The Productivity Council’s 2017 mission to “de-mystify” productivity in an effort to encourage behavioural change seems to be bearing fruit, with an increasing number of Barbadians reporting that they are striving to be more productive.
That is according to productivity officer at the Council, Jannell Arthur, who said that since 2017 was designated the National Year of Productivity, many Barbadians, including entrepreneurs and the ‘man on the street’, had expressed an interest in productivity.
She disclosed that many people had communicated to the Council that they wanted to be a part of the productivity movement.
“Entrepreneurs have told us ‘we have heard your message and we just want to let you know that we are trying to put in place a lot of the things you are preaching’. So, we have also been able to engage some of those persons who are outside of our more traditional target audience and we are very encouraged by that,” Arthur said.
She noted that some secondary school students had been exposed to matters pertaining to productivity during a number of career showcases. However, she stressed that the Council would redouble its efforts over the next five months to share pertinent information on productivity with school children, as well as engage stakeholders.
“We cannot fail to incorporate school children in our sensitization efforts because it is with that group we expect to have our future gains in productivity,” Arthur said.
She added that the Council was focusing on trying to get two productivity workbooks for primary schools to market by September or October this year.
The productivity officer also disclosed that there were plans to host productivity pep talk sessions at various schools in September, during general assembly. A Productivi-Teen Initiative would be introduced, in which teenagers who demonstrated productive attitudes and behaviours, good leadership capabilities, and managed their time wisely and were good team players in the school setting, would be highlighted.
“We want to showcase that cadre of young people who are pressing towards the mark of excellence so their peers can gain insight and tips from them,” she said.
Additionally, Arthur pointed out that the Council would be working with the private and public sectors to determine what else needed to be done to improve productivity, so that further economic growth could be realized. The labour unions, meanwhile, would be engaged for ideas on what could help stimulate productivity improvement among workers.
“We want our stakeholders to come up with comprehensive strategies that can be implemented to further our cause of improving productivity, both at the sectoral and national levels,” she stressed.
Arthur noted that there were some issues affecting employees and employers, including occupational health and safety matters in the workplace, and management issues. She said there was also a view that some workers were too laidback.
“Employees feel as if they are being asked to give of their best and be productive in sick buildings or in environments that are not necessarily healthy. They also feel as if management of the organization is not necessarily listening to them….
“On the other hand, we have management thinking that some employees are a little lackadaisical…and just not physically or mentally prepared to create value for the organization, or to do more with less, which we recognize is a reality right now considering the tough economic conditions we are forced to grapple with,” she explained.
The productivity officer stressed that some managers were keen to change the culture of their organizations and were requesting assistance from the Council. And she indicated that the consultative advice that was being given was helping to turn around the organizations.
The Productivity Council offers training and educational programmes in a number of areas, including: Customer Service, Leadership and Supervisory Management, Conflict Resolution, as well as Communication and Change Management. Technical assistance is also given in Performance Management Systems, Strategic Planning, Performance Appraisal Systems, Job Evaluations, Skills Audits, and Performance-Based and Non-Cash Incentive Schemes.
Arthur noted that many organizations had requested help in performance management, while others wanted a more comprehensive suite of technical assistance systems, such as a combination of appraisal and incentive schemes to measure, monitor and evaluate, as well as reward employee performance.
GET UP! (Getting Everyone To Understand Productivity) is the theme of the National Year of Productivity, which began in January.