The Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Delisle Worrell has identified productivity as the key to increasing competitiveness in Barbados and advised the workforce that wherever they are in the economy, they should set their sights on excellence and determine to reflect that excellence on a daily basis. I couldn’t agree more but I know, from personal experience, that it is easier said than done.
One of the main causes of low productivity is employee disengagement and surveys carried out in Barbados and in other parts of the world show that the level of employee engagement is low. The survey conducted by NISE in 2011 indicated that only 30 per cent of the workforce was engaged.
Survey work done by Gallup in the US from 2008 to 2010 and into 2012, the latter of which was recently published, indicate that the US workforce showed a similar trend.
Although this doesn’t offer much comfort, we can rest assured that Barbados is not alone in facing the challenge of lack of employee engagement and therefore low productivity. The question therefore is: How do we get our employees to become engaged and therefore to raise the productivity in every sector of the economy?
I’m sure that all HR managers and leaders of business wish it was as easy as just telling people to set their sights on excellence and reflect that excellence on a daily basis.
It may be surprising for many people to find out disengagement and low productivity are not only an employee issue. There are many business owners who have become disengaged and have lost their passion for their business and therefore find it very hard to make the effort to pursue business opportunities or even just get through their day to day work.
We know that there are diverse reasons for lack of productivity, but let’s for the time being leave out the physical issues such as environment and lack of tools etc although they do have some impact of productivity. In any case, even in those environments some people are still engaged and productive which suggests that there is something else that is driving them.
For business owners, disengagement and lack of productivity may be caused by a number of factors such as lack of finance, frustration with bureaucracy, difficulty of doing business in this economy etc. but again all business owners are faced with those same issues so what is it that causes others to be still engaged and productive in their business?
From personal experience I know what it is like to be disengaged both as an employee and as a business owner and I know what it is like to become engaged and I truly believe that the antidote to disengagement (and therefore lack of productivity) is passion. Here’s what some other people have to say about passion:
“Passion will move men beyond themselves, beyond their shortcomings, beyond their failures.” — Joseph Campbell, American Mythologist, Writer, and Lecturer
“To be successful, the first thing to do is fall in love with your work. — Sister Mary Lauretta”
“One person with passion is better than 40 people merely interested.” — E.M Frost
“Without passion you don’t have energy, without energy you have nothing.” — Donald Trump
And to add mine to the list:
“Until you can do what you love, learn to love what you do.” — Donna Every.
So we have, what I believe, is the solution. At any rate that is what worked for me, when I was a disengaged employee and I learned to love what I did, it totally transformed my work experience.
The question is: How do you infuse passion in people? Once we can do that I believe that we will be well on our way to overcoming the productivity issues we are facing. I’m sure that many people have different suggestions of how that can be done and some may say that you can’t make people passionate; it has to come from within.
However in my new training module, Loving Monday, I share what worked for me and I hope it will transform many lives and therefore many workplaces.
We spend the majority of our week days preparing for work, getting to work and being at work and I’m sure that no one likes to be miserable in their job. Work was not meant to be a curse but a blessing; an expression of our creativity, our intellect and our physical ability.
It’s my passion to transform people’s thinking about work, in Barbados and beyond, so that productivity will no longer be an issue in businesses as people in the workforce begin to love Monday.
* Donna Every is the CEO of Arise Consulting Inc. which provides business and motivational training and advice to help individuals and organisations fulfill their purpose. She has written five books and has just released her second novel, The High Road.