Making a difference
Productivity is described as a guide to measuring the efficiency of the delivery of service. To the average person, productivity is all about their output.
Whilst this is understandable, it is also important to advise that it is about the input or contribution that is made, which adds value to the output. This can be related to the adage, “you get out what you put in”.
In a competitive global environment, it is for Barbadians to come to grips with the fact that the productivity of its workforce will to a large measure, contribute to the improvement of the island’s gross domestic product and its economic stability.
It has been long established that Barbados’ greatest resource is it people. It therefore not per chance that significant resources continue to be placed on education and training.
Of whom much is given, much is expected. Following on this, it is reasonable to assume that much of the knowledge, talents, skills and expertise of the working class people will be placed at the disposal of the country, so that its development could be enhanced. The national motto, which speaks to ‘Pride and Industry’, ought to be enough to drive a consciousness amongst members of the workforce of the need to be productive.
If there is this consciousness, then it could easily be said that concerns of low productivity, poor customer service, poor work ethics and bad work attitudes, would only be a figment of the imagination. The reality is that this is far from the case, and so it adds to the list of issues that can account for the slump in the economy.
For convenient purposes, it is basically the norm to lay blame at the feet of external sources for the island’s poor economic performance. Those who are more opened minded would be aware that Barbados is a dependent economy. It is for our productive sectors to produce high quality products, goods and services; and for employees to produce quality work. The problem seems to be that both employers and employees are taking too much for granted.
As the world economy contracts and the demand to be competitive becomes more apparent, the Barbadian worker has to come to grips with the fact that he/she has a responsibility to be productive at work, so as to help the country to improve on its economic status.
Workers can help the process by removing those things that are likely to impact on their productivity. Removing the mindset that they have a job and a guaranteed wage or salary should be the first step.
Absenteeism, malingering and lack of workplace cooperation are to be ruled out. The issue of down time needs to be addressed. Many man hours are lost on a daily basis due to indifference on the part of minibus and route taxis drivers who resort to blocking up the roads on a daily basis, as they engage in what is known as “dragging”. The practice is that drivers move their vehicles at snail pace.
As a result of this deliberate and senseless act, the free flow of traffic is impeded. The offending drivers seem not to be concerned that their action causes many persons to get to work late. They are either not conscious or simply don’t care that other workers who use the roadways of Barbados as their jobs require them to do, are retarded in their travel to various destinations.
This callous behaviour continues to go unchecked. If the country is accepting of this, then it is guilty of encouraging actions that will not enhance the level of productivity.
Barbados prides itself of being a highly educated and industrious society. It is difficult to comprehend how the actions of the offending route taxi and mini bus drivers can be justified. This example of the how the actions of any given set of workers could impact on the level of productivity, should not escape the attention of every member of the Barbadian workforce.
The message ought to be clear to all and sundry that the actions and work of an industrious and responsible people, can only lend to the improvement of workplace productivity.
* Dennis De Peiza is a Labour Management Consultant with Regional Management Services Inc.
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