The increasing use of mobile phones on the job is responsible for a lot of time wasting in the labour force, a leading trade unionist and human resources expert said Thursday.
Senior Assistant General Secretary and Human Resource Manager of the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) Gillian Alleyne suggested at a symposium on labour and productivity that some people have become slaves to the cell phone.
“We have to get our faces up out of those devices. The technology is good but we have to learn to operate without them,” she said.
Alleyne did not provide statistics to support her position. However, she recalled an incident where she spent 45 minutes texting fellow employees who were on the union compound at the time.
Alleyne also identified poor management as a contributor to low productivity, contending that the absence of clarity among workers sometimes led to staff operating on “autopilot”.
The human resource manager also identified a lack of effective communication, stating that some managers did not always set out their plans clearly, leaving employees unsure as to the company’s objectives.
“There are many people on autopilot in organizations and there is no clear focus, and even if there is, sometimes it resides in the head of one or two people and it does not trickle down to the people who have to get on with the business,” Alleyne contended.
The issue of trust also emerged during the symposium, with Chief Labour Officer Vincent Burnett recommending education programmes on productivity matters for the workforce.
“A lot of people might not necessarily trust the outcomes of whatever productivity measures are put in place, maybe because of a lack of understanding, [or] maybe because they are not made aware of why these things are supposed to happen. If there is that understanding, then we are on the road to ensuring that we are able to have sustained development,” Burnett told those present at the Barbados Workers Union headquarters at Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St Michael for the event.
He emphasized the importance of trust, saying when parties were willing to share information, have open discussions and be transparent, it augured well for the development of trust.
The Chief Labour Officer also suggested that trust between employers and employees could place Barbados on the road to sustained development.
Stressing that the rebuilding of trust in the current hostile economic environment could present major challenges, the senior civil servant said: “It is not easy in this economic environment to speak about trust and building trust. Every day I have to sit and deal with situations between employers and employees and you can see the danger that the lack of trust puts on the discussions. It is hard to rebuild trust after it has gone.
“We do not always get what we want in negotiations, but if we get somewhere near to what we wanted then we are better off. Barbados could be in the doldrums if we do not look at productivity,” Burnett said.