expedient and efficient to put experts in roles that demand expertise.

3. Move people around for their development.

Gaining cross-functional experience is a growth opportunity for leaders, and critical for those being groomed to assume significant roles in the future. But the casualty in these moves is the team or function. A training ground for the inexperienced becomes a place where modest ambitions are expected and generally achieved.

Leading companies understand only those people whose development is critical to the future of the organization should be moved into significant stretch assignments outside their areas of expertise. They realize the productivity of people on a steep learning curve will be limited.

4. Rotate people every 18 months.

There are still some companies that believe effective leadership development means rapidly cycling through roles. Find a problem, assign a high potential to solve it, move that person on to something else.

There are at least three significant problems with this strategy.

1) It takes people an average of three years before they’re a good return-on-investment: 18 months to learn the job and 18 months to get good at it.

2) Emerging leaders never have to live with the results of their decisions; their learning cycle is incomplete and growth stunted.

3) Every time you move someone new into a role, they undo most of what their predecessor put in place, further eroding the potential productivity of a team or department.

Faltering productivity extends beyond a reluctance to take risks and a reticence to invest in technology. Beliefs and practices around hiring, developing and deploying talent can have a positive – or negative – impact on the productivity of a team and an organization. Making better people decisions will have a more positive impact on productivity, benefiting the company and ultimately Canada.

© 2017 Distributed by Troy Media


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