Ensuring that workers understand the gravity of the crisis facing the country and then stimulating them are key to bringing about a solution.
This was the advice of Post Master General Joel Brathwaite today, as he addressed the opening of a seminar on improving productivity at the General Post Office on Cheapside.
He stressed from early in his address that while economic gurus often differed vastly on “methodologies and the type of solution needed to resolve Government’s economic challenges”, there was consensus on the need for greater productivity.
“In Government, its largest capital is the human capital, and how that capital is utilised to maximise returns on its cost is critical, which is an accountant focus. The mathematician would probably say that does not make logical sense, Brathwaite said.
“The concept of productivity in service oriented organisations like the post office presents greater challenges. We can set targets, and time lines for our pipeline operations. That is from postage delivery. However, productivity will not be achieved if it is not linked to some other element, and let me hastily add that money does not always have to be that link.”
He told his audience that while the Bridgetown Port paid some of the most attractive salaries, it was still often accused of being inefficient. In fact, he drew reference to the recent comments of retired veteran trade unionist and now ambassador to CARICOM, Robert “Bobby” Morris who stated that privatisation of the port would not automatically make it more efficient.
“There are intangibles which can motivate employees to be more productive, such as job satisfaction; you are made to feel important as a person, particularly at your work station; commitment to the organisation, or general interest in the welfare of employees.
“I readily accept this productivity best practices seminar because I personally know the information would be very important to us,” the post master general added.
“Sometimes I get the real feeling that the gravity of our crisis is not known or felt by the average worker, and hence there is no great attempt to change the status quo…
“The post office, like many other Government departments, has a cadre of academically qualified officers. In our case we have graduates, and some with masters, who comprise the clerical staff, and while persons feel under-employed and under paid, information from this session would serve as a stimulus to assist in cultivating the right work ethic…
“The dilemma that exists in Government is, how do you get employees to become more productive, especially those who see appointment as security of tenure, written in the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be altered, and have no desire to do more for the same pay.
“This challenge often is a demotivator for the hard worker, who sees the worker at the other end of the spectrum doing little or nothing, but similarly being rewarded…” (RRM)